POEMS ON THE ARMENIAN QUESTION
[From the New York Independent, by special permission]
Written by Reverend George Filian and originally published in 1896
By the Rev. T. S. Perry
Oh! for an hour of Cromwell,
For a leader brave and grand
To guide the wrath, and point the path,
Of a mighty Christian land!
To heed the cry of innocent blood,
To blush for the world’s disgrace,
With hand to deal a blow of steel
In the murderous Moslem’s face!
Alas! for a leader heedless
While massacred villages flame,
Unmoved by shrieks of maidenhood
At wrong too foul for name!
Strong to throttle the feeble,
Feeble to beard the strong,
With eye o’er-meek, and blanching cheek,—
How long, O Lord, how long?
And women cover their faces,
And men are fain to hiss.
Cromwell’s head upon Temple Bar
Were a leader better than this!
And heaven grows black with horror,
And earth grows red with wrong,
And martyrs cry from earth and sky,
How long, O Lord, how long?
Orange Park, Florida
By Allen Eastman Cross
“It is time that one general shout of execration—not of men, but of deeds—one general shout of execration, directed against deeds of wickedness, should rise from outraged humanity.”
—Gladstone’s Armenian address at Chester.
No tomb of death shall be our guest
Wherein the Lord of Life may rest.
No empty sepulcher of stone
Across the world makes bitter moan,
But Christian hearts that break and bleed
For our avenging pity plead.
O brothers, for our brothers’ sake
Let the crusading spirit wake!
O Christian England, ‘tis the Christ
By Moslem hands is sacrificed!
Away, away with hollow words,
Now sheath our speech, unsheath our sword!
God wills: The guns of Christendom
Proclaim the tyrant’s doom has come!
By Henry Van Dyke
The Turk’s Way.
“Stand back, ye messengers of mercy! Stand
Far off, for I will save my troubled folk
In my own way.” So the false Sultan spoke;
And Europe, harkening to his base command,
Stood still to see him heal his wounded land.
Through blinding snows of winter and through smoke
Of burning towns she saw him deal the stroke
Of cruel mercy that his hate had planned.
Unto the prisoners and the sick he gave
New tortures, horrible, without a name;
Unto the thirsty, blood to drink; a sword
Unto the hungry; with a robe of shame
He clad the naked, making life abhorred.
He saved by slaughter, but denied a grave.
But thou, my country, tho’ no fault be thine
For that red horror far across the sea;
Tho’ not a tortured wretch can point to thee,
And curse thee for the selfishness supine
Of those great powers who cowardly combine
To shield the Turk in his iniquity;
Yet, since thy hand is innocent and free,
Rise, thou, and show the world the way divine.
Thou canst not break the oppressor’s iron rod,
But thou canst minister to the oppressed;
Thou canst not loose the captive’s heavy chain,
But thou canst bind his wounds and soothe his pain.
Armenia calls thee, Empire of the West,
To play the Good Samaritan for God.
New York City
TO THOSE WHO DIED FOR THEIR FAITH
Armenia, 1894 to 189—?
By Mrs. Merrill E. Gates
“These loved their lives not, to the death!”
But we at ease to-day, who claim
Allegiance to the One great Name,
Could we as nobly die for Faith?
We challenge not the crucial test!
Self cannot prove to self its power
If e’er should come that testing hour
God give us grace to choose the Best!
But these have overcome! Their Lord
In bitter death have not denied!
Have chosen still the Crucified
In face of bayonet and sword!
Our age heroic looms! Our eyes
Behold white martyr brows! Still hears
Our sin-gray world with unthrilled ears
Once more the martyr-chorus rise!
Come Thou to succor the great need!
Thy judgment shall not long delay!
God doeth his strange work to-day!
The Judge is at the door! Take heed!
By Willimina L. Armstrong
Out of storms and peace light,
out of confusing things,
Bound in mysterious fashion
by the bindings of blood and hate,
Lo, are the Nations assembled now
At the Twentieth Century Gate.
Leaning beside the portal:
Close! in the name of God!
Over the Garden of Eden,
in the evening of this our Day.
Over the breast of the Mountain old
Where the Ark of deliverance lay.
Leaning beside the portal:
Hark to the clashing arms!
Hark to the voice in the Garden,
to the Nations of Earth it calls,
“Bid! for the Woman is Christian blood;
And the sword and the bayonet falls!”
Sold! A Christian Woman!
Sold in the name of Christ!
Sold to her death in the Eden
with its soil by her blood made damp!
Sold in the eve of our Mighty Age!
