Victory comes late —-
Victory comes late—
And is held low to freezing lips—
Too rapt with frost
To take it—
How sweet it would have tasted—
Just a Drop—
Was God so economical?
His Table’s spread too high for Us—
Unless We dine on tiptoe—
Crumbs—fit such little mouths—
The Eagle’s Golden Breakfast strangles—Them
God keep His Oath to Sparrows—
Who of Little Love—know how to starve—
From Dan Monaco’s “Enough of Your Yankee Bloodshed“, at The Straddler:
Appearing within a year of the Civil War’s beginning, it is difficult not to read Victory comes late— as a response both to the war and to the national and religious ideologies which underlay both sides’ (but of particular importance for Dickinson, the North’s) efforts in that war.
While the Civil War did, of course, lead to the Emancipation Proclamation (legally freeing slaves nearly twenty months after the war began) and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment (outlawing slavery, some seventy-eight years after the Constitutional Convention), it almost goes without saying that the war was commenced not with the abolishment of slavery as its primary aim, but quite simply in order to “preserve the Union”—to, that is, prevent the South from successfully seceding. Furthermore, the conflict was made nigh ineluctable by the “Republic’s” founding structure, and, despite some hopes to the contrary, legal slavery remained profitable and in the South’s economic interests up to the shots fired on Fort Sumter; wage labor was more congenial to the profitability and development of the North’s economy (both sides did have this in common, of course: each had Christian theology as a strong strand of its “national” culture).