The White House on the Potomac,
The portal to power, wealth, and fame –
To wield its dark demonic forces
Innocence is lost and the blood of man is shed;
Malicious lies are told,
Allegiance is bought and sold,
Deceptive arts unfold.
Your hope does not lie there, Southern man,
In demagogues making a noisy scene,
But in the glittering white house –
The church of Candida Casa –
Of Blessèd Ninian in Whithorn,
Nestled on Galloway’s bay,
Built by the hands of the saint,
Who lived and prayed in a little cave.
The Southern heart, aching for a noble, loving father,
Will not find him amongst the greedy gangsters
And the sham showmen of DC,
But rather in that royal-born Briton,
St. Ninian, who put aside crown and kingdom
To bring the Good Tidings of Jesus Christ
To a branch of Dixie’s kin, the warring Scots;
Who nourished them with preaching,
Sacraments, and his prayers,
And who will tenderly guide us,
And work wonders for us,
If we will entreat our Elder,
As a child would his father.
Exile from one’s homeland can cause overwhelming grief to flood over him, a condition illustrated poignantly in the familiar Psalm 137, which begins with the words, ‘By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.’
However, internal exile gives rise perhaps to even sharper pains, as these exiles must stand by and watch as piece after piece of their tradition is destroyed before their eyes.
Internal exile is the situation of traditional Southerners today. And though there are differences between internal and external exile, they are sufficiently similar that Dixie can draw wisdom from the experiences of those who have suffered external exile.
Two especially superb examples of Christians suffering patiently and joyfully despite their exile come to us from the early 5th century: St. John Chrysostom and St. Olympias. St. John is one of the finest pastors the Church has ever known. His surname, Chrysostom, means ‘golden tongue’, a name given to him for the excellence of his many sermons. He was exiled from Constantinople by the God-hating rulers of his day who falsely accused him of various infractions. St. Olympias was born into a well-to-do family, but devoted her life to God after her betrothed died. She became a deaconess in the great cathedral of Hagia Sophia under St. John and was sent into exile because of her loyalty to her godly pastor.
Many letters of these two to one another have survived to our day, and they offer a wealth of helpful advice on how Southerners can deal with our current woes.
In one letter St. John helps us put suffering in its proper perspective. It is in fact something that makes up the very nature of the Church:
Suffering joyfully, without complaint, because of our trust in God is, furthermore, a great virtue. He writes to St. Olympias many moving words about this:
The South can find the will to endure by meditating on the lives of the martyrs and confessors who have gone before us:
And while we are being buffeted by the waves of heavy trials, in order to avoid being crushed against the shoals of despair, it is imperative to remember that God’s love governs the universe:
That same love directs the fate of Dixie, too. And, in a passage reminiscent of General Lee’s on hope in God’s providence, St. John tells us to trust God with the final result of our struggle for an independent, Christian Southland: ‘Therefore, my friend, wait for the final outcome. For all things will certainly turn out, whether in this life or the life to come. In every circumstance, yield to the incomprehensibility of God’s providence.’
Yet, however things turn out for the South, we must praise God, for His ways are beyond searching out:
May our Loving Lord, Jesus Christ, allow the South to achieve all her godly goals, through the prayers of the righteous sufferers, St. John and St. Olympias!
Note: All quotes from St. John are from this essay by Mr. Christopher Hall.
When her stomach is unsettled,
Momma must stay at home.
When Summer issues his stern command,
Then we will swelter in hot weather.
When one grandson arrives,
He must walk the boundaries
Of the property of the camp,
Greeting the young trees
And mourning the ones that have fallen.
When feet approach the pond,
Then a fishing pole will be in the hand.
When the call to bless the food and family comes,
Then the time for talk will cease.
When the ladies turn a camera toward you,
You had better stand and smile.
When little Lennon stands before you with her bike,
Then someone will push her round,
Whether Daddy Kyle or Granny Sug or young Cousin Cooper.
When our patriarch Raiford decreed
Long ago the gathering of the Walton kin to meet
Once a year, then most joyfully
We obey, in flood or frost or scorching heat.
