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The California hundred: a poem.

J. Henry Rogers wrote his epic poem, The California Hundred, to "sing the Hundred's praise." The excerpts that follow describe the patriotic fervor that gripped J. Sewell Reed, the departure of the Hundred from "California's flowery land," and the battles endured by the "gallant volunteer band."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
 The fire which burn'd in Sewell Reed,
 Was like the floods of Etna freed;
 Or like Vesuvius' grander mount,
 When heat her bosom rends asunder,
 And rolling from the burning fount,
 A fiery flood the land sinks under....

 But time rolls on, tides will not wait,
 Wide open stands the Golden Gate;
 And westward, down the glitt'ring bay,
 A floating palace holds her way;
 Swiftly she cleaves the yielding tide,
 Scatters the white foam from her side,
 While from her mast, in ample fold,
 Our brave old banner is unroll'd;
 And on her decks a gallant bank
 Plays "Hail Columbia, happy land!" ...

 Where desperate strife had fiercest been
 There charg'd the gallant Hundred men,
 Nor did their strong endurance fail
 When unseen foes ride on the gale.
 And with the steady burning sweep
 Of fever through their vitals creep,
 With silent pestilential step'd,
 Stealing their life-blood while they slept.

 Unmurmuring they fac'd it all,
 The charging steel, or shell, or ball;
 And, when their battle-cry arose,
 "Eureka," charge, among the foes,
 A deadly terror seem'd to play,
 Melting their serried ranks away.
 The King of Terrors met their gaze
 In ev'ry shape, or form, or phase,
 He rode upon the bustling shell:
 They found him where the round shot fell;
 They heard him in exploding mine,
 In bayonet gleam they saw him shine;
 They saw him come with saber's flash,
 Driving out souls through many a gash;
 He play'd among the deadly dew,
 Which soak'd their tatter'd garments
 Through....
 Yet never came the Hundred near
 That shad'wy craven known as Fear.


The California Hundred: A Poem, BY J. HENRY ROGERS (SAN FRANCISCO: TOWNE & BACON., 1865); CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY. IMAGE COURTESY OF LARRY ROGERS
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Title Annotation:EXCERPT
Publication:California History
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:331
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