This poem is intended as a description of a sort of Blashfield mural painting on the sky. To be sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle, yet in a slower, more orotund fashion. It is presumably an exercise for an entertainment on the evening of Washington's Birthday.
Dawn this morning burned all red Watching them in wonder. There I saw our spangled flag Divide the clouds asunder. Then there followed Washington. Ah, he rode from glory, Cold and mighty as his name And stern as Freedom's story. Unsubdued by burning dawn Led his continentals. Vast they were, and strange to see In gray old regimentals:— Marching still with bleeding feet, Bleeding feet and jesting— Marching from the judgment throne With energy unresting. How their merry quickstep played— Silver, sharp, sonorous, Piercing through with prophecy The demons' rumbling chorus— Behold the ancient powers of sin And slavery before them!— Sworn to stop the glorious dawn, The pit-black clouds hung o'er them. Plagues that rose to blast the day Fiend and tiger faces, Monsters plotting bloodshed for The patient toiling races. Round the dawn their cannon raged, Hurling bolts of thunder, Yet before our spangled flag Their host was cut asunder. Like a mist they fled away. . . . Ended wrath and roaring. Still our restless soldier-host From East to West went pouring.
High beside the sun of noon They bore our banner splendid. All its days of stain and shame And heaviness were ended. Men were swelling now the throng From great and lowly station— Valiant citizens to-day Of every tribe and nation. Not till night their rear-guard came, Down the west went marching, And left behind the sunset-rays In beauty overarching. War-god banners lead us still, Rob, enslave and harry Let us rather choose to-day The flag the angels carry— Flag we love, but brighter far— Soul of it made splendid: Let its days of stain and shame And heaviness be ended. Let its fifes fill all the sky, Redeemed souls marching after, Hills and mountains shake with song, While seas roll on in laughter.