Adah Isaacs Menken
Adah Isaacs Menken (1835-1868) was an American ballet dancer, tightrope
painter and poet, and the highest-earning actress of her day.
The details of Menken's origins, including her maiden name, place of birth, ancestry,
and religion remain murky, because she gave different accounts at different times
in her life. She has been called the first Jewish-American superstar, but
have been a Louisiana Creole of mixed race, fathered by a free negro, at a time
when it was considered scandalous to have black blood. In any case, as a child going by "Ada Theodore," she performed as a ballet
dancer at the French Opera House in New Orleans and in Havana, where she was crowned "Queen of the Plaza."
She then turned to the stage and became a touring actress.
But the young Ada wanted to be known as a writer. Her early work was devoted to
family; after her marriage at age 21 to a Jewish musician, Alexander Isaac
Menken, her poetry and essays featured Jewish themes. But then he left her,
according to Samuel Dickinson, for smoking cigarettes in public!
She added an "h" to her first name and an "s" to her middle name, but eventually
became so famous that she was known simply as "the Menken." In 1859
appeared in the Broadway play The French Spy. Her work was
not highly regarded by critics. The New York Times described her as "the
worst actress on Broadway." According to the Observer she was "delightfully
unhampered by the shackles of talent." However, she continued to perform small
parts, to read Shakespeare and to give lectures. Menken became an
"early master of self-promotion" by having photographs of her striking face appear in shop windows wherever
Around this time she remarried. Her second husband, John Carmel Heenan, was a
popular bare knuckle boxer. While he was in London for an 1860 match
that has been called the first boxing world championship, Menken billed herself as
Mrs. John Heenan for a successful one-night run at the Old Bowery Theatre. She
made similar bookings in Boston, Providence, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, using
his name even after their divorce.
While in New York, Menken met Walt Whitman, the poet who originated American
free verse. In 1860 Menken wrote a
review entitled "Swimming Against the Current" in which she praised Whitman's
Leaves of Grass, calling him "centuries ahead of his
contemporaries." Such a comment could have seemed scandalous in polite
quarters, as Whitman had been accused of "obscenity" for writing frankly about the human body,
sex and homosexuality. Menken updated her own style and became the "first poet and the only woman poet
before the twentieth century" to follow Whitman's free verse lead. Menken was
also an early advocate of women's rights, including the
right not to marry. At this time, Menken wore her wavy hair cropped short and
cultivated a bohemian, androgynous appearance. She was, in a word, notorious. In
1860-61, she published 25 poems in the Sunday Mercury, an entertainment
newspaper. By publishing in a newspaper rather than
women's magazines she was able to reach a larger audience, including male readers who might pay to see her act.
Menken did a vaudeville tour with Charles Blondin, the famous tightrope walker. After the tour ended, she asked her manager Jimmie
Murdock to help her become recognized as a great actress. Murdock countered
with the "breeches role" of a noble Tartar in the melodrama Mazeppa,
based on a poem by Lord Byron. At the climax of the play, the Tartar was
stripped of his clothing, tied to his horse, and sent off to his death. Audiences were thrilled with the scene, although the production used a dummy
strapped to a horse, which was led away by a handler with sugar cubes. Menken
performed the stunt herself. Dressed in nude-colored stockings and
riding a horse on stage, she appeared to be naked and caused a sensation. She
was also toying with the conventions of gender, a century before Boy George and Lady Gaga. New York audiences were shocked but attended
in large enough numbers to make the play popular. Menken then took Mazeppa to San Francisco,
audiences less concerned about convention made it a smash hit. According to Dickinson she was very
popular with the "gay blades" and the two topics on everyone's minds were the
progress of the Civil War and whatever Menken was up to. She was wooed by Bret
Harte and other eligible men, but chose a young American
humorist, Robert Henry Newell, for her third husband. The marriage to Newell
lasted two years, after which she married a James Paul Barkley, about whom
little is known except that he may have been a gambler. That marriage is
reported to have lasted a Kardashian-like three days. Menken was
ahead of her time in a number of ways!
