Poland 1683-1915 (Poem)

By H. T. Sudduth
[The New York Times/Current History, September 1915]

Thy valor, Poland, stemmed the tide of fate
Onrushing from the East in olden days,
When proud Vienna saw, with dread amaze,
Vast Turkish hosts before her walls, elate
In victor pride, inflamed with zealot hate!
Then Sobieski did thy banner raise
Triumphant, bore it through the battle blaze,
And saved from Crescent rule the Christian State!

And what was thy reward, O Land of Woe?
'Twas thine to see thy kingdom torn and rent,
And all a proud and vanquished people know
Whose necks beneath a conqueror's yoke are bent!
Yet thou hast kept through all thy centuried night
An altar flaming clear with Freedom's light!

And now again the tide of war has swept
In mightiest wave the world has ever known
Across thy plains by battle scarred, and prone
A nation lies! War's fury that long slept,
To greater madness waked! The bounds it kept
In older times are swept away, and strown
Thy fields are with thy dead, while moan
Of dying men shows where War's cohorts stept!

And Warsaw fair, where slow the Vistula flows,
Where Kosciusko fell in Freedom's cause,
Now once again a conqueror's presence knows
While issue vast that all the world now awes
Hangs trembling in the balance stern of Fate
Whose dread decree all nationas now await!

© J. Fred MacDonald, 2013



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