Guns and love

  A 19th Century view of the main building at the Springfield Arsenal (aka Armory), founded in 1777 and until its closing by the Pentagon, in 1868, the single most important facility for making firearms in America. It was very important in the Union victory in the Civil War, and in the 19th Century was the site of very important technology and engineering advances in the Industrial Revolution. The site is now a National Historic Site, the only one in western Massachusetts. The city became famous for the arsenal but soon will be more famous for a new and glitzy casino. Oh yes, Dr. Seuss was born in Springfield.

A 19th Century view of the main building at the Springfield Arsenal (aka Armory), founded in 1777 and until its closing by the Pentagon, in 1868, the single most important facility for making firearms in America. It was very important in the Union victory in the Civil War, and in the 19th Century was the site of very important technology and engineering advances in the Industrial Revolution. The site is now a National Historic Site, the only one in western Massachusetts. The city became famous for the arsenal but soon will be more famous for a new and glitzy casino. Oh yes, Dr. Seuss was born in Springfield.

"This is the Arsenal {aka Armory}. From floor to ceiling, 

      Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms; 

But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing 

      Startles the villages with strange alarms. 

 

Ah! what a sound will rise, how wild and dreary, 

      When the death-angel touches those swift keys! 

What loud lament and dismal Miserere 

      Will mingle with their awful symphonies! 

 

I hear even now the infinite fierce chorus, 

      The cries of agony, the endless groan, 

Which, through the ages that have gone before us, 

      In long reverberations reach our own. 

 

On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer, 

      Through Cimbric forest roars the Norseman's song, 

And loud, amid the universal clamor, 

      O'er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong. 

 

I hear the Florentine, who from his palace 

      Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din, 

And Aztec priests upon their teocallis 

      Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin; 

 

The tumult of each sacked and burning village; 

      The shout that every prayer for mercy drowns; 

The soldiers' revels in the midst of pillage; 

      The wail of famine in beleaguered towns; 

 

The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched asunder, 

      The rattling musketry, the clashing blade; 

And ever and anon, in tones of thunder 

      The diapason of the cannonade. 

 

Is it, O man, with such discordant noises, 

      With such accursed instruments as these, 

Thou drownest Nature's sweet and kindly voices, 

      And jarrest the celestial harmonies? 

 

Were half the power, that fills the world with terror, 

      Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts, 

Given to redeem the human mind from error, 

      There were no need of arsenals or forts: 

 

The warrior's name would be a name abhorred! 

      And every nation, that should lift again 

Its hand against a brother, on its forehead 

      Would wear forevermore the curse of Cain! 

 

Down the dark future, through long generations, 

      The echoing sounds grow fainter and then cease; 

And like a bell, with solemn, sweet vibrations, 

      I hear once more the voice of Christ say, "Peace!" 

 

Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals 

      The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies! 

But beautiful as songs of the immortals, 

      The holy melodies of love arise.''

-- "The Arsenal at Springfield,'' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882).

  View of the Water Shops, in Springfield,  in 2014. The Water Shops served as the epicenter for Springfield Armory firearms production. 

View of the Water Shops, in Springfield,  in 2014. The Water Shops served as the epicenter for Springfield Armory firearms production.