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Historical Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Warning from the Gold Mine by Hannah Flagg Gould
  2. The Soldier of the Rhine by Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton
  3. A Girl of Pompeii by Edward Sandford Martin
  4. The Pilgrim's Vision by Oliver Wendell Holmes
  5. Perry's Victory on Lake Erie by James Gates Percival
  6. On the Launching of the Frigate Constitution by Philip Freneau
  7. Old Ironsides by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  8. On Boston Common by Anonymous
  9. Real Estate by Anonymous
  10. On the Death of Dr. Benjamin Franklin by Philip Freneau
  11. On the Prairie by Herbert Bates
  12. The Lady of Roseneck by Anonymous
  13. The Pilgrim Fathers by Ralph H. Shaw
  14. The Battle of Blenheim by Robert Southey
  15. Battle of Waterloo by Byron
  16. The Downfall of Poland by Thomas Campbell
  17. Hobson's Choice by Anonymous
  18. Boston by Anonymous
  19. Napoleon at Rest by John Pierpont
  20. Henry V. to His Troops by William Shakespeare
  21. Arnold von Winkleried by James Montgomery
  1. Marco Bozzaris by Fitz-Greene Halleck
  2. The Church Scene from Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  3. Song of the Greek Bard by George Gordon, Lord Byron
  4. Lochiel's Warning by Thomas Campbell
  5. Rienzi's Address to the Romans by Mary Russell Mitford
  6. I. by Christopher Pearse Cranch
  7. XII. The Ocean Steamer by Christopher Pearse Cranch
  8. XIII. The Locomotive by Christopher Pearse Cranch
  9. XIV. The Telegraph and Telephone by Christopher Pearse Cranch
  10. XV. The Photograph by Christopher Pearse Cranch
  11. XVI. The Spectroscope by Christopher Pearse Cranch
  12. XVII. The Microphone by Christopher Pearse Cranch
  13. The Dreamers by Bliss Carman
  14. The Moral of History by John Jay Chapman
  15. Roma Aeterna by Adelaide Crapsey
  16. The Philosopher With His Kite by Hannah Flagg Gould
  17. The Pioneers by Hannah Flagg Gould
  18. Paul Jones by John Charles McNeill
  19. The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
  20. Ponce De Leon by Edith M. Thomas
  21. Pocahontas by William Makepeace Thackeray
  22. Pocahontas by George Pope Morris
  23. Song of the Pilgrims by Thomas Cogswell Upham
  24. The Mayflower by Erastus Wolcott Ellsworth
  25. The Peace Message by Burton Egbert Stevenson
  26. The Pilgrim Fathers by William Wordsworth
  27. The Founding of Plymouth by William Bradford
  28. Our Country by Julia Ward Howe
  29. Roger Williams by Hezekiah Butterworth
  30. God Makes a Path by Roger Williams
  31. The Minutemen of Northboro by Wallace Rice
  32. The Green Mountain Boys by William Cullen Bryant
  33. Across the Deleware by Will Carleton
  34. Molly Pitcher by Kate Brownlee Sherwood
  35. Molly Pitcher by Laura E. Richards
  36. News from Yorktown by Lewis Worthington Smith
  37. England and America in 1782 by Alfred Tennyson
  38. Horatius at the Bridge by Thomas B. Macaulay
  39. The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  1. The Line-Gang

    by Robert Frost

    Here come the line-gang pioneering by.
    They throw a forest down less cut than broken.
    They plant dead trees for living, and the dead
    They string together with a living thread.
    They string an instrument against the sky
    Wherein words whether beaten out or spoken
    Will run as hushed as when they were a thought.
    But in no hush they string it: they go past
    With shouts afar to pull the cable taut,
    To hold it hard until they make it fast,
    To ease away—they have it. With a laugh,
    An oath of towns that set the wild at naught
    They bring the telephone and telegraph.

  2. Warning from the Gold Mine

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Ye who rend my bed of earth,
    Mark me! from my lowly birth,
    Ye to light in me will bring
    What will rise to be your king!
    I shall rule with tyrant sway,
    Till ye rue my natal day!
    High and low my power shall own,
    For I'll make the world my throne!

    And my worshippers shall be
    Martyrs, dupes, or slaves to me.
    Love and friendship, on the way
    To their idol, they will slay.
    Conscience—I will still her cry;
    Truth for me shall bleed and die!
    I will prove a chain to bind
    Down to earth the immortal mind!

    Though ye try me by the fire,
    This will only heat my ire.
    Though my form ye oft may change,
    'T will but give me wider range!
    For my sake the poor shall feel
    On his face, his neighbour's heel.
    Then I'll turn, and, taking wing,
    Leave with avarice but a sting!

    I will be a spur to crime,
    Ye shall sell your peace through time;
    And a long eternity
    Of remorse shall come, for me!
    Now I'm here without defence;
    But, if once I'm taken hence,
    Man shall eat the bitter fruit
    Springing from a golden root!

