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Songs and ballads of the southern people. 1861-1865 online

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_All rights reserved._


This collection has been made with the view of preserving in permanent
form the opinions and sentiments of the Southern people, as embodied in
their Songs and Ballads of 1861-1865; which, better than any other medium,
exhibit the temper of the times and popular feeling. The historical value
of the productions is admitted. Age will not impair it.

The editor has endeavored to give the best of the inspirations. A desire
to announce the authorship of the pieces has been gratified in most
instances. Where requests have been made not to give names and places and
circumstances, by whom, and where they have been written, they have been
regarded, the spirit, meaning and intent not being affected, nor in the
least abated by such a course. To those who have assisted in collecting,
the editor returns his thanks. After this volume reaches those who are
interested, should any of them desire to correct mistakes that may have
crept into it, he will be glad to make the changes required.

Should any one, into whose hands the volume may fall, know of copies of
songs or ballads, or of letters and incidents upon which such are
founded - songs and ballads, letters or incidents not already collected in
book form - the editor will be glad to be advised, that means may be taken
for their permanent preservation, which he is using every endeavor to
secure. A postal card, giving name and residence, addressed to him, in the
care of his publishers, D. Appleton and Company, New York City, will
receive immediate attention.

The essence of history exists in its songs. Those that are carried in the
memory are earliest forgotten. It is a praiseworthy plan that saves all.
Will those who "know them by heart," and have "sung them in camp and in
battle," help to rescue them from oblivion?


NEW YORK, _January, 1886_.




Who talks of Coercion? Who dares to deny
A resolute people their right to be free?
Let him blot out forever one star from the sky,
Or curb with his fetter one wave of the sea.

Who prates of Coercion? Can love be restored
To bosoms where only resentment may dwell;
Can peace upon earth be proclaimed by the sword,
Or good-will among men be established by shell?

Shame! shame that the statesman and trickster, forsooth,
Should have for a crisis no other recourse,
Beneath the fair day-spring of Light and of Truth,
Than the old _brutum fulmen_ of Tyranny, - Force.

From the holes where Fraud, Falsehood, and Hate slink away;
From the crypt in which Error lies buried in chains;
This foul apparition stalks forth to the day,
And would ravage the land which his presence profanes.

Could you conquer us, Men of the North, could you bring
Desolation and death on our homes as a flood;
Can you hope the pure lily, Affection, will spring
From ashes all reeking and sodden with blood?

Could you brand us as villeins and serfs, know ye not
What fierce, sullen hatred lurks under the scar?
How loyal to Hapsburg is Venice, I wot;
How dearly the Pole loves his Father, the Czar!

But 'twere well to remember this land of the sun
Is a _nutrix leonum_, and suckles a race
Strong-armed, lion-hearted, and banded as one,
Who brook not oppression and know not disgrace.

And well may the schemers in office beware
The swift retribution that waits upon crime,
When the lion, RESISTANCE, shall leap from his lair,
With a fury that renders his vengeance sublime.

Once, men of the North, we were brothers, and still,
Though brothers no more, we would gladly be friends;
Nor join in a conflict accurst, that must fill
With ruin the country on which it descends.

But if smitten with blindness, and mad with the rage
The gods give to all whom they wished to destroy,
You would act a new Iliad to darken the age,
With horrors beyond what is told us of Troy:

If, deaf as the adder itself to the cries,
When Wisdom, Humanity, Justice implore,
You would have our proud eagle to feed on the eyes
Of those who have taught him so grandly to soar:

If there be to your malice no limit imposed,
And your reckless design is to rule with the rod
The men upon whom you have already closed
Our goodly domain and the temples of God:

To the breeze then your banner dishonored unfold,
And at once let the tocsin be sounded afar;
We greet you, as greeted the Swiss Charles the Bold,
With a farewell to peace and a welcome to war!

For the courage that clings to our soil, ever bright,
Shall catch inspiration from turf and from tide;
Our sons unappalled shall go forth to the fight,
With the smile of the fair, the pure kiss of the bride;

And the bugle its echoes shall send through the past,
In the trenches of Yorktown to waken the slain;
While the sods of King's Mountain shall heave at the blast,
And give up its heroes to glory again.

