A Warning.

WE will remember it— England's “neutrality”—
We who have witnessed her cowardly craft;
Friendly in seeming, a foe in reality,
Wiping her eyes while she inwardly laughed.
We will remember when round us were lying
Thousands of gallant men, wounded and dead,
Rebels on all sides our pathway defying—
“Down with our Rival!” was all England said.
We will remember her sham aristocracy,
Cheerful and jubilant over our fall;
Helping when Treason would stifle democracy,
Turning a deaf ear to Liberty's call.
We will remember with lasting emotion,
When her starved workmen were gasping for breath,
While stores of grain we sent over the ocean,
Her ships came laden with weapons of death!
We will remember the Keokuk sinking,
Riddled with balls “neutral England” had sent;
We will remember her laughing and winking,
Feasting arch-traitors on board of the Trent.
We will remember it when we are stronger,
When once again we stand saved and erect;
Her neutral mask shall shield England no longer,
By her foul deeds she'll know what to expect!

Title:A Warning.


Publication:Harper’s Volume

Published in:

Date:May 9th 1863

Keywords:politics, war


This poem was published in the northern magazine Harper’s during a period when the death toll of the American Civil War was reaching unprecedented heights. It rails against perceived British hypocrisy in declaring neutrality while actually aiding the Confederacy. The Trent Affair of two years previous is mentioned, but also the recent sinking of the USS Keokuk, one of the first ironclad warships, at the First Battle of Charleston Harbor of April 1863. The implication is that the British government had turned a blind eye to gunrunners arming the Confederate army, making it implicitly culpable for Union losses. The poem contrasts this with Union aid sent to starving Lancashire workers, suffering the effects of the Cotton Famine. – SR