  3. The Soldier of the Rhine

    Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton (b. 1808, d. 1877) was the grand-daughter of Richard Brinsley Sheridan. She wrote verses and plays at a very early age. "The Sorrows of Rosalie," published in 1829, was written before she was seventeen years old. In 1827 she was married to the Hon. George Chapple Norton. The marriage was an unhappy one, and they were divorced in 1836. Her principal works are "The Undying One," "The Dream, and Other Poems," "The Child of the Islands," "Stuart of Dunleith, a Romance," and "English Laws for English Women of the 19th Century." She contributed extensively to the magazines and other periodicals.

    A soldier of the Legion lay dying in Algiers,
    There was lack of woman's nursing, there was dearth of woman's tears;
    But a comrade stood beside him, while his lifeblood ebbed away,
    And bent, with pitying glances, to hear what he might say.
    The dying soldier faltered, as he took that comrade's hand,
    And he said: "I nevermore shall see my own, my native land;
    Take a message and a token to some distant friends of mine,
    For I was born at Bingen,—at Bingen on the Rhine.

    "Tell my brothers and companions, when they meet and crowd around
    To hear my mournful story in the pleasant vineyard ground,
    That we fought the battle bravely, and when the day was done,
    Full many a corse lay ghastly pale beneath the setting sun;
    And, 'mid the dead and dying, were some grown old in wars,—
    The death wound on their gallant breasts, the last of many scars;
    But some were young, and suddenly beheld life's morn decline,—
    And one had come from Bingen,—fair Bingen on the Rhine.

    "Tell my mother that her other sons shall comfort her old age,
    For I was aye a truant bird, that thought his home a cage.
    For my father was a soldier, and, even when a child,
    My heart leaped forth to hear him tell of struggles fierce and wild;
    And when he died, and left us to divide his scanty hoard,
    I let them take whate'er they would, but kept my father's sword;
    And with boyish love I hung it where the bright light used to shine,
    On the cottage wall at Bingen,—calm Bingen on the Rhine.

    "Tell my sister not to weep for me, and sob with drooping head,
    When the troops come marching home again, with glad and gallant tread,
    But to look upon them proudly, with a calm and steadfast eye,
    For her brother was a soldier, too, and not afraid to die;
    And if a comrade seek her love, I ask her in my name
    To listen to him kindly, without regret or shame,
    And to hang the old sword in its place (my father's sword and mine),
    For the honor of old Bingen,—dear Bingen on the Rhine.

    "There's another,—not a sister; in the happy days gone by,
    You'd have known her by the merriment that sparkled in her eye;
    Too innocent for coquetry,—too fond for idle scorning,—
    O friend! I fear the lightest heart makes sometimes heaviest mourning!
    Tell her the last night of my life—(for, ere the moon be risen,
    My body will be out of pain, my soul be out of prison),
    I dreamed I stood with her, and saw the yellow sunlight shine
    On the vine-clad hills of Bingen,—fair Bingen on the Rhine.

    "I saw the blue Rhine sweep along: I heard, or seemed to hear,
    The German songs we used to sing, in chorus sweet and clear;
    And down the pleasant river, and up the slanting hill,
    The echoing chorus sounded, through the evening calm and still;
    And her glad blue eyes were on me, as we passed, with friendly talk,
    Down many a path beloved of yore, and well-remembered walk;
    And her little hand lay lightly, confidingly in mine,—
    But we'll meet no more at Bingen,—loved Bingen all the Rhine."

    His trembling voice grew faint and hoarse; his grasp was childish weak,
    His eyes put on a dying look,—he sighed and ceased to speak.
    His comrade bent to lift him, but the spark of life had fled,—
    The soldier of the Legion in a foreign land was dead!
    And the soft moon rose up slowly, and calmly she looked down
    On the red sand of the battlefield, with bloody corses strewn;
    Yes, calmly on that dreadful scene, her pale light seemed to shine,
    As it shone on distant Bingen,—fair Bingen on the Rhine.

  4. A Girl of Pompeii

    by Edward Sandford Martin

    A public haunt they found her in:
    She lay asleep, a lovely child;
    The only thing left undefiled
    Where all things else bore taint of sin.

    Her supple outlines fixed in clay
    The universal law suspend,
    And turn Time's chariot back, and blend
    A thousand years with yesterday.

    A sinless touch, austere yet warm,
    Around her girlish figure pressed,
    Caught the sweet imprint of her breast,
    And held her, surely clasped, from harm.

    Truer than work of sculptor's art
    Comes this dear maid of long ago,
    Sheltered from woeful chance, to show
    A spirit's lovely counterpart,

    And bid mistrustful men be sure
    That form shall fate of flesh escape,
    And, quit of earth's corruptions, shape
    Itself, imperishably pure.

  5. The Pilgrim's Vision

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    In the hour of twilight shadows
    The Pilgrim sire looked out;
    He thought of the 'bloudy Salvages'
    That lurked all round about,
    Of Wituwamet's pictured knife
    And Pecksuot's whooping shout;
    For the baby's limbs were feeble,
    Though his father's arms were stout.
    ...