The United States are often presented as ‘one nation’, but that is far from the reality. One of the most exemplary of the Vanderbilt Agrarians, Donald Davidson, even spoke of a cultural ‘cold Civil War’ that began between the North and the South after WWI drew to a close (Southern Writers in the Modern World, U of Georgia Press, Athens, Ga., 1958, p. 34).
The latest instance of this propaganda war against the South is Fox News journalist Greg Jarrett’s new book Trial of the Century, which rehashes the events of the John Scopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925. His central claim is that Tennessee’s law against the teaching of evolution was an evil restriction upon the sacred right of freedom of speech. The rather unmistakable message that emanates from this is that laws upholding Christianity are bad; the untrammeled ‘free exchange of ideas’ is much better.
Southerners should recognize his book for the attack on their Christian culture that it is. Prof. Davidson and the other Agrarians recognized the Scopes trial itself as such. Prof. Davidson describes windbags like Mr. Jarrett as ‘vain-minded modernists, all resolved to define God as science and to give the theory of evolution the status of quasi-religious dogma’ (Southern Writers, p. 40). He adds, ‘ . . . the Dayton episode dramatized, more ominously than any other event easily could, how difficult it was to be a Southerner in the twentieth century . . . . It was horrifying to see the cause of liberal education argued in a Tennessee court by a famous agnostic lawyer from Illinois named Clarence Darrow. It was still more horrifying—and frightening—to realize that the South was being exposed to large scale public detraction and did not know or much care how to answer’ (Ibid.).
Hopefully Southerners will know and care how to answer this reprise of the Scopes trial that Mr. Jarrett is trying gin up. We can start by learning how the Southern Agrarians reacted to the Scopes trial. John Crowe Ransom became a defender of traditional religion:
‘John Ransom astonished his campus friends at Vanderbilt by openly challenging the modernist position and defending Fundamentalism in religion. I recall a tense scene on the third floor of Calhoun Hall at Vanderbilt during which Ransom, more excited than I had ever seen him, opposed Dr. Edwin Mims in vigorous argument over the issues raised at Dayton. Out of the bold and somewhat grim conviction of such moments, I should guess, grew the exacting study and thought that went into the composition of Ransom’s great book about science and religion, God Without Thunder: An Unorthodox Defense of Orthodoxy’ (Ibid., p. 41).
Prof. Davidson wrote searing lines of poetry warning about the idolatrous worship of science. These are from ‘Fire on Belmont Street’:
Prof. Richard Weaver, a later Southern Agrarian, explained the wisdom, in his essay ‘The Older Religiousness of the South’, of relying on unchanging divine revelation rather than mutable scientific theories. This was not written specifically in response to Dayton as were the afore-mentioned, but it seems likely to have played a role in its creation:
‘Reverence for the “word of God” is a highly important aspect of Southern religious orthodoxy. Modern discussions of fundamentalism usually overlook the fact that belief in a revealed knowledge is the essence of religion in its older sense. The necessity of having some form of knowledge that will stand above the welter of earthly change and bear witness that God is superior to accident led Thomas Aquinas to establish his famous dichotomy, which teaches, briefly, that whereas some things may be learned through investigation and the exercise of reasoning powers, others must be given or “revealed” by God. Man cannot live under a settled dispensation if the postulates of his existence must be continually revised in accordance with knowledge furnished by a nature filled with contingencies. . . . It is therefore imperative in the eyes of the older religionists that man have for guidance in this life a body of knowledge to which the facts of natural discovery are either subordinate or irrelevant. This body is the “rock of ages,” firm in the vast sea of human passion and error. . . If moral philosophy must wait upon natural philosophy, all moral judgments become temporary, relative, and lacking in those sanctions which alone make them effective, as the more perspicacious Southern theologians pointed out’ (The Confederate South, 1865-1910; A Study in the Survival of a Mind and a Culture, LSU Dissertation, 1943, pgs. 89-90. Published by ProQuest LLC, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2015. Now available as The Southern Tradition at Bay.).
This Southern intuition about the instability of science has been proven right once again, in a new analysis of Darwinian evolution no less.