Menken then took Mazeppa abroad and quickly conquered London and Paris.
The sensational aspects of the production attracted attention before the show
at the Astley Theatre to "overflowing houses."
This period established her fame and notoriety. She
attracted male admirers such as Charles Dickens, Tom Hood, Dante Gabriel
Rossetti, and Charles Reade. She allegedly had
affairs with Alexandre Dumas père, who was more than twice her
age, and Algernon Charles Swinburne. Unfortunately,
Menken fell ill in London and was forced to stop performing. Her fame and
fortune dissipated quickly, and due to her excessive generosity she soon struggled with poverty. She died
in Paris in 1868 and was buried in the Jewish section of
Montparnasse Cemetery, where the inscription on her tomb reads "Thou knowest."
Her only book, Infelicia, a collection of 31 poems, was published just days
after her death. The book went through several editions and remained in print
Leave me; oh! leave me,
Lest I find this low earth sweeter than the skies.
Leave me lest I deem Faith's white bosom bared to the betraying arms of Death.
Hush your fond voice, lest it shut out the angel trumpet-call!
See my o'erwearied feet bleed for rest.
Loose the clinging and the clasping of my clammy fingers.
Your soft hand of Love may press back the dark, awful shadows of Death, but the
soul faints in the strife and struggles of nights that have no days.
I am so weary with this climbing up the smooth steep sides of the grave wall.
My dimmed eyes can no longer strain up through the darkness to the temples and
palaces that you have built for me upon Life's summit.
God is folding up the white tent of my youth.
My name is enrolled for the pallid army of the dead.
Poor, impious Soul! that fixes its high hopes
In the dim distance, on a throne of clouds,
And from the morning's mist would make the ropes
To draw it up amid acclaim of crowds―
Beware! That soaring path is lined with shrouds;
And he who braves it, though of sturdy breath,
May meet, half way, the avalanche and death!
O poor young Soul!―whose year-devouring glance
Fixes in ecstasy upon a star,
Whose feverish brilliance looks a part of earth,
Yet quivers where the feet of angels are,
And seems the future crown in realms afar―
Beware! A spark thou art, and dost but see
Thine own reflection in Eternity!
In from the night.
The storm is lifting his black arms up to the sky.
Friend of my heart, who so gently marks out the lifetrack for me, draw near
Forget the wailing of the low-voiced wind:
Shut out the moanings of the freezing, and the starving, and the dying, and bend
your head low to me:
Clasp my cold, cold hands in yours;
Think of me tenderly and lovingly:
Look down into my eyes the while I question you, and if you love me, answer me—
Oh, answer me!
Is there not a gleam of Peace on all this tiresome earth?
Does not one oasis cheer all this desert-world?
When will all this toil and pain bring me the blessing?
Must I ever plead for help to do the work before me set?
Must I ever stumble and faint by the dark wayside?
Oh the dark, lonely wayside, with its dim-sheeted ghosts peering up through
their shallow graves!
Must I ever tremble and pale at the great Beyond?
Must I find Rest only in your bosom, as now I do?
Oh, answer me!
Speak to me tenderly.
Think of me lovingly.
Let your soft hands smooth back my hair.
Take my cold, tear-stained face up to yours.
Let my lonely life creep into your warm bosom, knowing no other rest but this.
Let me question you, while sweet Faith and Trust are folding their white robes
Thus am I purified, even to your love, that came like John the Baptist in the
Wilderness of Sin.
You read the starry heavens, and lead me forth.
But tell me if, in this world's Judea, there comes never quiet when once the
Why must it ever hush Love back?
Must it only labor, strive, and ache?
Has it no reward but this?
Has it no inheritance but to bear—and break?
Oh, answer me!
The Storm struggles with the Darkness.
Folded away in your arms, how little do I heed their battle!
