Unmanifest Destiny

Original Text: 
Along the Trail (New York: Duffield and Company, 1907) : 16.
2  And unforeseen of foe or friend,
3Beneath what unexpected star,
4  Compelled to what unchosen end,
5Across the sea that knows no beach
6  The Admiral of Nations guides
7Thy blind obedient keels to reach
8  The harbor where thy future rides!
10  Knew not that God was planning then
12  To bugle forth the rights of men.
14  What was it but despair and shame?
15Who saw behind the cloud the sun?
16  Who knew that God was in the flame?
17Had not defeat upon defeat,
18  Disaster on disaster come,
19The slave's emancipated feet
20  Had never marched behind the drum.
21There is a Hand that bends our deeds
22  To mightier issues than we planned,
23Each son that triumphs, each that bleeds,
24  My country, serves Its dark command.
25I do not know beneath what sky
26  Nor on what seas shall be thy fate;
27I only know it shall be high,
28  I only know it shall be great.
July, 1898

Notes

1] Unmanifest Destiny: U.S. Politicians used the phrase, "manifest destiny," from the 1840's for America's sense of its essential mission in bringing Democratic ideals to the entire continent. Back to Line
9] Lexington: a Civil War battle on September 18-20, 1861, when a Missouri state army commanded by Major General Sterling Price defeated Unionist forces led by Colonel James A. Mulligan. Back to Line
11] Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson, third President, United States of America, wrote "A Summary View of the Rights of British America" (1744) and was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence (1776). Back to Line
13] Bull Run: the first Major Civil War battle fought on July 21, 1861, the first so-called and also named the Battle of Manassus, Virginia, at which Confederate forces, under Brigadier General Pierre Beauregard, defeated a Unionist army, under Brigadier General Irvin McDougal. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2004
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