Do not cheer, for men are dying
   From their distant homes in pain;
And the restless sea is darkened
   By a flood of crimson rain.

Do not cheer, for anxious mothers
   Wait and watch in lonely dread;
Vainly waiting for the footsteps
   Never more their paths to tread.

Do not cheer, while little children
   Gather round the widowed wife,
Wondering why an unknown people
   Sought their own dear father's life.

Do not cheer, for aged fathers
   Bend above their staves and weep,
While the ocean sings the requiem
   Where their fallen children sleep.

Do not cheer, for lips are paling
   On which lay the mother's kiss;
'Mid the dreadful roar of battle
   How that mother's hand they miss!

Do not cheer: once joyous maidens,
   Who the mazy dance did tread,
Bow their heads in bitter anguish,
   Mourning o'er their cherished dead.

Do not cheer while maid and matron
   In this strife must bear a part;
While the blow that strikes a soldier
   Reaches to some woman's heart.

Do not cheer till arbitration
   O'er the nations holds its sway,
And the century now closing
   Ushers in a brighter day.

Do not cheer until the nation
   Shall more wise and thoughtful grow
Than to staunch a stream of sorrow
   By an avalanche of woe.

Do not cheer until each nation
   Sheathes the sword and blunts the spear,
And we sing aloud for gladness:
   Lo, the reign of Christ is here,

And the banners of destruction
   From the battlefield are furled,
And the peace of God descending
   Rests upon a restless world.

   Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1824-1911)

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