When Prof. Weaver did address the Scopes trial directly, he found that, contrary to Mr. Jarrett, the result of the trial was not a ‘sweeping victory’ for science, free speech, civilization, etc. Rather,
‘ . . . science received, in the popular estimation, a check in the trial but a moral victory, and this only led to more misunderstanding of the province of science in human affairs. The law of the State of Tennessee won a victory which was regarded as pyrrhic because it was generally felt to have made the law and the lawmakers look foolish. This also was a disservice to the common weal’ (The Ethics of Rhetoric, Hermagoras Press, Davis, Cal., 1985, pgs. 53-4).
From the strictly Christian point of view, many holy elders have also appeared since Darwin’s time to warn us about the falseness and the destructive effects of his theory of evolution. We will quote only one, St. Theophan the Recluse (+1894), but these warnings could easily be multiplied:
‘People have suddenly had a thought and have started to write about preserving faith. But they don’t want to block the source of unbelief. This source is the spread of the teaching that the world formed by itself, according to which there is no need for God and the soul does not exist--it’s all atoms and chemistry, nothing more. This is being preached at [university] rostrums and in literature. He who breathes these fumes is inescapably stupefied, and loses his sense and faith. . . . Until these books are destroyed; until professors and literary men are forced not only not to hold to this theory, but even to demolish it—until then—faithlessness will grow and grow, and with it, self-will and the destruction of the present government. That’s the way the French Revolution went’ (Fr. Seraphim Rose, Genesis, Creation, and Early Man: The Orthodox Christian Vision, 2nd edn., Hieromonk Damascene, edr., St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, Cal., 2011, p. 792).
From all of these sources and others, Dixie may draw ideas for how to challenge this renewed attack on the Biblical account of creation that she has consistently defended. In the near term, though, we ought to declare quite forthrightly to Mr. Jarrett that we simply don’t need his book around here at the South. We would be just as pleased if he threw it into the pit of hell where its celebrated atheistic evolution originated. Freedom needs limits to be enjoyed properly: Southerners, by and large, want only the freedoms compatible with life in Christ; Mr. Jarrett wishes for us to accept a more liberal freedom that would make living that kind of life impossible.
And while we’re on this subject, isn’t it about time for the South to form her own news network? With the ease of recording videos and with the growing number of sharp Southern commentators, could we not produce at least a weekly show presenting news stories from the traditional Southern perspective? Fox News obviously has a high degree of disdain for Dixie and her Christian culture – from the South-slandering Victor Davis Hanson to Brett Baier’s book with its slobbering approval of General Grant to the ‘conservative transgender’ commentator Bruce Jenner. The positive ramifications of a Dixie-centric news/commentary channel for the South would likely be many.
The South has not surrendered completely to Yankee/globalist/atheist cultural domination, so one may still find respect for the dead among our people – folks stopping their vehicles on the side of the road when a funeral procession drives past; handing down old sayings, tools, letters, furniture, and other heirlooms to the newer generations; celebrating the Memorial Days of fallen Confederate soldiers, etc.
This continual act of remembering and honoring the foregoing generations helps keep a people from disintegrating and dying. Mr. Mark Atkins expressed this in a recent essay when he said,
It is essential for Dixie’s survival to keep these intergenerational links strong, but more than a mental acknowledgment of that truth is necessary. It must be incarnated, lived, practiced year after year. And there is a day, the Day of Rejoicing, the second Tuesday after Easter, that pulls together these varying strands of individual and collective remembrance of the departed, and unites them in a beautiful way. The Orthodox archpriest Father Artemy Vladimirov describes some of the basic aspects for us:
He speaks further of how this celebration ties the generations together:
Fulfilling this duty of ours, recalling our own Southern mothers and fathers, statesmen, soldiers, explorers, writers, Sunday School teachers, those who died during the Reconstruction occupation, and so forth and praying for them, we will receive a very precious gift – ‘the moral rebirth of the fatherland’:
But if we fail to honor our departed Southern forefathers and mothers, we will become depraved, demonic:
Knowing and loving our Christian ancestors, as Fr Artemy says, will extinguish the fires of Revolution; but denigrating and erasing their memory will most certainly ignite and feed it. Mr Rod Dreher is rather clear on this point:
If we here in Dixie, we who still love her, will unite and celebrate this Day of Rejoicing, we may be assured that the Southern remnant will be strengthened and blessed by God. And we may also find that some of our wayward Southern brothers and sisters, those disappointed and disillusioned by Americanism, communism, BLMism, technological progress, or what have you, will rejoin us in Dixie’s gracious and welcoming Big House, for authentic Christian tradition, shining with the Light of Truth, will attract those to it who are no longer blinded by their devotion to idols.
