Stephen Vincent Benet, JOHN BROWN'S PRAYER from "John Brown's Body" (1928)Stephen Vincent Benet, JOHN BROWN'S PRAYERfrom "John Brown's Body" (1928)Omnipotent and steadfast God, Who, in Thy mercy, hath Upheaved in me Jehovah's rod And his chastising wrath, For fifty-nine unsparing years Thy Grace hath worked apart To mould a man of iron tears With a bullet for a heart. Yet, since this body may be weak With all it has to bear, Once more, before Thy thunders speak, Almighty, hear my prayer. I saw Thee when Thou did display The black man and his lord To bid me free the one, and slay The other with the sword. I heard Thee when Thou bade me spurn Destruction from my hand And, though all Kansas bleed and burn, It was at Thy command. I hear the rolling of the wheels, The chariots of war! I hear the breaking of the seals And the opening of the door! The glorious beasts with many eyes Exult before the Crowned. The buried saints arise, arise Like incense from the ground! Before them march the martyr-kings, In bloody sunsets drest, _O, Kansas, bleeding Kansas, You will not let me rest!_ _I hear your sighing corn again, I smell your prairie-sky, And I remember five dead men By Pottawattamie._ Lord God it was a work of Thine, And how might I refrain? _But Kansas, bleeding Kansas, I hear her in her pain._ _Her corn is rustling in the ground, An arrow in my flesh. And all night long I staunch a wound That ever bleeds afresh._ Get up, get up, my hardy sons, From this time forth we are No longer men, but pikes and guns In God's advancing war. And if we live, we free the slave, And if we die, we die. But God has digged His saints a grave Beyond the western sky. Oh, fairer than the bugle-call Its walls of jasper shine! And Joshua's sword is on the wall With space beside for mine. And should the Philistine defend His strength against our blows, The God who doth not spare His friend, Will not forget His foes.