With the light of our Age for a lamp!
New York City
ARMENIA’S BITTER CRY
By Hetta Lord Hayes Ward
World, world, hear our prayer
Oh where is Russia, where?
A fearful deed is done,
Its glare affronts the sun.
Smoke! Flame! Fire!
Rouse thee, great Russian Sire!
When Christian homes are ablaze,
Hast thou no voice to raise?
Thy neighbor to thee has cried,
Pass not on the other side.
Look on our dire despair!
Where art thou, Czar, oh, where?
Land of the sun and sea,
Wake, Rome and Italy!
Our ancient Church in vain
Calls thee to break her chain.
Shame! Shame! Shame!
Where sleeps thy early fame?
To death our priests are led,
Their flocks lie slaughtered, dead.
Awake, good Pope of Rome!
Our saints through blood go home;
Hear thou their dying plea,
Where, where is Italy?
Land of Fraternite,
Brave France, turn not away!
Shall blood thy lilies stain?
Wilt bear the curse of Cain?
Wake! Wake! Wake!
For God and glory’s sake!
On a ghastly funeral pyre,
Brave men are burned with fire;
God calls to France, the free,
“Thy brother, where is he?”
Lest God in wrath requite,
Awake, befriend the right!
Where is good Frederick’s son
When evil deeds are done?
Shall prisons reek and rot,
His mother’s blood speak not?
Haste! Haste! Haste!
Time runs too long to waste.
If halts the Kaiser dumb,
Let all the people come.
Your oath must sacred stand,
Treaties of Fatherland;
Victims of Turk and Kurd,
Rest on your plighted word.
Your sisters’ shame and blood
Cry out to England’s God.
Slain on the church’s floor,
Their blood flowed out the door.
Speak! Speak! Speak!
The strong must help the weak.
Leave Turkish bonds unsold;
Betray not Christ for gold.
Let the Moslem dragon feel
Once more Saint George’s heel.
England, awake, awake!
World, hear, for Jesus’ sake!
By Geo. W. Crofts
Tune: “Maryland, My Maryland.”
Where’er thy martyr blood has run
Shed by the fierce Mohammedan,
There nations gather in their grief—
There would they bring in swift relief—
Oh, may thy agony be brief,
God’s eye of pity glances down,
He sees thy rudely broken crown,
His heart is touched with all thy woes,
His mighty arm will interpose,
He’ll save thee from thy cruel foes,
All o’er thy verdant plains shall spread,
The golden grain where thou hast bled,
Thy harvest song shall yet arise
To him who rules in yonder skies,
Whose ear has heard thy bitter cries,
America extends to thee,
The cordial of her sympathy,
And every soul in this free land
Would give to thee the helping hand,
And near thee in thy sorrow stand,
In this dark hour be brave and strong,
The right shall triumph over wrong,
‘Twill not be long till thou shalt see
The glorious dawn of liberty,
When thou shalt be forever free,
By Alice Stone Blackwell
[From the Armenian of Nerses the Graceful; born 1102, died 1172]
O Dayspring, Sun of righteousness, shine forth with light for me!
Treasure of mercy, let my soul thy hidden riches see!
Thou before whom the thoughts of men lie open in thy sight,
Unto my soul, now dark and dim, grant thoughts that shine with light!
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Almighty One in Three,
Care-taker of all creatures, have pity upon me!
Awake, O Lord, awake to help, with grace and power divine;
Awaken those who slumber now, like Heaven’s host to shine!
O Lord and Saviour, life-giver, unto the dead give life,
And raise up those that have grown weak and stumbled in the strife!
O Skillful Pilot! Lamp of light, that burneth bright and clear!
Strength and assurance grant to me, now hid away in fear.
O Thou that makest old things new, renew me and adorn;
Rejoice we with salvation, Lord, for which I inly mourn.
Giver of good, unto my sins be thy forgiveness given!
Lead Thy disciples, Heavenly King, unto the flocks of Heaven.
Defeat the evil husbandman that soweth tares and weeds;
Wither and kill in me the fruits of all his evil seeds!
O Lord, grant water to my eyes, that they may shed warm tears
To cleanse and wash away the sin that in my soul appears!
On me, now hid in shadow deep, shine forth, O glory bright!
Sweet juice, quench thou my soul’s keen thirst! Show me the path of light!
Jesus, whose name is love, with love crush thou my stony heart;
Bedew my spirit with thy blood, and bid my griefs depart!