Just as it did in 1865, Appomattox Day (the day when the South became a conquered colony of DC, a day that should be remembered by Southerners with mourning and fasting and prayer each year) will fall on Palm Sunday in 2023 – April 9th (following the Orthodox Church’s dating; the Protestants and Roman Catholics will be celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on that day). Because of this conjunction of the days, it is fitting to reflect once again on the narrative surrounding this War – its causes, its effects, the people and issues involved.
Unfortunately, prominent conservatives continue to extol President Lincoln as the embodiment of a just and far-sighted political leader. Sohrab Ahmari, for instance, is in agreement with a new documentary ‘that Lincoln is the ideal thinker-practitioner of the American constitutional tradition’. The tradition in Mr. Ahmari’s and his fellow-travelers’ view is that the federal government is justified in trampling the sovereignty of the States to eradicate what it views as moral evils, constitutional limits and other niceties notwithstanding.
The Southern historian Rod O’Barr, who has written some excellent essays at the Abbeville Institute lately, sees lots of problems in the Lincoln-as-crusading-anti-slavery-hero narrative. In reviewing the work of Dr. James McPherson, he writes,
Such revelations make it possible to discern the real cause behind the North’s war against the South:
The conquest of the South by the Yankees stripped the limited government façade from DC, destroyed the decentralizing inertia left from the era of the Articles of Confederation, with the devastating consequences still unfolding and compounding today:
Mr. O’Barr’s work here and elsewhere is generally beyond reproach, but he is wrong in one particular: It was not ‘Lincoln’s war [that] created the very monster the Founders so rightly opposed.’ That monster was birthed in 1787 during the constitutional convention in Philadelphia. The Anti-Federalist writer Federal Farmer explains (via TJ Martinell):
It is clear that what was birthed in Philadelphia and reached its maturity in the violence of Lincoln’s war is precisely a consolidated, and not a federal, government. Mr. O’Barr continues:
Knowing this, the conservative/revivalist/traditionalist political strategy vis-à-vis DC going forward must include two goals. The short-term goal would be what it always has been: Elect the most capable and virtuous conservatives for federal office that we possibly can to limit the carnage of the DC leviathan (along with a liberal use of State and local nullification). But the long-term goal must be to refashion the consolidated government created by the Philadelphia constitution into one that is truly federal, one in which the States wield the bulk of the power again. That will mean no House of Representatives; senators appointed by the governors or State legislatures; no national bank; a federal budget that is dependent at least in part on money supplied voluntarily by each State; no national army (each State raising and maintaining her own); unanimous or near unanimous consent for measures to be passed; and so forth.
And this is assuming that all the States will want to remain together in a union, an assumption that is looking less and less tenable as the cultural divide between States and regions continues to widen.
Abortion-promoting, transgender-friendly, gun-free, carbon-neutral, covid-totalitarian States like California, Oregon, and Washington and States like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama that embrace traditional Christian teachings about marriage and family, child murder, and human sexual duality, maintain some respect for human free will in health care decisions, understand that people need a way to defend themselves from attackers, and can keep a reasonable balance between scientific innovation and care for the creation – why keep States so radically opposed in their beliefs and folkways yoked together?
Maybe we are not far removed, here at the South anyway, from being able to praise our heroes once again without the disapproving scowls and howls of the Woke in DC and the Blue States, praise that they likewise garnered from foreign countries, the poet Philip Stanhope Worsley of England among them, who concluded a poem with these lines:
Burning winds and scalding sands were your food
And shelter in your final days of life.
For your true confession of Christ, exile
Is your reward from the Arian king.
The Sahara, like a giant furnace,
Swallows your Graces, Felix, Cyprian,
And the four-thousand nine-hundred sixty-six
Courageous African Christians
Who voluntarily followed you.
Sharp hunger, parched throats, burnt faces and feet –
No apparent reprieve from your agony.
‘Renounce your faith and live!’ the skeptical
Onlookers shout, not knowing that Christ’s
Presence with His co-sufferers transforms
Earthly pains into a foretaste of Heaven’s joys.