_Charleston Mercury._




Hath not the morning dawned with added light?
And will not evening call another star
Out of the infinite regions of the night,
To mark this day in heaven? At last we are
A nation among nations; and the world
Shall soon behold in many a distant part
Another flag unfurled!
Now, come what may, whose favor need we court?
And, under God, whose thunder need we fear?
Thank him who placed us here
Beneath so kind a sky - the very sun
Takes part with us; and on our errands run
All breezes of the ocean; dew and rain
Do noiseless battle for us; and the year
And all the gentle daughters in her train
March in our ranks, and in our service wield
Long spears of golden grain!
A yellow blossom as her fairy shield
June flings our azure banner to the wind,
While in the order of their birth
Her sisters pass, and many an ample field
Grows white beneath their steps, till now behold
Its endless sheets unfold
Rejoice! beneath those fleeces soft and warm
Our happy land shall sleep
In a repose as deep
As if we lay intrenched behind
Whole leagues of Russian ice and Arctic storm!


And what, if mad with wrongs themselves have wrought,
In their own treachery caught,
By their own fears made bold,
And leagued with him of old,
Who long since in the limits of the North
Set up his evil throne, and warred with God -
What if, both mad and blinded in their rage,
Our foes should fling us down their mortal gage,
And with a hostile step profane our sod!
We shall not shrink, my brothers, but go forth
To meet them, marshaled by the Lord of Hosts,
And overshadowed by the mighty ghosts
Of Moultrie and of Eutaw - who shall foil
Auxiliars such as these? Nor these alone,
But every stock and stone
Shall help us; but the very soil,
And all the generous wealth it gives to toil,
And all for which we love our noble land,
Shall fight beside, and through us, sea and strand,
The heart of woman, and her hand,
Tree, fruit, and flower, and every influence
Gentle or grave or grand.
The winds in our defense
Shall seem to blow; to us the hills shall lend
Their firmness and their calm;
And in our stiffened sinews we shall blend
The strength of pine and palm!


Look where we will, we can not find a ground
For any mournful song:
Call up the clashing elements around,
And test the right and wrong!
On one side, pledges broken, creeds that lie,
Religion sunk in vague philosophy,
Empty professions, pharisaic leaven,
Souls that would sell their birthright in the sky,
Philanthropists who pass the beggar by,
And laws which controvert the laws of Heaven.
And, on the other - first, a righteous cause!
Then, honor without flaws,
Truth, Bible reverence, charitable wealth,
And for the poor and humble, laws which give,
Not the mean right to buy the right to live,
But life, and home, and health.
To doubt the issue were distrust in God!
If in his Providence he hath decreed
That to the peace for which we pray,
Through the Red Sea of War must lie our way,
Doubt not, O brothers, we shall find at need
A Moses with his rod!


But let our fears - if fears we have - be still,
And turn us to the future! Could we climb
Some Alp in thought, and view the coming time,
We should indeed behold a sight to fill
Our eyes with happy tears!
Not for the glories which a hundred years
Shall bring us; not for lands from sea to sea,
And wealth, and power, and peace, though these shall be;
But for the distant peoples we shall bless,
And the hushed murmurs of a world's distress:
For, to give food and clothing to the poor,
The whole sad planet o'er,
And save from crime its humblest human door,
Our mission is! The hour is not yet ripe
When all shall see it, but behold the type
Of what we are and shall be to the world,
In our own grand and genial Gulf stream furled,
Which through the vast and colder ocean pours
Its waters, so that far-off Arctic shores
May sometimes catch upon the softened breeze
Strange tropic warmth and hints of summer seas.



AIR - _The Star Spangled Banner_.

Oh, say, can you see, through the gloom and the storm,
More bright for the darkness, that pure constellation?
Like the symbol of love and redemption its form,
As it points to the haven of hope for the nation.
How radiant, each star, as the beacon afar,
Giving promise of peace, or assurance in war;
'Tis the Cross of the South, which shall ever remain,
To light us to Freedom and Glory again!