    His home was a freezing cabin,
    Too bare for the hungry rat;
    Its roof was thatched with ragged grass,
    And bald enough of that;
    The hole that served for casement
    Was glazed with an ancient hat,
    And the ice was gently thawing
    From the log whereon he sat.

    Along the dreary landscape
    His eyes went to and fro,

    The trees all clad in icicles,
    The streams that did not flow;
    A sudden thought flashed o'er him,-
    A dream of long ago,-
    He smote his leathern jerkin,
    And murmured, 'Even so!'

    "Come hither, God-be-Glorified,
    And sit upon my knee;
    Behold the dream unfolding,
    Whereof I spake to thee
    By the winter's hearth in Leyden
    And on the stormy sea.
    True is the dream's beginning,-
    So may its ending be!

    "I saw in the naked forest
    Our scattered remnant cast,
    A screen of shivering branches
    Between them and the blast;
    The snow was falling round them,
    The dying fell as fast;
    I looked to see them perish,
    When lo, the vision passed.

    "Again mine eyes were opened;-
    The feeble had waxed strong,
    The babes had grown to sturdy men,
    The remnant was a throng;
    By shadowed lake and winding stream,
    And all the shores along,
    The howling demons quaked to hear
    The Christian's godly song.

    "They slept, the village fathers,
    By river, lake, and shore,
    When far adown the steep of Time
    The vision rose once more
    I saw along the winter snow
    A spectral column pour,
    And high above their broken ranks
    A tattered flag they bore.

    "Their Leader rode before them,
    Of bearing calm and high,
    The light of Heaven's own kindling
    Throned in his awful eye;
    These were a Nation's champions
    Her dread appeal to try.
    God for the right! I faltered,
    And lo, the train passed by.

    "Once more;-the strife is ended,
    The solemn issue tried,
    The Lord of Hosts, his mighty arm
    Has helped our Israel's side;
    Gray stone and grassy hillock
    Tell where our martyrs died,
    But peaceful smiles the harvest,
    And stainless flows the tide.

    "A crash, as when some swollen cloud
    Cracks o'er the tangled trees
    With side to side, and spar to spar,
    Whose smoking decks are these?
    I know Saint George's blood-red cross,
    Thou Mistress of the Seas,
    But what is she whose streaming bars
    Roll out before the breeze?

    "Ah, well her iron ribs are knit,
    Whose thunders strive to quell
    The bellowing throats, the blazing lips,
    That pealed the Armada's knell!
    The mist was cleared,-a wreath of stars
    Rose o'er the crimsoned swell,
    And, wavering from its haughty peak,
    The cross of England fell!

    "O trembling Faith! though dark the morn,
    A heavenly torch is thine;
    While feebler races melt away,
    And paler orbs decline,
    Still shall the fiery pillar's ray
    Along thy pathway shine,
    To light the chosen tribe that sought
    This Western Palestine.

    "I see the living tide roll on;
    It crowns with flaming towers
    The icy capes of Labrador,
    The Spaniard's 'land of flowers'!
    It streams beyond the splintered ridge
    That parts the northern showers;
    From eastern rock to sunset wave
    The Continent is ours!'

    He ceased, the grim old soldier-saint,
    Then softly bent to cheer
    The Pilgrim-child, whose wasting face
    Was meekly turned to hear;
    And drew his toil-worn sleeve across
    To brush the manly tear
    From cheeks that never changed in woe,
    And never blanched in fear.

    The weary Pilgrim slumbers,
    His resting-place unknown;
    His hands were crossed, his lips were closed,
    The dust was o'er him strown;
    The drifting soil, the mouldering leaf,
    Along the sod were blown;
    His mound has melted into earth,
    His memory lives alone.

    So let it live unfading,
    The memory of the dead,
    Long as the pale anemone
    Springs where their tears were shed,
    Or, raining in the summer's wind
    In flakes of burning red,
    The wild rose sprinkles with its leaves
    The turf where once they bled!

    Yea, when the frowning bulwarks
    That guard this holy strand
    Have sunk beneath the trampling surge
    In beds of sparkling sand,
    While in the waste of ocean
    One hoary rock shall stand,
    Be this its latest legend,-
    HERE WAS THE PILGRIM'S LAND!

  6. Perry's Victory on Lake Erie

    by James Gates Percival

    Bright was the morn,—the waveless bay
    Shone like a mirror to the sun;
    'Mid greenwood shades and meadows gay,
    The matin birds their lays begun:
    While swelling o'er the gloomy wood
    Was heard the faintly-echoed roar,—
    The dashing of the foaming flood,
    That beat on Erie's distant shore.

    The tawny wanderer of the wild
    Paddled his painted birch canoe,
    And, where the wave serenely smiled,
    Swift as the darting falcon, flew;
    He rowed along that peaceful bay,
    And glanced its polished surface o'er,
    Listening the billow far away,
    That rolled on Erie's lonely shore.