In no way, then, do you grumble against God
Or look back with longing to your cities.
Your great company, instead, sings praises
More fervently to the Sweetest Trinity,
Though your voices crack and hearts are failing.
Many angels led your pure souls upward
Into the Heavenly City, whose light
Is God Himself, while the silent desert dunes
Gratefully received your holy bodies,
Will be their tomb till Resurrection Day.
The tortures of tomorrow’s Christians
Will be much more subtle and refined,
Yet harder to resist – the Enemy
Has learned well the weaknesses of man.
Withal, through union with Christ, Who is God,
Unchanging, unconquerable – today,
And yesterday, and forever, Amen –
Through the gifts bestowed on us by your prayers,
We, too, will endure faithfully to the end,
And receive from Christ a crown of glory
And a throne of honor, which we will offer
Back to Him in thanksgiving and worship,
Throughout the glorious, endless ages.
There is a growing libertarian tendency in the Red States as it regards mind-altering drugs. Many have legalized marijuana in some form, and now Missouri and Oklahoma are considering legalizing psychedelic mushrooms. This is the kind of thing we expect from amoral Leftists (some of whose States and cities have already decriminalized dangerous substances like these), but it is difficult to harmonize with any kind of conservative/traditional ethos that the Red States say they support.
The damage to the human body and mind is appalling enough, as reports from legalized drug utopias like Oregon, that resemble something of a cross between a zombie apocalypse and a mafia documentary, reveal:
But there is a deeper danger lurking here, a danger for the human soul, as these psychedelic drugs open the door for demonic influences to enter the lives of individuals and society as a whole:
There is no good reason to decriminalize drugs that affect human beings in these ways. All the Southern States, the Great Plains States, and all the other Red States and counties need to firmly close the door on these legalizations.
Do we want to be the Garden of the Holy Spirit or the playground of demons? Sometimes the choice really is that simple.
But will State and local government officials do what is in the best interest of their people? Will they show solidarity with the Christian beliefs of so many, past and present, or sell them out (again) for payoffs from corporations and other big donors?
A holy Christian king of the country of Georgia celebrated on 26 January offers a challenge for the South, forces us to make a choice about what kind of people we really want to be. Before we reach that crux, let us see what kind of a life Saint-King David IV the Restorer (+1125 A.D.) lived.
Most notably, he placed the highest priority on the spiritual health of his people:
Despite this abundance of activity on behalf of the Church, King David did not forget about the physical well-being of the Georgian ethnos, nor did he leave the physical protection of them to others. He put himself in danger to drive out the invaders of Georgia:
When overwhelming odds faced him and his army, he did not quail in fear or puff himself up with prideful self-confidence, but placed his hope in God and encouraged his soldiers to do the same. The result was victory over the enemy and unity and rest for his country:
The challenge for us in the South today is: How do we respond to a life like this, to such outstanding heroism and faith? Modernity teaches us to scorn kings and traditional Christianity as irrelevant artefacts of the past, to reject them as retrogressive forces in society. It is precisely here that Dixie finds herself in trouble, as she has tried to live with one foot in the world of tradition and one in the world of modern Progress – in the former we are constrained by the activities of a virtuous hereditary aristocracy, while in the latter it is proclaimed that all government originates from an all-powerful mass of ‘the people’, that everything must be done according to their will. No less than John Randolph of Roanoke warned us throughout his life of the dangers of this schizophrenia, particularly at the Virginia constitutional convention held in 1832 as Mr. Randolph neared the end of his life.
Compromise between the two is impossible. We cannot go only a quarter of the way or half way with the progressive Revolution. We must either master it, or it will destroy us. And one of the surest signs that a people has vanquished the Revolution is its embrace of hereditary Christian monarchy, which is one of the most visible symbols of tradition.
This will likely be difficult for many Southerners to accept right away, as we have been fed a diet of ideological poison for decades now about governments of, by, and for that mysterious, god-like People (e.g., Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address). But as they explore their own past and the history of other Christian countries, we think they will come to the same conclusion.
