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"God Save Our Noble Union"

The Staunton Spectator was a Whig newspaper that opposed Virginia's secession from the Union. Despite their state's subsequent status as the seat of the Confederacy, Virginians, like many residents of the Upper South, remained divided over the issue of secession in the months after South Carolina and the other states of the Deep South declared the formation of the Confederate States of America. In the 1861 election, in which Lincoln was elected President, Virginia's electoral votes had gone to John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party, which opposed secession. This poem, published in the Spectator on January 22, 1861, sings the praises of the "noble Union" and ardently urges that it be preserved, despite the "signs of coming storms."

   God Save Our Noble Union


    It came to us in darkness

    It came to us through blood;

    It shone out like the "Promise

    Of God" upon the flood.

    A Beacon--it has served us

    With true, unerring flame,

    And cast a blaze of glory

    Upon our nation's name!

    God save our noble Union!


    'Twas left us by our fathers,

    Those souls of priceless worth--

    The noblest types of manhood

    That ever walked the earth.

    'Twas bought with fearful struggles,

    By sacrifice sublime,

    And stands a proud momento

    For all the coming time--

    God save the noble Union!


    Our land a waste of nature,

    Where beast and savage strayed;

    Its wealth of lakes and rivers

    Unlocked by keys of trade;

    Then sunlike rose the Union--

    A terror to our foes--

    And lo! this "waste of nature"

    Now "blossoms as the rose!"

    God save our noble Union!


    Where earth lay hid for ages

    In deep primeval gloom,

    Behold a boundless garden--

    A continent in bloom!

    With iron bands of railroads,

    Electric tongues of wire,

    And energies within us

    Which time shall never tire--

    God save the noble Union!


    But now upon our heaven

    Are signs of coming storms;

    And dark unholy passions

    Unfold their hideous forms.

    The bravest hearts among us

    Are filled with doubt and fear;

    While sounds of horrid discord

    Are grating on our ear--

    God save the noble Union!


    The hallowed flag that bore us

    So proudly through the wars--

    Is there a hand would sever

    Its sisterhood of stars!

    Great God! can we so blindly

    Cast all Thy gifts away?

    Or throbs there in this nation

    One heart that will not pray--

    God save our noble Union!

Source | The (Staunton, Va.) Spectator, 22 January 1861, from "The Valley of the Shadow," The Virginia Center for Digital History,
Creator | The Staunton Spectator
Item Type | Fiction/Poetry
Cite This document | The Staunton Spectator, “"God Save Our Noble Union",” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed December 5, 2023,

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