The trees clash in vain their naked swords against the door.
I go not forth while the low murmur of your voice is drifting all else back to
The darkness presses his black forehead close to the window pane, and beckons me
Love holds a lamp in this little room that hath power to blot back Fear.
But will the lamp ever starve for oil?
Will its blood-red flame ever grow faint and blue?
Will it uprear itself to a slender line of light?
Will it grow pallid and motionless?
Will it sink rayless to everlasting death?
Oh, answer me!
Look at these tear-drops.
See how they quiver and die on your open hands.
Fold these white garments close to my breast, while I question you.
Would you have me think that from the warm shelter of your heart I must go to
And when I am lying in my silent shroud, will you love me?
When I am buried down in the cold, wet earth, will you grieve that you did not
Will your tears reach my pale face through all the withered leaves that will
heap themselves upon my grave?
Will you repent that you loosened your arms to let me fall so deep, and so far
out of sight?
Will you come and tell me so, when the coffin has shut out the storm?
Oh, answer me!
One Year Ago
In feeling I was but a child,
When first we met―one year ago,
As free and guileless as the bird,
That roams the dreary woodland through.
My heart was all a pleasant world
Of sunbeams dewed with April tears:
Life's brightest page was turned to me,
And naught I read of doubts or fears.
We met―we loved―one year ago,
Beneath the stars of summer skies;
Alas! I knew not then, as now,
The darkness of life's mysteries.
You took my hand―one year ago,
Beneath the azure dome above,
And gazing on the stars you told
The trembling story of your love.
I gave to you―one year ago,
The only jewel that was mine;
My heart took off her lonely crown,
And all her riches gave to thine.
You loved me, too, when first we met,
Your tender kisses told me so.
How changed you are from what you were
In life and love―one year ago.
With mocking words and cold neglect,
My truth and passion are repaid,
And of a soul, once fresh with love,
A dreary desert you have made.
Why did you fill my youthful life
With such wild dreams of hope and bliss?
Why did you say you loved me then,
If it were all to end in this?
You robbed me of my faith and trust
In all Life's beauty―Love and Truth,
You left me nothing―nothing save
A hopeless, blighted, dreamless youth.
Strike if you will, and let the stroke
Be heavy as my weight of woe;
I shall not shrink, my heart is cold,
'Tis broken since one year ago.
I see her yet, that dark-eyed one,
Whose bounding heart God folded up
In His, as shuts when day is done,
Upon the elf the blossom's cup.
On many an hour like this we met,
And as my lips did fondly greet her,
I blessed her as love's amulet:
Earth hath no treasure, dearer, sweeter.
The stars that look upon the hill,
And beckon from their homes at night,
Are soft and beautiful, yet still
Not equal to her eyes of light.
They have the liquid glow of earth,
The sweetness of a summer even,
As if some Angel at their birth
Had dipped them in the hues of Heaven.
They may not seem to others sweet,
Nor radiant with the beams above,
When first their soft, sad glances meet
The eyes of those not born for love;
Yet when on me their tender beams
Are turned, beneath love's wide control,
Each soft, sad orb of beauty seems
To look through mine into my soul.
I see her now that dark-eyed one,
Whose bounding heart God folded up
In His, as shuts when day is done,
Upon the elf the blossom's cup.
Too late we met, the burning brain,
The aching heart alone can tell,
How filled our souls of death and pain
When came the last, sad word, Farewell!
Where is the promise of my years;
Once written on my brow?
Ere errors, agonies and fears
Brought with them all that speaks in tears,
Ere I had sunk beneath my peers;
Where sleeps that promise now?
Naught lingers to redeem those hours,
Still, still to memory sweet!
The flowers that bloomed in sunny bowers
Are withered all; and Evil towers
Supreme above her sister powers
Of Sorrow and Deceit.
I look along the columned years,
And see Life’s riven fane,
Just where it fell, amid the jeers
Of scornful lips, whose mocking sneers,
For ever hiss within mine ears
To break the sleep of pain.
