Out of their peaceful slumbers
The little children woke,
When the tramp of armed and angry men
The night’s deep silence broke.
And, shuddering, they listened to
The threatened doom they swore,
And their father’s step, as he rose to meet
The mobbers at his door.
Twas cold, and dark the night looked,
But colder, darker yet
The hearts and faces of the men
The Mormon father met.
Many a month of hardship,
Many a sleepless night,
While the hungry cried, and his dear ones clung
Around him in their fright,
Had worn his strength to weakness,
And now he stood at bay,
A hunted soul and in despair
Heard what they had to say :
“Bring out your Mormon children!
Nor dare our word defy,
For we are firm, and the oath is sworn
That you and they must die.”
No anger kindled in his eye;
His cheek was wan and thin;
But pity melted not their hearts,
As he went slowly in.
The feeble candle threw its light
Upon the door-yard bare
Shone on their rifles, steely cold-
Their stern eyes’ evil glare.
He spread a quilt before them,
Then, from the lowly bed,
Without a kiss, without a word,
Lifted each little head.
In his true arms he bore them,
And, ‘neath the midnight sky,
Placed one by one his children dear
Before their God to die!
And standing ‘mid them, faithful,
With bared and reverent head,
“Now, shoot them if God will let you,”
Were all the words he said.
The mobbers looked in each other’s eyes;
Not one had voice to say
The answering word, but each one turned
And silent rode away.
From hate and power of mobbers
Their guiltless lives were spared;
Their steps were led through desert paths,
And perils wild they dared.
Then followed years of peace and joy,
Of plenty and sweet rest
His children’s children throng his home,
His name is honored, blest.
But hark! his soul so long on watch,
Hath caught a far-off sound
The foeman’s step; oppressions might
Approach pur rightful ground.
O Father, reach out thine arm again,
Thy children still to save;
Make strong thy hosts, thy banners bid
O’er all thy temples wave.