    What sounds awake my slumbering ear,
    What echoes o'er the waters come?
    It is the morning gun I hear,
    The rolling of the distant drum.
    Far o'er the bright illumined wave
    I mark the flash,—I hear the roar,
    That calls from sleep the slumbering brave,
    To fight on Erie's lonely shore.

    See how the starry banner floats,
    And sparkles in the morning ray:
    While sweetly swell the fife's gay notes
    In echoes o'er the gleaming bay:
    Flash follows flash, as through yon fleet
    Columbia's cannons loudly roar,
    And valiant tars the battle greet,
    That storms on Erie's echoing shore

    O, who can tell what deeds were done,
    When Britain's cross, on yonder wave,
    Sunk 'neath Columbia's dazzling sun,
    And met in Erie's flood its grave?
    Who tell the triumphs of that day,
    When, smiling at the cannon's roar,
    Our hero, 'mid the bloody fray,
    Conquered on Erie's echoing shore.

    Though many a wounded bosom bleeds
    For sire, for son, for lover dear,
    Yet Sorrow smiles amid her weeds,—
    Affliction dries her tender tear;
    Oh! she exclaims, with glowing pride,
    With ardent thoughts that wildly soar,
    My sire, my son, my lover died,
    Conquering on Erie's bloody shore.

    Long shall my country bless that day,
    When soared our Eagle to the skies;
    Long, long in triumph's bright array,
    That victory shall proudly rise:
    And when our country's lights are gone,
    And all its proudest days are o'er,
    How will her fading courage dawn,
    To think on Erie's bloody shore!

  7. On the Launching of the Frigate Constitution

    by Philip Freneau

    The builders had the ship prepared,
    And near her stood a triple guard,
    For fear of secret foes.
    Some, tiptoe stood to see her start,
    And would have said, with all their heart,
    In raptures, there she goes!

    The stubborn ship, do what they could,
    Convinced them, she was made of wood
    Though plann'd with art supreme;
    All art, all force the ship defy'd—
    Nor brilliant day, nor top of tide
    Could urge her to the stream.

    Some, with their airs aristocratic,
    And some with honors diplomatic,
    Advanced to see the show:
    In vain the builder to her call'd—
    In vain the shipwrights pull'd and haul'd—
    She could not—would not go.

    Each anti-federal, with a smile
    Observed the yet unfloating pile
    As if he meant to say,
    Builder, no doubt, you know your trade,
    A constitution you have made
    But should her ways have better laid.

    Well now to heave the ship afloat,
    To move from this unlucky spot,
    Take our advice, and give them soon,
    What should have long ago been done,
    Amendments—You Know What.

  8. Old Ironsides

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

    Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
    Long has it waved on high,
    And many an eye has danced to see
    That banner in the sky;
    Beneath it rung the battle shout,
    And burst the cannon’s roar;—
    The meteor of the ocean air
    Shall sweep the clouds no more!

    Her deck, once red with heroes’ blood
    Where knelt the vanquished foe,
    When winds were hurrying o’er the flood
    And waves were white below,
    No more shall feel the victor’s tread,
    Or know the conquered knee;—
    The harpies of the shore shall pluck
    The eagle of the sea!

    O, better that her shattered hulk
    Should sink beneath the wave;
    Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
    And there should be her grave;
    Nail to the mast her holy flag,
    Set every thread-bare sail,
    And give her to the god of storms,—
    The lightning and the gale!

  9. On Boston Common

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Beneath the Boston Common elms
    A careless crowd invades
    But I, within those shadowy realms
    Consort with noble shades

    I walk with Winthrop soul of worth
    The governor pioneer
    I show him men from all the earth
    Their motley speech we hear

    I meet Sam Adams now and then
    And Paul Revere the bold
    John Hancock of the mighty pen
    The Minute Men of old

    They ask if Faneuil Hall remains
    And echoes as of yore
    To patriot shouts, to bursting chains
    "Freedom for evermore!"

    I stand when ranged the British tent
    Where rowed their boats away
    For Lexington and Concord bent
    On that historic day

    I see the shattered troops return
    And wonder as I gaze
    If patriot hearts as hotly burn
    As in those ancient days

    And once I met a splendid three
    Charles Sumner, man of state
    Phillips, the Voice of Liberty
    And Garrison the Great

    "Ah, Boston, Freedom's home," they sighed
    "Still harbors many a slave,--
    The slaves of passion, greed, and pride;
    And who will seek and save?"

    Thus, as that sacred soil I tread,
    With mighty memories rife,
    The spirit of the heroes dead
    Calls me to kindred life!

  10. Real Estate

    by Anonymous

    Its leaves are bright with the cannon shine,
    Its shadow is dark with trembling fears,
    Its roots reach down to the deadly mine,
    It is watered with widows' tears.

    Its blood-red petals are heating lives,
    Anguish-dewed where the blossom parts;
    Its thorns are the thrusts of angry knives
    Death-deep into human hearts.