Traditional Southern life, prior to the War and its upsetting of our established pattern of living, operated largely as a network of small kingdoms (plantations) ruled by a king and queen (the gentleman and his lady). Mississippian Henry Hughes illustrates this for us in his book Treatise on Sociology (1854). In describing the tithing system of Old, pre-Norman Conquest England, he is using it as an aid in explaining the plural executive (the many plantation owners) of the antebellum South (pgs. 266-8, 1968 reprint, Negro UP, New York):
Many notable attainments came along with this system for Dixie, but there was one great flaw: lack of unity. Without a king-father at the summit of the hierarchy to keep order, the brothers of the family will fight with one another (to borrow a phrase from Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson) – and ours did. How tragically we saw this unfold during the War with the Yankees, as political and military leaders here at the South wasted their energy fighting against one another rather than concentrating upon the inbreakers.
That is one advantage of having a Christian king. Related to it is another: The king is katehon, he who withholds the ferocious forces of evil that desire to destroy everything good in the world (see II Thessalonians 2:7). A mighty prophet, pastor, and wonderworker of the 20th century, St John Maximovitch (+1966), said in one of his sermons,
On the opposite side of the coin, contrary to the modern stereotype, kings are often the forces for progress in the true, Christian sense of the word. Returning to St David IV, we find examples of this:
As political structures developed in Christian countries over the course of the centuries, what arose was not an either-or situation, either an absolute monarch or a purely elected government. It was a combination of both elements – hereditary and elected officials. Thus, the return of a king to Dixie would not be radical departure from the norm, but a return to it.
There have been a couple of moments since the deviation of 1776 at which the South approached monarchical restoration, once at the beginning of the War of Northern Aggression and once near its end. During secession and the formation of the Confederate government, there were suggestions of establishing a monarchy of some sort (Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, The Mind of the Master Class, Cambridge UP, New York, 2005, pgs. 704-5); as the war picture became ever more bleak in 1865, the Confederate government on 6 Feb. gave General Lee exceptional powers over the army to try to turn the tides in favor of the South (F. B. Simkins, A History of the South, 3rd edn., Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1965, p. 245).
Today, in Dixie and elsewhere, there remains a great respect for and resonance with Christian monarchy, as evidenced by the attention surrounding Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, the captivation of readers with a character like Aragorn from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and the continued presence of St-King Alfred the Great in the Southern imagination (as we see with Mr Hughes, above) even though 1,000 years have passed since his repose in the Lord.
By re-establishing monarchy in the South, we do not have to jettison all the political wisdom and institutions that have grown up here over the last nearly 250 years; not very much of it, probably. But if we are to be victorious over the satanic forces that have grown frighteningly powerful in recent years, we must use every weapon in the arsenal of tradition that is available to us. And a Christian king is an exceptionally strong weapon.
The allies of evil have said a number of times that ‘America’ has a special meaning for them. The Theosophist H. P. Blavatsky is typical: ‘It is in America that the transformation will take place, and has already silently commenced’ (The Secret Doctrine, 1888, quoted in Mitch Horowitz, Occult America, Bantam Books, New York, 2009, p. 246).
In order to escape the nets of these evil people, to stop and reverse their special American ‘transformation’/Revolution here in Dixie, let us crown a Southern king – a true katehon for the Southern ethnos.
Notes: All quotations related to St David IV are from this web page:
The eyes of Zebulon Lee stared blankly
In the harsh LED light of his apartment,
His red hair hanging loosely about his bearded face,
Alone in Virginian Alexandria.
In the blink of an eye, he found he was not.
Saint John the Baptist:
These lights will make you go blind, you know.
Stranger, I feel that I have long been wandering
In a trackless waste.
You speak truly,
For your father Constantius risked much to find
The precious treasure you so glibly stow
On your countertop.
[Another visitor appears.]
But why should he concern himself with this,
This musty flesh? Look what trouble it has brought
To his life – His father is dead and the house of Lee
Is heaped with loathsome shame. Constantius
Believed in the power of a dead man’s hand
To unify his people, but found himself
Mocked and murdered by secret police.
What is your advice for the man, then, Herod?
Herod, yes. What course should he take?
There is only one sure path to power
In this world: Take it by force! Constantius,
Like Robert before him, wouldn’t stain his sword
With his enemies’ blood. Those they opposed
Remain as rulers, themselves now in ignominy.