O thou that even in fancy art so sweet, Lord Jesus Christ,
Grant that with Thy reality my soul may be sufficed!
When thou shalt come again to earth, and all thy glory see,
Upon that dread and awful day, O Christ, remember me!
Thou that redeemest men from sin, O Saviour, I implore,
Redeem him who now praiseth Thee, to praise Thee evermore.
Miss Alice Stone Blackwell is a noble Boston woman who is greatly interested in the Armenians. She has written many articles and poems, and done much toward arousing public sentiment throughout the United States in behalf of the Armenians.
The author of this book esteems it a privilege to offer his personal thanks, as well as those of his persecuted nation, to Miss Blackwell, by whose kind permission the following poems from her book, “Armenian Poems,” are here reprinted.
THE LAMENT OF MOTHER ARMENIA
By Alice Stone Blackwell
In alien lands they roam, my children dear;
Where shall I make appeal, with none to hear?
Where shall I find them? Far away from me
My sons serve others, thralls in slavery.
Oh, come, my children, back to me!
Come home, your motherland to see!
Ages have passed, no news of them I hear;
Dead, dead are they, my sons that knew not fear.
I weep, the blood is frozen in my veins;
No one will cure my sorrows and my pains.
My blood is failing and my heart outworn,
My face forever mournful and forlorn;
To my dark grave with grief I shall descend,
Longing to see my children to the end.
O wandering shepherd, you whose mournful song
Rings through the valleys as you pass along!
Come, let us both, with many a bitter tear,
Weep for the sad death of our children dear!
Crane of the fatherland, fly far away,
Fly out of sight, beyond the setting day;
My last sad greetings to my children bear,
For my life’s hope has died into despair!
Michael Ghazarian Nalbandian was born in Russian Armenia in 1830; graduated at the University of St. Petersburg with the title of Professor; was active as a teacher, author, and journalist; fell under suspicion for his political opinions, and underwent a rigorous imprisonment of three years, after which he was exiled to the province of Sarakov, and died there, in 1866, of lung disease contracted in prison. It is forbidden in Russia to possess a picture of Nalbandian; but portraits of him, with his poem on “Liberty” printed around the margin, are circulated secretly.
When God, who is forever free,
Breathed life into my earthly frame,—
From that first day, by his free will
When I a living soul became,—
A babe upon my mother’s breast,
Ere power of speech was given to me,
Even then I stretched my feeble arms
Forth to embrace thee, Liberty!
Wrapped round with many swaddling bands,
All night I did not cease to weep,
And in the cradle, restless still,
My cries disturbed my mother’s sleep.
“O mother!” in my heart I prayed,
“Unbind my arms and leave me free!”
And even from that hour I vowed
To love thee ever, Liberty!
When first my faltering tongue was freed,
And when my parents’ hearts were stirred
With thrilling joy to hear their son
Pronounce his first clear-spoken word,
“Papa, mamma,” as children use,
Were not the names first said by me;
The first word on my childish lips
Was thy great name, O Liberty!
Liberty answered from on high The sovereign voice of Destiny:
“Wilt thou enroll thyself henceforth
A soldier true of Liberty?
The path is thorny all the way,
And many trials wait for thee;
Too strait and narrow is this world
For him who loveth Liberty.”
“Freedom!” I answered, “on my head
Let fire descend and thunder burst;
Let foes against my life conspire,
Let all who hate thee do their worst:
I will be true to thee till death;
Yea, even upon the gallows tree
The last breath of a death of shame
Shall shout thy name, O Liberty!”
THE WANDERING ARMENIAN TO THE SWALLOW
By C. A. Totochian
O swallow, gentle swallow,
Thou lovely bird of spring!
Say, whither art thou flying
So swift on gleaming wing?
Fly to my birthplace, Ashdarag,
The spot I love the best;
Beneath my father’s roof-tree,
O swallow, build thy nest.
There dwells afar my father,
A mournful man and gray,
Who for his only son’s return
Waits vainly, day by day.
If thou shouldst chance to see him,
Greet him with love from me;
Bid him sit down and mourn with tears
His son’s sad destiny.
In poverty and loneliness,
Tell him, my days are passed:
My life is only half a life.
My tears are falling fast.
To me, amid bright daylight,
The sun is dark at noon;
To my wet eyes at midnight
Sleep comes not, late or soon.
Tell him that, like a beauteous flower
Smit by a cruel doom.
Uprooted from my native soil,
I wither ere my bloom.
Fly on swift wing, dear swallow,
Across the quickening earth,
And seek in fair Armenia
The village of my birth.