    Bow fair it gleams in the lying light,
    In the flush of the glittering sun how fair!
    But tarry not by the gallant sight,
    For the breath of the tomb is there.

  11. On the Death of Dr. Benjamin Franklin

    by Philip Freneau

    Thus, some tall tree that long hath stood
    The glory of its native wood,
    By storms destroyed, or length of years,
    Demands the tribute of our tears.

    The pile, that took long time to raise,
    To dust returns by slow decays:
    But, when its destined years are o'er,
    We must regret the loss the more.

    So long accustomed to your aid,
    The world laments your exit made;
    So long befriended by your art,
    Philosopher, 'tis hard to part!--

    When monarchs tumble to the ground,
    Successors easily are found:
    But, matchless FRANKLIN ! what a few
    Can hope to rival such as YOU,
    Who seized from kings their sceptered pride,
    And turned the lightning darts aside.

  12. On the Prairie

    by Herbert Bates

    Bare, low, tawny hills
    With bluer heights beyond,
    And the air is sweet with spring,
    But when will the earth respond?

    Prairie that Tolls for leagues,
    Dusky and golden-pale,
    Like a stirless sea of waves,
    Unbroken by ship or sail.

    The hollows are dark with brush,
    And black with the wash of showers,
    And ragged with bleaching wreck
    Of the ranks of the tall sunflowers.

    No cloud in the blue, no stir
    Save the shrill of the wind in the grass,
    And the meadow-lark's note, and the call
    Of the wind-borne crows that pass.

    Bare, low, tawny hills,
    With bluer heights beyond,
    And the air is sweet with spring,
    But when will the earth respond?

  13. The Lady of Roseneck

    by Anonymous

    If any one cares proof that the tody of Roseneck tRos en eck pleasel did actually do tA D I499l the exploit herein set forth may he seen sedately written in The Historians History of the World Vol XV page 6I3 l

    It's a merry song of the blustering days when troopers were rough and raw,
    And armies knew naught of the hindering ways of international law,
    For 'twas Ho! to the sword! and Ho! to the spear! and Up, my lads, and away!
    And woe to the foe that came blundering near the glittering, gallant array,
    And there wasn't a chemist to cut them in half with explosives out of a book,
    And there wasn't a wireless telegraph to tell the road that they took,
    And the cannon they trundled were aimed by men and not by a patented rack,
    And they didn't go up in balloons to ken the enemy's bivouac!
    And 'twas hand to hand in a decent style, with a spirit light and free;
    For a cannon that carried half a mile was a wonderful thing to see!

    The Swiss were abroad in those gallant days, and looking for German gore.
    And many a hamlet they left ablaze, and castles--a dozen or more.
    But one of the castles gave them pause, a castle lordly and fair,
    And stoutly they pressed the siege because their bitterest foe was there.
    Yes there was the Baron of Roseneck whom the Swiss had heen seeking long;
    And ah, might the onset triumphantly wreck that enemy hold and strong!
    So they battered and hammered and shouted and blazed in a style the reverse of meek,
    And the very Old Henry persistently raised for the greater part of a week,
    Till at last—at—last it was perfectly plain, and the boldest man could see
    That further resistance was wholly vain, and foolish as foolish could be.
    So the Germans asked for the victors' terms, and waited in anxious dread
    While the Swiss passed doom on the conquered worms, and these were the words they said:
    "You may all go free, if you leave straightway; and, lest you should wholly lack,
    As much of your goods you may carry away as you can, upon your back.
    But the Baron of Roseneck alone is barred from our mercy free;
    By the forfeit of life must he atone for all his iniquity."

    Ah, then in the castle was tumult of mind, and puzzles a sage to tax;
    Just what of their assets to leave behind, and what to put on their backs,
    This sliver goblet? this doublet rare? this dress that has gowned a bride?
    And the more they debate and discuss and compare, the more they cannot decide.
    But the trumpet sounds an impatient blast for the victors will not wait long.
    And forth from the castle gate at last there pours a reluctant throng.
    Matron and maid and scullion and knight go stumbling along the road,
    Each struggling away, with main and might beneath a mountainous load.
    The Swiss look on at the cavalcade, and many a man is grim
    A-thinking how much of that wealth had made a suitable pack for him.
    But now, but now, at the end of all, who staggers across the moat,
    Who with the face where the roses fall, and who with the snowy throat?
    Sweet is the face that the roses deck, and glorious is her pack,
    For it is the Lady of Roseneck, with the Baron upon her back!
    No gems of all her glittering store, no laces or silks has she:
    She claims the Baron, nor asks for more; the whole of her goods is he!

    Then loudly shouted the gallant Swiss applauding the wifely deed,
    And they pressed the lady's hand to kiss, and granted the well-earned meed.
    "Go free!" they shouted "and not alone but take the Baron as well,
    And carry with you whatever you own to grace the form of a belle."
    The Baron dismounted, and quickly the two, their backs weighed wealthily down,
    The cheering ranks of the Swiss passed through, nor met a threatening frown;
    And many a gallant turned his head to watch them trudging away,
    And many a trooper sighing said on many an after day.
    "Oh, would that the fates to me assigned,— oh, would that I had, alack!
    A wife so brave, and a wife so kind, and a wife with such a back!"