I can but own my life is vain
A desert void of peace;
I missed the goal I sought to gain,
I missed the measure of the strain
That lulls Fame’s fever in the brain,
And bids Earth’s tumult cease.
Myself! alas for theme so poor
A theme but rich in Fear;
I stand a wreck on Error’s shore,
A spectre not within the door,
A houseless shadow evermore,
An exile lingering here.
Working And Waiting
Suggested by Carl Müller's Cast of the Seamstress, at the Dusseldorf Gallery.
Look on that form, once fit for the sculptor!
Look on that cheek, where the roses have died!
Working and waiting have robbed from the artist
All that his marble could show for its pride.
Alone, in the flitting
And wind-haunted shadows that people her hearth.
God protect all of us—
God shelter all of us
From the reproach of such scenes upon earth!
'Repent, or I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight thee with the sword of
―Revelation ii. 16.
Ashkelon is not cut off with the remnant of a valley.
Baldness dwells not upon Gaza.
The field of the valley is mine, and it is clothed in verdure.
The steepness of Baal-perazim is mine;
And the Philistines spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
They shall yet be delivered into my hands.
For the God of Battles has gone before me!
The sword of the mouth shall smite them to dust.
I have slept in the darkness-
But the seventh angel woke me, and giving me a sword of flame, points to the
blood-ribbed cloud, that lifts his reeking head above the mountain.
Thus am I the prophet.
I see the dawn that heralds to my waiting soul the advent of power.
Power that will unseal the thunders!
Power that will give voice to graves!
Graves of the living;
Graves of the dying;
Graves of the sinning;
Graves of the loving;
Graves of the despairing;
And oh! graves of the deserted!
These shall speak, each as their voices shall be loosed.
And the day is dawning.
Stand back, ye Philistines!
Practice what ye preach to me;
I heed ye not, for I know ye all.
Ye are living burning lies, and profanation to the garments which with stately
steps ye sweep your marble palaces.
Ye places of Sin, around which the damning evidence of guilt hangs like a
I would pass up the golden road of the world.
A place in the ranks awaits me.
I know that ye are hedged on the borders of my path.
Lie and tremble, for ye well know that I hold with iron grasp the battle axe.
Creep back to your dark tents in the valley.
Slouch back to your haunts of crime.
Ye do not know me, neither do ye see me.
But the sword of the mouth is unsealed, and ye coil yourselves in slime and
bitterness at my feet.
I mix your jeweled heads, and your gleaming eyes, and your hissing tongues with
My garments shall bear no mark of ye.
When I shall return this sword to the angel, your foul blood will not stain its
It will glimmer with the light of truth, and the strong arm shall rest.
I am no Magdalene waiting to kiss the hem of your garment.
It is mid-day.
See ye not what is written on my forehead?
I am Judith!
I wait for the head of my Holofernes!
Ere the last tremble of the conscious death-agony shall have shuddered, I will
show it to ye with the long black hair clinging to the glazed eyes, and the
great mouth opened in search of voice, and the strong throat all hot and reeking
with blood, that will thrill me with wild unspeakable joy as it courses down my
bare body and dabbles my cold feet!
My sensuous soul will quake with the burden of so much bliss.
Oh, what wild passionate kisses will I draw up from that bleeding mouth!
I will strangle this pallid throat of mine on the sweet blood!
I will revel in my passion.
At midnight I will feast on it in the darkness.
For it was that which thrilled its crimson tides of reckless passion through the
blue veins of my life, and made them leap up in the wild sweetness of Love and
agony of Revenge!
I am starving for this feast.
Oh forget not that I am Judith!
And I know where sleeps Holofernes.
Karazah To Karl
Come back to me! my life is young,
My soul is scarcely on her way,
And all the starry songs she's sung,
Are prelude to a grander lay.
Come back to me!