Avenge them, pitiful young Lee, sitting weakly
On the floor! Take up sword and gun, knife and poison,
Kill those who humiliated your kinsmen,
And be the strong ruler they refused to be!
You speak with boldness, sir, as one who knows,
Rather than who shares a speculation.
But I, too, have read a little history,
And know what end awaits a governor
Whose rule is founded on seas of blood. You slew
Wife and sons, dozens of the Sanhedrin,
And fourteen-thousand young innocent babes,
That you might cling a little more securely
To your sweet power. What did it avail?
You died anyway, and mis’rably, hated by all.
Herod [Spits at Zebulon.]:
And who are you – Good King Alfred, reborn?
Going to lead the Southern people with prayers
And baubles to victory over the Northmen
From your little hovel, your own sad Athelney?
Who I am, or shall be, is no concern
Of yours. Be gone!
A curse fall upon you!
Zebulon [To St. John]:
You have been mighty quiet throughout, Stranger.
Evil has a way of defeating itself,
And yet at other times it persists.
For two hundred years, my people have had to wear
The Yankee yoke. My father believed the hand
Of St. Andrew would safeguard us, but he died,
And we are again unfree. Was his faith misplaced?
No Mr. Lee, not misplaced, simply unfulfilled.
The Adversary cannot thwart the will of God,
Only delay it. Now that you have shown yourself
Faithful, you must finish what your forefathers began.
A gathering of many thousands will soon take place
In the federal city before Lincoln’s temple
To stir up nationalistic fervor,
To strengthen the union that was dead
And yet lives again. Take with you St. Andrew’s relic,
Stand before the tyrant, asking God for help,
And you will see deliverance for your people.
Only know that fierce persecution awaits you,
If you go. But even so, the Gracious Lord
Will not abandon you.
Nor will I Him.
But tell me, Friend, ere I go, who you are.
I think we have met before, haven’t we?
When you go to give thanks to God after witnessing
His mighty acts, then you will know who speaks with you.
Zebulon, momentarily stunned to stillness
By this and all the day’s events, recollected himself
Quickly and prepared to go. Upon his chest
He strapped the reliquary of St. Andrew’s hand,
The bands forming the familiar Southern cross.
He found the words of St. John true: Beaten
By demons, stabbed by thieves, abused by soldiers
As he traveled to Lincoln’s shrine, the Lord Jesus
Sent an angel to heal him every time.
Now standing at the front of the crowd, blue eyes
Sparkling, he held aloft the holy hand,
And cried aloud, ‘Now, Lord, visit the South
With Your goodness through the prayers of St. Andrew,
St. Alfred, and all our holy intercessors!’
The words died away amidst many loud voices;
The words drifted away, but the dark clouds clabbered.
Terrible winds tore at the Memorial –
Bolt after bolt of lightning struck and smashed it –
Hailstones covered the rubble like an icy grave.
The sheltering crowds, in disbelief, hearkened
To the voice of Zebulon Lee: ‘The union
We have known will be no more. Go ye home,
And let your native States and regions be your countries
From this time onward.’ And this they freely did.
The Southern States, united under the headship
Of Zebulon Lee, bearer of the sacred relic,
Formed pacts of friendship with Christian countries
Across the world – both smaller folk like Serbia
And Hungary and great powers, Brazil
And Russia, who helped them stand upon their feet.
And it was decreed that no one would hold
Dixie’s high executive command who was unworthy
To be the keeper of St. Andrew’s mighty hand.
On the day appointed for a solemn thanksgiving
To God for His kindness towards the South,
All entered the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
In the former District of Columbia,
Since returned to Maryland, now proudly
And righty bearing the name of Washington City.
As the procession of Zebulon Lee entered,
There, on the right side of the icon of the Savior,
Was the face of the Stranger, the Friend, who had appeared
To him so many days ago: the icon
Of St. John himself! With overflowing
Gratitude, without hesitation, he bowed low
Before him and kissed the image of that holy man,
Greatest born of woman, true in ev’ry age,
And led the congregation in a song of praise
To the great benefactor of the Southern land.
The End, and Glory to God!
This poem is the conclusion to Constantius Lee, which you can read here.
Walt Garlington is a chemical engineer turned writer (and, when able, a planter). He makes his home in Louisiana and is editor of the 'Confiteri: A Southern Perspective' web site.