Fold it up Carefully

A Reply to “The Conquered Banner,” by Sir Henry Houghton, Bart., of England.

Gallant nation, foiled by numbers,
Say not that your hopes are fled;
Keep that glorious flag which slumbers,
One day to avenge your dead.

Keep it, widowed, sonless mothers,
Keep it, sisters, mourning brothers,
Furl it with an iron will;
Furl it now, but—keep it still,
Think not that its work is done.

Keep it ’till your children take it,
Once again to hail and make it
All their sires have bled and fought for,
All their noble hearts have sought for,
Bled and fought for all alone.
All alone! aye, shame the story.
Millions here deplore the stain,
Shame, alas! for England’s glory,
Freedom called, and called in vain.

Furl that banner, sadly, slowly,
Treat it gently, for ’tis holy:
’Till that day—yes, furl it sadly,
Then once more unfurl it gladly—
Conquered banner—keep it still!