Let this song-born soul receive thee,
Glowing its fondest truth to prove;
Why so early did'st thou leave me,
Are our heaven-grand life of love?
Come back to me!
My burning lips shall set their seal
On our betrothal bond to-night,
While whispering murmurs will reveal
How souls can love in God's own light.
Come back to me!
Come back to me! The stars will be
Silent witnesses of our bliss,
And all the past shall seem to thee
But a sweet dream to herald this!
Come back to me!
'La patience est amère; mais le fruit en est doux!'
Away down into the shadowy depths of the Real I once lived.
I thought that to seem was to be.
But the waters of Marah were beautiful, yet they were bitter.
I waited, and hoped, and prayed;
Counting the heart-throbs and the tears that answered them.
Through my earnest pleadings for the True, I learned that the mildest mercy of
life was a smiling sneer;
And that the business of the world was to lash with vengeance all who dared to
be what their God had made them.
Smother back tears to the red blood of the heart!
Crush out things called souls!
No room for them here!
Now I gloss my pale face with laughter, and sail my voice on with the tide.
Decked in jewels and lace, I laugh beneath the gas-light's glare, and quaff the
But the minor-keyed soul is standing naked and hungry upon one of Heaven's high
hills of light.
Standing and waiting for the blood of the feast!
Starving for one poor word!
Waiting for God to launch out some beacon on the boundless shores of this Night.
Shivering for the uprising of some soft wing under which it may creep,
lizard-like, to warmth and rest.
Waiting! Starving and shivering!
Still I trim my white bosom with crimson roses; for none shall see the thorns.
I bind my aching brow with a jeweled crown, that none shall see the iron one
My silver-sandaled feet keep impatient time to the music, because I cannot be
I laugh at earth's passion-fever of Love; yet I know that God is near to the
soul on the hill, and hears the ceaseless ebb and flow of a hopeless love,
through all my laughter.
But if I can cheat my heart with the old comfort, that love can be forgotten, is
it not better?
After all, living is but to play a part!
The poorest worm would be a jewel-headed snake if she could!
All this grandeur of glare and glitter has its night-time.
The pallid eyelids must shut out smiles and daylight.
Then I fold my cold hands, and look down at the restless rivers of a love that
rushes through my life.
Unseen and unknown they tide on over black rocks and chasms of Death.
Oh, for one sweet word to bridge their terrible depths!
O jealous soul! why wilt thou crave and yearn for what thou canst not have?
And life is so long-so long.
With the daylight comes the business of living.
The prayers that I sent trembling up the golden thread of hope all come back to
I lock them close in my bosom, far under the velvet and roses of the world.
For I know that stronger than these torrents of passion is the soul that hath
lifted itself up to the hill.
What care I for his careless laugh?
I do not sigh; but I know that God hears the life-blood dripping as I, too,
I would not be thought a foolish rose, that flaunts her red heart out to the
Loving is not living!
Yet through all this I know that night will roll back from the still, gray plain
of heaven, and that my triumph shall rise sweet with the dawn!
When these mortal mists shall unclothe the world, then shall I be known as I am!
When I dare be dead and buried behind a wall of wings, then shall he know me!
When this world shall fall, like some old ghost, wrapped in the black skirts of
the wind, down into the fathomless eternity of fire, then shall souls uprise!
When God shall lift the frozen seal from struggling voices, then shall we speak!
When the purple-and-gold of our inner natures shall be lighted up in the
Eternity of Truth, then will love be mine!
I can wait.
Thou Pleiad of the lyric world
Where Pasta, Garcia shone,
Come back with thy sweet voice again,
And gem the starry zone.
Though faded, still the vision sees
The loveliest child of night,
The fairest of the Pleiades,
Its glory and its light.
How fell with music from thy tongue
The picture which it drew
Of Lucia, radiant, warm, and young―
Amina, fond and true.
Or the young Marie's grace and art,
So free from earthly strife,
Beating upon the sounding heart,
The gay tattoo of life!