How peaceful and blest was America's soil,
Till betrayed by the guile of the Puritan demon,
Which lurks under virtue, and springs from its coil
To fasten its fangs in the life-blood of freemen.
Then loudly appeal, to each heart that can feel,
And crush the foul viper 'neath Liberty's heel!
And the Cross of the South shall forever remain,
To light us to Freedom and Glory again!

'Tis the emblem of peace, 'tis the day-star of hope,
Like the sacred Labarum, which guided the Roman;
From the shores of the Gulf to the Delaware's slope,
'Tis the trust of the free, and the terror of foemen.
Fling its folds to the air, while we boldly declare
The rights we demand, or the deeds that we dare;
And the Cross of the South shall forever remain,
To light us to Freedom and Glory again!

But if peace should be hopeless, and justice denied,
And war's bloody vulture should flap his black pinions,
Then gladly to arms! while we hurl in our pride,
Defiance to tyrants, and death to their minions,
With our front to the field, swearing never to yield,
Or return, like the Spartan, in death on our shield;
And the Cross of the South shall triumphantly wave
As the flag of the Free, or the pall of the brave.

_Southern Literary Messenger._



Harp of the South, awake!
From every golden wire,
Let the voice of thy power go forth,
Like the rush of a prairie fire;
With the rush and the rhythm of a power
That dares a freeman's grave,
Rather than live to wear
The chains of a truckling slave.

Harp of the South, awake!
Thy sons are aroused at last,
And their legions are gathering now,
To the sound of the trumpet blast;
To the scream of the piercing fife,
And the beat of the rolling drum,
From mountain, and hill, and plain,
And field, and town, they come.

Harp of the South, awake!
Their banners are on the breeze;
Tell the world how vain the thought
To subdue such men as these,
With hero hearts that beat,
To the throbs of the spirit-flame,
Which will kindle their battle-fires
In freedom's holy name.

Harp of the South, awake!
But not to sing of love,
In shady forest-bower,
Or fragrant orange grove;
Oh, no, but thy song must be
The wrath of the battle crash,
Inscribed on the cloud of war,
With the pen of its lightning flash.

Harp of the South, awake!
And strike the strains once more,
Which nerved thy heroes' hearts
In the glorious days of yore;
Which gave a giant's strength
To the arm of MARION,
And your own great WASHINGTON.

Harp of the South, awake!
Your freedom's angel calls,
In the laugh of the rippling rills,
And the roar of the waterfalls.
See how she bends to hear,
As she walks the valleys through,
And along the mountain tops,
In robes of gold and blue.

Harp of the South, awake!
The proud, the full-soul'd South -
With the dusk of her flashing eyes,
And the lure of her rosy mouth -
With love, or pride, or wrath,
Thrilling her noble form,
As she smiles like a summer sky,
Or frowns like a summer storm!

Harp of the South, awake!
Though the soldier's beaming tear
May fall on thy trembling strings,
As he breathes his farewell prayer;
Yet, tell him how to die
On the bloody battle-field,
Rather than to her foes
The gallant South should yield.[2]



Carolinians! who inherit
Blood which flowed in patriot veins!
Rouse ye from lethargic slumber,
Rouse and fling away your chains!
From the mountain to the seaboard,
Let the cry be - Up! Arise!
Throw our pure Palmetto banner
Proudly upward to the skies.

Fling it out! its lone star beaming
Brightly to the nation's gaze;
Lo! another star arises!
Quickly, proudly _it_ emblaze!
Yet another! Bid it welcome
With a hearty "three times three";
Send it forth, on boom of cannon,
Southern men will _dare be free_.

Faster than the cross of battle
Summoned rude Clan Alpine's host,
Flash the news from sea to mountain -
Back from mountain to the coast!
On the lightning's wing it fleeth,
Scares the eagle in his flight,
As his keen eye sees arising
Glory, yet shall daze his sight!

Cease the triumph - days of darkness
Loom upon us from afar:
Can a woman's voice for battle
Ring the fatal note of war?
Yes - when we have borne aggression
Till submission is disgrace -
Southern women call for _action_;
Ready would the danger face!

Yes, in many a matron's bosom
Burns the Spartan spirit now;
From the maiden's eye it flashes,
Glows upon her snowy brow;
E'en our infants in their prattle
Urge us on to _risk our all_ -
"Would we leave them, as a blessing.
The oppressor's hateful thrall?"