  14. The Pilgrim Fathers

    by Ralph H. Shaw

    On the Tercentenary of Their Landing

    Some walk in Plymouth, seeing but unseen;
    Some walk in Plymouth, hearing but unheard;
    They are the Pilgrim Fathers, and I ween
    Would hold us, on this great day, with a word
    By their peculiar retrospect illumed,
    And their peculiar bond intensified:
    Not with their bodies were their minds entombed,
    Nor did they cease to love because they died.

    They hailed this coast, three hundred years ago,
    In all its wildness, all its savagery;
    They greeted it--its bleak rocks, and its snow,
    Harassed by winds from off the perilous sea.
    Again they land; again they hew the wood;
    Again erect the log-hut, build the street;
    Again they feel their first solicitude
    And pray their first prayer in their strange retreat.

    They walk in Plymouth, thoughtfuller than we
    Of what it was and is and may become;
    And if they could address us, theirs would be
    The eloquence to which men listen dumb.
    They would impress us at the storied rock;
    They would impress us on the sacred hill;
    The gates of freedom came they to unlock,
    And with their bones its earliest shrine to fill.

    O may we have their conscieness of God,
    And walk with them, in Plymouth, on this day!
    "'Tis holy ground, the soil where first they trod!"
    'Tis holy ground, where first they knelt to pray!
    O may its inspiration be desire
    To give our hearts the righteousness of theirs,
    And keep alive the consecrated fire
    That, by them lighted, freedom's altar bears!

  15. The Battle of Blenheim

    Robert Southey (b. 1774, d. 1843) was born in Bristol, England. He entered Balliol College, Oxford, in 1793. In 1804 he established himself permanently at Greta Hall, near Keswick, Cumberland, in the "Lake Country," where he enjoyed the friendship and society of Wordsworth and Coleridge, other poets of the "Lake School." He was appointed poet laureate in 1813, and received a pension of 300 Pounds a year from the government in 1835. Mr. Southey was a voluminous writer in both prose and verse. As a poet, he can not be placed in the first rank, although some of his minor poems are very happy in thought and expression. Among his most noted poetical works are "Joan of Arc," "Thalaba the Destroyer," "Madoc," "Roderick," and the "Curse of Kehama," NOTES.—The Battle of Blenheim, in the "War of the Spanish Succession," was fought August 13, 1704, near Blenheim, in Bavaria, between the French and Bavarians, on one Ride, and an allied army under the great English general, the Duke of Marlborough, and Eugene, Prince of Savoy, on the other. The latter won a decisive victory: 10,000 of the defeated army were killed and wounded, and 13,000 were taken prisoners.

    It was a summer evening,
    Old Kaspar's work was done,
    And he, before his cottage door,
    Was sitting in the sun;
    And by him sported on the green,
    His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

    She saw her brother Peterkin
    Roll something large and round,
    Which he beside the rivulet,
    In playing there, had found;
    He came to ask what he had found,
    That was so large, and smooth, and round.

    Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
    Who stood expectant by;
    And then the old man shook his head,
    And, with a natural sigh,
    "'T is some poor fellow's skull," said he,
    "Who fell in the great victory.

    "I find them in the garden,
    For there's many hereabout;
    And often when I go to plow,
    The plowshare turns them out;
    For many thousand men," said he,
    "Were slain in that great victory."

    "Now tell us what 't was all about,"
    Young Peterkin he cries;
    While little Wilhelmine looks up
    With wonder-waiting eyes;
    "Now tell us all about the war,
    And what they killed each other for."

    "It was the English," Kaspar cried,
    "Who put the French to rout,
    But what they killed each other for,
    I could not well make out;
    But everybody said," quoth he,
    "That 't was a famous victory:

    "My father lived at Blenheim then,
    Yon little stream, hard by;
    They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
    And he was forced to fly;
    So, with his wife and child he fled,
    Nor had he where to rest his head.

    "With fire and sword, the country round
    Was wasted, far and wide;
    And many a nursing mother then,
    And newborn baby died;
    But things like that, you know, must be
    At every famous victory.

    "They say it was a shocking sight
    After the field was won;
    For many thousand bodies here
    Lay rotting in the sun:
    But things like that, you know, must be
    After a famous victory.

    "Great praise the Duke of Marlboro' won,
    And our young prince, Eugene."
    "Why, 't was a very wicked thing!"
    Said little Wilhelmine.
    "Nay, nay, my little girl!" quoth he,
    "It was a famous victory.

    "And everybody praised the Duke
    Who this great fight did win."
    "But what good came of it at last?"
    Quoth little Peterkin.
    "Why, that I can not tell," said he,
    "But 't was a glorious victory."

