Oh watchman, ye watchman, what of the night?
Hear a brother who loved ye well;
Who now walks in the blaze of freedom’s light—
What, what of the night? Can ye tell?
Are ye closing your eyes in darkness, there,
While our heavens are all a glow,
And the Southern cross, on the trembling air,
Lights our cities and plains below?
O! why will ye not, from your watch-towers, say,
That your skies with omens are red?
And why, why will ye still for “the Union” pray?—
Our church has no “prayers for the dead!”
Ye were Southern men, and with Southern souls;
And why should a prelate proud,
Whose cold heart, a Northern feeling controls,
Keep ye still in slavery bowed?
Speak out! speak up; if indeed ye are men,
Nor mind ye the threatener’s ban;
If priests, ye are human—uprise ye then,
And let each feel himself a man!
Speak out, and speak up—’tis your duty now:
At his edict why will ye quail?
Ye were sometime servants of God, I trow,
And are ye now the priests of Baal?
Come out, come out, from their temples, come;
The Vandals and Goths have o’erthrown
The Church of the North, and their idols dumb
Are enthroned where God is not known,
Their idols are gold, and silver, and brass,
And wares from the loom and the mill;
And away from their shrines God’s footsteps pass,
Though, mocking, they call on him still.
O come out, come out, ye were Southern men,
Aye, Southern in birth and in blood;
For how will ye feel in that hour, when
God sweeps them away with a flood?
Come out white ye may, let your trumpets’ tone,
Clear notes from your watch-towers peal;
And pray nevermore for the tyrant’s throne,
Nor again for the despot’s weal.
Come out, come out, with a cry and a shout,
And “for God and the South” stand up!
For who can doubt, hut that ruin and rout,
Bead the modern Belshazzar’s cup?
Why then will ye stand ’mid that godless band,
And still pray for the heartless foe,
Whose bloody right hand wields the red firebrand,
Our home altars to overthrow?
Let Governors* cringe to the hand that smites,
Let Prelates† conspire to enslave;
Let a godless horde despoil us of rights—
But God’s Priests should be true and brave.
But choose ye your section, and pray your prayers,
Aye, let renegades kneel and pray;
The South, for your prayers, nor your platitudes, cares—
Indignant, she hurls you away!
You may say ye still love our sunny skies,
And our waters, so bright and blue;
But conscience, when upward ye lift your eyes,
Whispers “hush,” for it is not true!
Ye are playing a wretched part, at best,
And the South will remember when
Ye may seek her breast, for your sick soul’s rest,
Ye were never to her true men.
Pray on, then, pray for the bloody throne,
And still pray for the despot’s weal;
But the hour draws near, when ye’ll be alone,
And your treason be made to feel—
You’ll feel too late that your faith you have sold,
And with curses have filled your mouth;
And truckled, and puled, in your lust of gold,
And have hated and banned the South.
That South which once fed you, and clothed you and nurst
Your wives, and your children dear;
And oh! when God’s wrath in fury hath burst,
Say, from blood will your hands be clear?
Will your hearts be fair from the crimson stain?
Will the bread, by your treason bought,
Be sweet? O no! for too late ye’ll complain
Ye have sold your honor for nought.
For a little gain ye have thrown away
The boon of your birth and your fame;
And won—well say ye have gotten your pay—
The traitor’s indelible, name.
Henceforth with the North! a Northern grave
In that home of your choice ye’ll find;
But never such hearts, so true and so brave,
As are those ye have left behind.
But one more word, and this strain is hushed,
And I speak it, mark, not in vain:
When the South the foul invader hath crushed,
She cannot receive you again!
I’ve spoken, and echoing back my cry,
A voice comes adown from the Throne,
“Leave them, and let them alone to die,
Joined to idols—let them alone!