No! - then up, true-hearted Southrons,
Like bold "giants nerved by wine";
Never fear! The cause is holy -
It is sacred - yea, divine!
For the Lord of Hosts is with us,
It is _He_ has cast our lot;
Blest our homes - from lordly mansion
To the humblest negro cot.

God of battles! hear our cry -
Give us nerve to _do_ or _die_!


I wish I was in de land o' cotton,
Old times dair ain't not forgotten -
Look away, etc.
In Dixie land whar I was born in,
Early on one frosty mornin' -
Look away, etc.
_Chorus_ - Den I wish I was in Dixie.

In Dixie land dat frosty mornin',
Jis 'bout de time de day was dawnin',
Look away, etc.
De signal fire from de east bin roarin',
Rouse up, Dixie, no more snorin' -
Look away, etc. -
Den I wish I was in Dixie.

Dat rocket high a blazing in de sky,
'Tis de sign dat de snobbies am comin' up nigh -
Look away, etc.
Dey bin braggin' long, if we dare to shoot a shot,
Dey comin' up strong and dey'll send us all to pot.
Fire away, fire away, lads in gray.
Den I wish I was in Dixie.

_Charleston Mercury._



Farewell! we must part; we have turned from the land
Of our cold-hearted brother, with tyrannous hand,
Who assumed all our rights as a favor to grant,
And whose smile ever covered the sting of a taunt;

Who breathed on the fame he was bound to defend -
Still the craftiest foe, 'neath the guise of a friend;
Who believed that our bosoms would bleed at a touch,
Yet could never believe he could goad them too much;

Whose conscience affects to be seared with our sin,
Yet is plastic to take all its benefits in;
The mote in our eye so enormous has grown,
That he never perceives there's a beam in his own.

O Jonathan, Jonathan! vassal of pelf,
Self-righteous, self-glorious, yes, every inch self,
Your loyalty now is all bluster and boast,
But was dumb when the foemen invaded our coast.

In vain did your country appeal to you then,
You coldly refused her your money and men;
Your trade interrupted, you slunk from her wars,
And preferred British gold to the Stripes and the

Then our generous blood was as water poured forth,
And the sons of the South were the shields of the North;
Nor our patriot ardor one moment gave o'er,
Till the foe you had fed we had driven from the shore!

Long years we have suffered opprobrium and wrong,
But we clung to your side with affection so strong,
That at last, in mere wanton aggression, you broke
All the ties of our hearts with one murderous stroke.

We are tired of contest for what is our own,
We are sick of a strife that could never be done;
Thus our love has died out, and its altars are dark,
Not Prometheus's self could rekindle the spark.

O Jonathan, Jonathan! deadly the sin
Of your tigerish thirst for the blood of your kin;
And shameful the spirit that gloats over wives
And maidens despoiled of their honor and lives!

Your palaces rise from the fruits of our toil,
Your millions are fed from the wealth of our soil;
The balm of our air brings the health to your cheek,
And our hearts are aglow with the welcome we speak.

O brother! beware how you seek us again,
Lest you brand on your forehead the signet of Cain;
That blood and that crime on your conscience must sit;
We may fall - we may perish - but never submit!

The pathway that leads to the Pharisee's door
We remember, indeed, but we tread it no more;
Preferring to turn, with the Publican's faith,
To the path through the valley and shadow of death!



The Briton boasts his coat of red,
With lace and spangles decked;
In garb of green the French are seen,
With gaudy colors flecked;
The Yankees strut in dingy blue,
And epaulets display;
Our Southern girls more proudly view
The uniform of gray.

That dress is worn by gallant hearts
Who every foe defy,
Who stalwart stand, with battle-brand,
To conquer or to die!
They fight for freedom, hope and home,
And honor's voice obey,
And proudly wear where'er they roam
The uniform of gray.

What though 'tis stained with crimson hues,
And dim with dust and smoke,
By bullets torn, and rent and shorn
By many a hostile stroke;
The march, the camp, the bivouac,
The onset and the fray
But only serve more dear to make
The uniform of gray.