  16. Battle of Waterloo

    Byron. NOTES.—The Battle of Waterloo was fought on June 18th, 1815, between the French army on one side, commanded by Napoleon Bonaparte, and the English army and allies on the other side, commanded by the Duke of Wellington. At the commencement of the battle, some of the officers were at a ball at Brussels, a short distance from Waterloo, and being notified of the approaching contest by the cannonade, left the ballroom for the field of battle. The wood of Soignies lay between the field of Waterloo and Brussels. It is supposed to be a remnant of the forest of Ardennes.

    There was a sound of revelry by night,
    And Belgium's capital had gathered then
    Her Beauty and her Chivalry, and bright
    The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men.
    A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
    Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
    Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
    And all went merry as a marriage bell;
    But hush! hark!—a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!

    Did ye not hear it?—No; 't was but the wind,
    Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
    On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
    No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
    To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet—
    But, hark!—that heavy sound breaks in once mere,
    As if the clouds its echo would repeat,
    And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before!
    Arm! arm! it is—it is the cannon's opening roar!

    Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
    And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
    And cheeks all pale, which, but an hour ago
    Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness;
    And there were sudden partings, such as press
    The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
    Which ne'er might be repeated: who could guess
    If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
    Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise.

    And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed,
    The mustering squadron, and the clattering car
    Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
    And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
    And the deep thunder, peal on peal afar;
    And near, the beat of the alarming drum
    Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
    While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
    Or whispering with white lips—"The foe! They come!
    They come!"

    And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
    Dewy with nature's tear-drops, as they pass,
    Grieving, if aught inanimate e'er grieves,
    Over the unreturning brave!—alas!
    Ere evening to be trodden like the grass,
    Which, now, beneath them, but above, shall grow,
    In its next verdure, when this fiery mass
    Of living valor, rolling on the foe,
    And burning with high hope, shall molder, cold and low

    Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
    Last eve in beauty's circle proudly gay,
    The midnight brought the signal sound of strife,
    The morn, the marshaling in arms,—the day,
    Battle's magnificently stern array!
    The thunderclouds close o'er it, which when rent,
    The earth is covered thick with other clay,
    Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent,
    Rider and horse,—friend, foe,—in one red burial blent.

  17. The Downfall of Poland

    by Thomas Campbell. NOTES.—Kosciusko (b. 1746, d. 1817), a celebrated Polish patriot, who had served in the American Revolution, was besieged at Warsaw, in 1794, by a large force of Russians, Prussians, and Austrians. After the siege was raised, he marched against a force of Russians much larger than his own, and was defeated. He was himself severely wounded and captured. Sarmatia is the ancient name for a region of Europe which embraced Poland, but was of greater extent.

    O Sacred Truth! thy triumph ceased a while,
    And Hope, thy sister, ceased with thee to smile,
    When leagued Oppression poured to northern wars
    Her whiskered pandours and her fierce hussars,
    Waved her dread standard to the breeze of morn,
    Pealed her loud drum, and twanged her trumpet horn;
    Tumultuous horror brooded o'er her van,
    Presaging wrath to Poland—and to man!

    Warsaw's last champion, from her height surveyed,
    Wide o'er the fields a waste of ruin laid;
    "O Heaven!" he cried, "my bleeding country save!
    Is there no hand on high to shield the brave?
    Yet, though destruction sweep those lovely plains,
    Rise, fellow-men! our country yet remains!
    By that dread name, we wave the sword on high,
    And swear for her to live—with her to die!"

    He said, and on the rampart heights arrayed
    His trusty warriors, few, but undismayed;
    Firm-paced and slow, a horrid front they form,
    Still as the breeze, but dreadful as the storm;
    Low murmuring sounds along their banners fly,
    Revenge or death—the watchword and reply;
    Then pealed the notes, omnipotent to charm,
    And the loud tocsin tolled their last alarm.

    In vain, alas! in vain, ye gallant few!
    From rank to rank, your volleyed thunder flew!
    Oh, bloodiest picture in the book of time,
    Sarmatia fell, unwept, without a crime;
    Found not a generous friend, a pitying foe,
    Strength in her arms, nor mercy in her woe!
    Dropped from her nerveless grasp the shattered spear,
    Closed her bright eye, and curbed her high career;
    Hope, for a season, bade the world farewell,
    And Freedom shrieked as Kosciusko fell!

  18. Hobson's Choice

    by Anonymous. At 4 A.M. of June 3. 1898, Lieutenant Hobson and seven men ran the collier Merrimac into the ships' channel at Santiago de Cuba in the face of a fierce fire from the forts, exploded an internal torpedo, and sunk the vessel, seeking thus to pen the Spanish fleet in the harbor. Almost by a miracle, all eight escaped, and became honored prisoners of war. When call was made for volunteers to perform this daring and hazardous feat, these men were selected from the many that offered themselves.

    Darkness and the midnight sea,
    Blackest heart of jeopardy;
    Forts that flame an angry death,
    And the surer doom beneath;
    Risk of life's long happiness
    And the safe world's sure success;
    Bellow from the mouth of hell,
    Heaven or a Spanish cell;
    This, and more he knew it well 
    This was Hobson's choice.

