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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Annus Memorabilis

By Henry Howard Brownell (1820–1872)

(Congress, 1860–61)

STAND strong and calm as Fate! not a breath of scorn or hate—

Of taunt for the base, or of menace for the strong—

Since our fortunes must be sealed on that old and famous Field

Where the Right is set in battle with the Wrong.

’Tis coming, with the loom of Khamsin or Simoom,

The tempest that shall try if we are of God or no—

Its roar is in the sky,—and they there be which cry,

“Let us cower, and the storm may over-blow.”

Now, nay! stand firm and fast! (that was a spiteful blast!)

This is not a war of men, but of Angels Good and Ill—

’Tis hell that storms at heaven—’tis the black and deadly Seven,

Sworn ’gainst the Shining Ones to work their damnèd will!

How the Ether glooms and burns, as the tide of combat turns,

And the smoke and dust above it whirl and float!

It eddies and it streams—and, certes, oft it seems

As the Sins had the Seraphs fairly by the throat.

But we all have read (in that Legend grand and dread),

How Michael and his host met the Serpent and his crew—

Naught has reached us of the Fight—but if I have dreamed aright,

’Twas a loud one and a long, as ever thundered through!

Right stiffly, past a doubt, the Dragon fought it out,

And his Angels, each and all, did for Tophet their devoir—

There was creak of iron wings, and whirl of scorpion stings,

Hiss of bifid tongues, and the Pit in full uproar!

But, naught thereof enscrolled, in one brief line ’tis told

(Calm as dew the Apocalyptic Pen),

That on the Infinite Shore their place was found no more.

God send the like on this our earth! Amen.