Fair Florence! home of glorious Art,
And mistress of its sphere,
Clasp fast thy beauties to thy heart―
Behold thy rival here!
Battle of the Stars
Alone on the hill of storms
The voice of the wind shrieks through the mountain.
The torrent rushes down the rocks.
Red are hundred streams of the light-covered paths of the dead.
Shield me in from the storm,
I that am a daughter of the stars, and wear the purple and gold of bards, with
the badges of Love on my white bosom.
I heed not the battle-cry of souls!
I that am chained on this Ossa of existence.
Sorrow hath bound her frozen chain about the wheels of my chariot of fire
wherein my soul was wont to ride.
Stars, throw off your dark robes, and lead me to the palace where my Eros rests
on his iron shield of war, his gleaming sword in the scabbard, his hounds
haunting around him.
The water and the storm cry aloud.
I hear not the voice of my Love.
Why delays the chief of the stars his promise?
Here is the terrible cloud, and here the cloud of life with its many-colored
Thou didst promise to be with me when night should trail her dusky skirts along
the borders of my soul.
O wind! O thought! Stream and torrent, be ye silent!
Let the wanderer hear my voice.
Eros, I am waiting. Why delay thy coming? It is Atha calls thee.
See the calm moon comes forth.
The flood is silver in the vale.
The rocks are gray on the steep.
I see him not on the mountain brow;
The hounds come not with the glad tidings of his approach.
I wait for morning in my tears.
Rear the tomb, but close it not till Eros comes:
Not unharmed will return the eagle from the field of foes.
But Atha will not mark thy wounds, she will be silent in her blood.
Love, the great Dreamer, will listen to her voice, and she will sleep on the
soft bosom of the hills.
O Love! thou Mighty Leveler,
Thou alone canst lay the shepherd's crook beside the sceptre,
Thou art the King of the Stars.
Music floats up to thee, receives thy breath, thy burning kisses, and comes back
with messages to children of earth.
Thou art pitiful and bountiful.
Although housed with the golden-haired Son of the Sky, with stars for thy
children, dwelling in the warm clouds, and sleeping on the silver shields of
War, yet ye do not disdain the lonely Atha that hovers round the horizon of your
Grand Home. You awake and come forth arrayed in trailing robes of glory, with
blessing and with song to greet her that seeketh thy mighty presence.
Thy hand giveth Morn her power;
Thy hand lifteth the mist from the hills;
Thy hand createth all of Beauty;
Thy hand giveth Morn her rosy robes;
Thy hands bound up the wounds of Eros after the battle:
Thy hands lifted him to the skirts of the wind, like the eagle of the forest.
Thy hands have bound his brow with the spoils of the foe.
Thy hands have given to me the glittering spear, and helmet of power and might;
Nor settles the darkness on me.
The fields of Heaven are mine.
I will hush the sullen roar of the enemy.
Warriors shall lift their shields to me.
My arm is strong, my sword defends the weak.
I will loose the thong of the Oppressed, and dash to hell the Oppressor.
A thousand warriors stretch their spears around me.
I battle for the stars.
It was thy hands, O Love, that loosed my golden tresses, and girded my white
limbs in armor, and made me leader of the armies of Heaven.
Thy voice aroused the sluggard soul.
Thy voice calleth back the sleeping dead.
Thou alone, O Mighty Ruler, canst annihilate space, hush the shrieking wind,
hide the white-haired waves, and bear me to the arms and burning kisses of my
And it is thou who makest beautiful the prison-houses of earth.
I once was chained to their darkness, but thou, O Love, brought crimson roses to
lay on my pale bosom, and covered the cold damp walls with the golden shields of
the sun, and left thy purple garments whereon my weary bleeding feet might rest.
And when black-winged night rolled along the sky, thy shield covered the moon,
and thy hands threw back the prison-roof, and unfolded the gates of the clouds,
and I slept in the white arms of the stars.
