Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
May 26
The Voice of the Oregon
By H. J. D. Browne
 
          Reached Key West, Fla., May 26, 1898. (See note under date of March 19.)

YOU have called to me, my brothers, from your far-off eastern sea,
To join with you, my brothers, to set a prostrate people free.
You have called to me, my brothers, to join to yours my might,
The slaughterers of our brethren with our armored hands to smite.
 
We have never met, my brothers, we mailed knights of the sea;        5
But there are no strangers, brothers, ’neath the Banner of the Free;
And though half a world’s between us, and ten thousand leagues divide,
Our souls are intermingled, and our hearts are side by side.
Did you fail to call me, brothers, ’twere a fault without atone,
’Twas but just to me, my brothers, you should not strike alone.        10
The brethren in the slaughter were no more thine than mine,
And the blows that visit vengeance must be mine as well as thine.
 
Through days of placid beauty, and nights when tempests toss,
I follow down the billows, my guide the Southern Cross;
Past lands of quiet splendor, where pleasant waters lave;        15
Past lands whose mountain ramparts fling back the crashing wave.
 
But I see no land of splendor, and I see no land of wrath;
I see before me only the ocean’s heaving path,
And I plunge along that pathway like a giant to the fray,
Who hath no stomach in him for aught that might delay.        20
 
I am nearing you, my brothers, for the western sea’s afar,
And the ray that lights my course now is the gleaming Northern Star.
I pray you wait, my brothers, for the air with war is rife,
And in courtesy of knighthood I claim to share the strife.
 
In the winds that blow about me the voices of the dead        25
Are calling to me, brothers, to urge my topmost speed.
In the foam that’s upward flying in whirling wreaths of white,
The wraiths of murdered brothers beckon onward to the fight.
 
I am coming to you, brothers, wait but a little while,
And on the thunders of our greeting shall the God of Vengeance smile;        30
And in the flashing and the crashing, the universe shall see
How we pay our debts of honor, we mailed knights of the sea.
 
 
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