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Men silenced on his faithful lips
Words of resistless truth and power;
Those words re-echoing now, have made
This gathering war cry of the hour.

They thought to darken down in blood
The light of freedom's burning rays;
The beacon fires we send to-day
Were lit in that undying blaze.

They took the earthly prop and staff
Out of an unresisting hand;
God came, and led him safely on,
By ways they could not understand.

They know not, when from his old eyes
They shut the world forever more,
The ladder by which angels come
Rests firmly out the dungeon's floor.

They deemed no vision bright could cheer
His story couch and prison ward:
He slept to dreams of heaven, and rose
To build a Bethel to the Lord!

They showed to his unshrinking gaze
The "sentence" men have paled to see
He read God's writing of "reprieve,"
And grant to endless liberty.

They tried to conquer and subdue
By marshaled power and bitter hate
The simple manhood of the man
Was heavier than an armed State.

They hoped at last to make him feel
The felon's shame, and felon's deed:
And lo! the martyr's crown of joy
Settled forever on his head!

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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There is currently no available "Beginner" label. The following is the default level label: On Sunday evening, October 16, 1859 John Brown (1800-1859) raided the Federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia with his 21 man "army of liberation" hoping to spark a slave insurrection. A day and a half later Brown was captured and most of his men had been killed or wounded. He was brought to trial in nearby Charles Town and was found guilty of treason, conspiring with slaves to rebel, and murder. He was hanged on December 2, 1859. This ode to Brown was written by Phoebe Cary (1824-1871), an American poet who, along with her sister Alice, was active in the women's rights movement. The Gazette & Courier was the newspaper in Greenfield, Massachusetts, from July 20, 1841 until June 24, 1932. Before 1841 the newspaper's name changed quite frequently, with Gazette a frequent part of the title.


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"John Brown" poem from the Gazette and Courier newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Courier
author   Phoebe Cary (1824-1871)
date   Jan 6, 1868
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   3.0"
width   2.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.093

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See Also...

"Insurrection at Harper's Ferry" article from the Franklin Democrat newspaper

"Correspondence between Lydia Maria Child and Gov. Wise and Mrs. Mason, of Viriginia"

Portrait of W. E. B. Du Bois

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