When wild war's tiger-strife is past,
And liberty restored;
When independence reigns at last,
By valor's arm secured;
The South will stand, erect and grand,
And loftiest honors pay
To those who bore her flag, and wore
The uniform of gray.

And woman's love, man's best reward,
Shall cluster round their path,
And soothe and cheer the volunteer
Who dared the foeman's wrath.
Bright wreaths she'll bring, and roses fling
Around his triumph-way,
And long in song thy fame prolong
Old uniform of gray.



The war drum is beating, prepare for the fight,
The stern bigot Northman exults in his might,
Gird on your bright weapons, your foemen are nigh;
Let this be our watchword, "We conquer or die!"

The trumpet is sounding from mountain to shore,
Your swords and your lances must slumber no more,
Fling forth to the sunlight your banner on high,
Inscribed with the watchword, "We conquer or die!"

March to the battlefield, there do or dare,
With shoulder to shoulder, all danger to share,
And let your proud watchword ring up to the sky,
Till the blue arch re-echoes "We conquer or die!"

Press forward undaunted, nor think of retreat,
The enemy's host on the threshold to meet;
Strike firm till the foeman before you shall fly,
Appalled by the watchword, "We conquer or die!"

Go forth in the pathway our forefathers trod;
We, too, fight for freedom - our Captain is God;
Their blood in our veins, with their honor we vie,
Theirs, too, was the watchword, "We conquer or die!"

We strike for the South - mountain, valley and plain -
For the South we will conquer again and again;
Her day of salvation and triumph is nigh,
Ours, then, be the watchword, "We conquer or die!"



Sons of freedom, on to glory
Go, where brave men _do_ or _die_,
Let your names in future story
Gladden every patriot's eye;
'Tis your country calls you, hasten!
Backward hurl the invading foe;
Freemen never think of danger, -
To the glorious battle go!

Oh! remember gallant Jackson,
_Single-handed_ in the fight,
Death-blows dealt the fierce marauder,
For his liberty and right;
Tho' he fell beneath their _thousands_,
Who that covets not his fame?
Grand and glorious, brave and noble,
Henceforth shall be Jackson's name.

Sons of freedom, can you linger
When you hear the battle's roar,
Fondly dallying with your pleasures
When the foe is at your door?
Never! no! we fear no idlers,
"Death or freedom"'s now the cry,
'Till the _stars_ and _bars_, triumphant,
Spread their folds to every eye.

_Richmond Whig._



Whoop! the Doodles have broken loose,
Roaring round like the very deuce!
Lice of Egypt, a hungry pack, -
After 'em, boys, and drive 'em back.

Bull-dog, terrier, cur, and fice,
Back to the beggarly land of ice;
Worry 'em, bite 'em, scratch and tear
Everybody and everywhere.

Old Kentucky is caved from under,
Tennessee is split asunder,
Alabama awaits attack,
And Georgia bristles up her back.

Old John Brown is dead and gone!
Still his spirit is marching on, -
Lantern-jawed, and legs, my boys,
Long as an ape's from Illinois!

Want a weapon? Gather a brick,
Club or cudgel, or stone or stick;
Anything with a blade or butt,
Anything that can cleave or cut.

Anything heavy, or hard, or keen!
Any sort of slaying machine!
Anything with a willing mind,
And the steady arm of a man behind.

Want a weapon? Why, capture one!
Every Doodle has got a gun,
Belt, and bayonet, bright and new;
Kill a Doodle, and capture _two_!

Shoulder to shoulder, son and sire!
All, call all! to the feast of fire!
Mother and maiden, and child and slave,
A common triumph or a single grave.

_Rockingham, Va., Register._


_Dedicated to the Oglethorpe and Walker Light Infantries._


At the end of each street, a banner we meet,
The people all march in a mass,
But quickly aside, they step back with pride,
To let the brave companies pass.
The streets are dense filled, but the laughter is still'd -
The crowd is all going one way;
Their cheeks are blanched white, but they smile as they light
Lift their hats to the - Ordered away.

They smile while the dart deeply pierces their heart,

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Online LibraryFrank MooreSongs and ballads of the southern people. 1861-1865 → online text (page 1 of 11)