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Detroit, March 12, 1863

Up, up to the curtains of darkness
Leaped the tongues of the pitiless flame,
Mapping out on the sky of the evening
A horror too deep for a name;
Filling the air with a terrible gloom,
Blotting from heaven the stars and the moon,
Spreading its smoke far above like a pall,
Below, busy wrapping a ruin round all.


Below were the dark, angry faces
Of what God intended for men;
But the hate in their eyes made them demons,
And blotted out all, but revenge.
The curses of passion went up to the sky,
And through them, beside them, ascended the cry,--
The cry of a great and terrible wrong--
The wail of the weak--He who heard it is strong!


Below rolled the surges of passion,
Above the calm heavens looked down;
Below glared the human misdoing,
Above gloomed the infinite frown.
Below, rocked the billows of passion that night,
Above, paused the angel of record to write;
Madly below did these hands light the flames,
Sternly above wrote the angel their names.


The anger and tumult are over,
The names and the deeds that were done,
Are connected forever and ever--
They'll meet in a time that will come.
They built in their madness a tower of shame;
The wrong and injustice are written in flame;
O did they think, in their rage 'gainst the weak,
That God who will judge, willed the hue of the cheek?