Eos: An Epic of the Dawn, and Other Poems

By Nicholas Flood Davin




Columbia growls.
We care not, we,
We are young and strong and free.
The storm-defying oak’s great sap
Swells in the twig.
A breath of power stirs round us from each sea,
And, big with future greatness,
Our hearts beat high and bold,
Like growing seas that smite the cliffs to dust.
You cannot make us blench,
The sons of freemen we, we must be free.
Heroic milk is white upon our gums
Where lion’s teeth will grow;
You cannot make us fear;
With rhythmic step we move on to the goal.

A nation’s destiny is bright
          Within our eyes,
Deep-mirror’d in heroic will;
The future years like Banquo’s issue pass:
          A crown is there,
No tinsel crown of Kings, no bauble;
          A people’s sovereign will,
The crown of manhood in its noblest use,
Freedom, men worthy of her great reward. [Page 138]

Let the wolf growl,
The lion’s whelp is undismayed.
A better part the child of Washington
Might play to-day—
To shun the jealousies, and shame the greed,
Which deluged earth with blood;
To reach a sister’s hand,
To hold the faith which yet will rule,
That nations may be great and near,
          Live side by side, and yet
Keep adamantine muzzles on the beagles of the grave,
And with the glance of Justice strike
          Fell Slaughter dead.

Let the wolf howl.
Look to the West,
And note the giant’s strides;
Then turn from feasts of hell,
From mumbling bones of faction,
And sweep back to obscure night,
The bat-like lives,
Whose wings are made in dark corruption’s loom.
          Bestial mediocrities,
Whose eyes blear at the light,
And through the sacred edifice of our hopes,
Wherein they snugly build,
          Hold erring flight,
And mock the spirit of the mighty fane,
          And stain with ordure
The altar-cloth of Liberty. [Page 139]

O Canada! My country!
What is there thou might’st not do
If truth and honour guide thy steps?
Arise! To-day thy need is men!
Men full of all lore,
And master of this too,
Men of brain and heart and will,
Men who scorn base lucre’s lures;
Men of such breed, where are they?
Factions which keep thy pocket lean,
          And torture fact,
And blind thine eyes to truth,
          Repress the wise.
But many a one true as the great of old
          Is thine.
Awake! Thou drowsing child of destiny!
Awake! Escape from clinging phantasms,
Soar free from shams and shibboleths,
To find thy kingly men—thy greatest need;
          Thy first of duties
To hear and hearken to the voice of truth.

Columbia, crying out like Rome
          And echoing Cato,
Touch with the present must forego,
Losing to-day she’ll lose to-morrow too.
But thou—draw into all thy life
          The genius of the time;
Of Justice, Truth; Court Honour’s smile;
Then mayest thou laugh at threats,
And win a happier, greater fate [Page 140]
Than owned the empires of the past,
          In palmiest days of power.
Awake! the dawn is tripping on the hills;
          The day’s at hand;
I see a nation young, mature, and free,
          Step down the mountain side,
To take her proud place in the fields of time,
          And thou art she!

September, 1888.
[Page 141]