And thou, O Beam of Life! didst thou not forget the lonely prisoner of Chillon
in his gloomy vault? thy blessed ray of Heaven-light stole in and made glad his
Thou hast lifted the deep-gathered mist from the dungeons of Spielberg;
Ugolino heard thy voice in his hopeless cell:
Thy blessed hand soothed Damiens on his bed of steel;
It is thy powerful hand that lights up to Heaven the inspired life of Garabaldi.
And it is thy undying power that will clothe Italy in the folds of thy wings,
and rend the helmet from the dark brow of old Austria, and bury her in the
eternal tomb of darkness.
Thou didst not forget children of earth, who roll the waves of their souls to
our ship of the sky.
But men are leagued against us-strong mailed men of earth,
Around the dwellers in the clouds they rise in wrath.
No words come forth, they seize their blood-stained daggers.
Each takes his hill by night, at intervals they darkly stand counting the power
and host of Heaven.
Their black unmuzzled hounds howl their impatience as we come on watch in our
The hills no longer smile up to greet us, they are covered with these tribes of
earth leading their war-dogs, and leaving their footprints of blood.
Unequal bursts the hum of voices, and the clang of arms between the roaring
And they dare to blaspheme the very stars, and even God on His high throne in
the Heaven of Heavens, by pleading for Love.
Love sacrifices all things to bless the thing it loves, not destroy.
Go back to your scorching homes;
Go back to your frozen souls;
Go back to your seas of blood;
Go back to your chains, your loathsome charnel houses;
Give us the green bosom of the hills to rest upon;
Broad over them rose the moon.
O Love, Great Ruler, call upon thy children to buckle on the armor of war, for
behold the enemy blackens all earth in waiting for us.
See the glittering of their unsheathed swords.
They bear blood-stained banners of death and destruction.
And, lo, their Leader comes forth on the Pale Horse.
His sword is a green meteor half-extinguished.
His face is without form, and dark withal, dark as the tales of other times,
before the light of song arose.
Mothers, clasp your new-born children close to your white bosoms!
Daughters of the stars, sleep no more, the enemy approacheth!
Look to your white shields!
Bind up your golden tresses!
See the blood upon the pale breasts of your sisters.
Where are your banners?
O sluggards, awake to the call of the Mighty Ruler!
Hear ye not the clash of arms? Arise around me, children of the Land Unknown.
Up, up, grasp your helmet and your spear!
Let each one look upon her shields as the ruler of War.
Come forth in your purple robes, sound your silver-tongue trumpets;
Rush upon the enemy with your thousand and thousands of burnished spears!
Let your voices ring through the Universe, 'Liberty, liberty for the stars.'
Thunder it on the ears of the guilty and the doomed!
Sound it with the crash of Heaven's wrath to the hearts of branded-God-cursed
things who have stood up and scorned their Maker with laughing curses, as they
dashed the crown from her brow, and hurled her into Hell.
Pray ye not for them, hills! Heed ye not, O winds, their penitence is feigned!
Let your voices, O floods, be hushed! stars, close your mighty flanks, and
battle on them!
Chain them down close to the fire!
They were merciless, bind their blood-stained hands.
They are fiends, and if ye loose them they will tear children from their
mothers, wives from their husbands, sisters from their brothers, daughters from
And these fiends, these children of eternal damnation, these men will tear souls
from bodies, and then smear their hands with blood, and laugh as they sprinkle
it in the dead up-turned faces of their victims.
It is Atha thy leader that calls to you.
Beat them down, beat them down.
I know these war-dogs.
They strangled my warrior, Eros!
Warrior of my soul;
Warrior of the strong race of Eagles!
His crimson life crushed out on the white sails of a ship.
Battle them down to dust.
Battle them back into their own slimy souls;
Battle them, ye starry armies of Heaven, down into the silent sea of their own
Battle on, the wind is with ye;
Battle on, the sun is with ye;
Battle on, the waves are with ye;
The Angels are with ye;
God is with us!