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Oliver Wendell Holmes - Brother Jonathan's Lament

SHE has gone,-- she has left us in passion and pride,--
Our stormy-browed sister, so long at our side!
She has torn her own star from our firmament's glow,
And turned on her brother the face of a foe!

Oh, Caroline, Caroline, child of the sun,
We can never forget that our hearts have been one,--
Our foreheads both sprinkled in Liberty's name,
From the fountain of blood with the finger of flame!

You were always too ready to fire at a touch;
But we said, "She is hasty,-- she does not mean much."
We have scowled, when you uttered some turbulent threat;
But Friendship still whispered, "Forgive and forget!"

Has our love all died out? Have its altars grown cold?
Has the curse come at last which the fathers foretold?
Then Nature must teach us the strength of the chain
That her petulant children would sever in vain.

They may fight till the buzzards are gorged with their spoil,
Till the harvest grows black as it rots in the soil,
Till the wolves and the catamounts troop from their caves,
And the shark tracks the pirate, the lord of the waves:

In vain is the strife! When its fury is past,
Their fortunes must flow in one channel at last,
As the torrents that rush from the mountains of snow
Roll mingled in peace through the valleys below.

Our Union is river, lake, ocean, and sky:
Man breaks not the medal, when God cuts the die!
Though darkened with sulphur, though cloven with steel,
The blue arch will brighten, the waters will heal!

Oh, Caroline, Caroline, child of the sun,
There are battles with Fate that can never be won!
The star-flowering banner must never be furled,
For its blossoms of light are the hope of the world!

Go, then, our rash sister! afar and aloof,
Run wild in the sunshine away from our roof;
But when your heart aches and your feet have grown sore,
Remember the pathway that leads to our door! 

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Added: Apr 5 2005 | Viewed: 4408 times | Comments and analysis of Brother Jonathan's Lament by Oliver Wendell Holmes Comments (2)

Brother Jonathan's Lament - Comments and Information

Poet: Oliver Wendell Holmes
Poem: Brother Jonathan's Lament
Poem of the Day: Mar 9 2014

Comment 2 of 2, added on January 18th, 2012 at 10:04 AM.
Brother Jonathens Lmaet

How does Caroline die?!

Sam from United States
Comment 1 of 2, added on March 9th, 2009 at 8:57 PM.

I don't understand the meaning of this part of the poem: Our Union is river,lake,ocean, and sky. Man breaks not medal, when God cuts the die! Though darkened with sulphur, though cloven with steel, The blue arch will brighten, the waters will heal!

Abigale Luzzi from United States

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