    Yes, and more, unstinted, more;
    Honor waiting on the shore,
    Honor even from the foe,
    And where'er the word shall go,
    And a wreath within the hand
    Of his grateful fatherland:
    lauding lips and shining eyes,
    Men's hurrahs that rend the skies,
    Yes, the fame that never dies 
    This was Hobson's choice.

    Now no more that ancient phrase
    chattering down from Charles's days, 
    "Hobson's choice" of "that or none";
    He had two, and chose the one;
    Safety, danger; deck or wave;
    Life or death; the sun, the grave.
    Let the phrase new meaning wear
    Now, henceforth, and everywhere;
    Gallant choice to do and dare
    Shall be "Hobson's choice."

  19. Boston

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The river curving to the sea,
    The ocean populous of ships,
    Hold the fair city tenderly,
    And press her forehead with their lips.

    For years but leave her fairer still,
    And gleaming like a golden star;
    Ever upon her central hill
    A brighter glory shines afar;

    The glory of a thoughtful mind,
    A spirit open to the sky,
    A heart that beats for all mankind,
    A soul that worships God Most High.

    No civic glory like to these,
    Though stone on stone tremendous tower,
    And all the wide world's argosies
    Bring donatives of wealth and power.

    From those ideals never shrink,
    Dear town, nor once to mammon swerve,—
    Your eager eminence, to think;
    Your ample guerdon, just to serve.

  20. Napoleon at Rest

    John Pierpont

    His falchion flashed along the Nile;
    His hosts he led through Alpine snows;
    O'er Moscow's towers, that blazed the while,
    His eagle flag unrolled,—and froze.
    Here sleeps he now, alone! Not one
    Of all the kings, whose crowns he gave,
    Bends o'er his dust;—nor wife nor son
    Has ever seen or sought his grave.

    Behind this seagirt rock! the star,
    That led him on from crown to crown,
    Has sunk; and nations from afar
    Gazed as it faded and went down.
    High is his couch;—the ocean flood,
    Far, far below, by storms is curled;
    As round him heaved, while high he stood,
    A stormy and unstable world.

    Alone he sleeps! The mountain cloud,
    That night hangs round him, and the breath
    Of morning scatters, is the shroud
    That wraps the conqueror's clay in death.
    Pause here! The far-off world, at last,
    Breathes free; the hand that shook its thrones,
    And to the earth its miters cast,
    Lies powerless now beneath these stones.

    Hark! comes there from the pyramids,
    And from Siberian wastes of snow,
    And Europe's hills, a voice that bids
    The world he awed to mourn him? No:
    The only, the perpetual dirge
    That's heard there is the sea bird's cry,—
    The mournful murmur of the surge,—
    The cloud's deep voice, the wind's low sigh.

  21. Henry V. to His Troops

    William Shakespeare. Note: Henry V. (1388-1422) was king of England for nine years. During this reign almost continuous war raged in France, to the throne of which Henry laid claim. The battle of Agincourt took place in his reign.

    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
    Or close the wall up with our English dead.
    In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
    As modest stillness and humility:
    But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
    Then imitate the action of the tiger;
    Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
    Disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage;
    Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
    Let it pry through the portage of the head
    Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
    As fearfully as doth a galled rock
    O'er hang and jutty his confounded base,
    Swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean.

    Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostril wide,
    Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
    To its full height! On, on, you noblest English,
    Whose blood is fet from fathers of war proof!
    Fathers, that, like so many Alexanders,
    Have, in these parts, from morn till even, fought,
    And sheathed their swords for lack of argument;
    Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
    And teach them how to war.

    And you, good yeomen,
    Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
    The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
    That you are worth your breeding, which I doubt not;
    For there is none of you so mean and base,
    That hath not noble luster in your eyes.
    I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
    Straining upon the start. The game's afoot;
    Follow your spirit: and, upon this charge,
    Cry—"God for Harry, England, and St. George!"

  22. Arnold von Winkleried

    Winkelried at Sempach
    Winkelried at Sempach
    by Konrad Grob
    by James Montgomery

    "Make way for liberty!" he cried,
    Make way for liberty, and died.
    In arms the Austrian phalanx stood,
    A living wall, a human wood,--
    A wall, where every conscious stone
    Seemed to its kindred thousands grown.
    A rampart all assaults to bear,
    Till time to dust their frames should wear;
    So still, so dense the Austrians stood,
    A living wall, a human wood. ...

    Impregnable their front appears,
    All horrent with projected spears.
    Whose polished points before them shine,
    From flank to flank, one brilliant line,
    Bright as the breakers' splendours run
    Along the billows to the sun.

    Opposed to these a hovering band
    Contended for their fatherland;
    Peasants, whose new-found strength had broke
    From manly necks the ignoble yoke,
    And beat their fetters into swords,
    On equal terms to fight their lords;
    And what insurgent rage had gained,
    In many a mortal fray maintained;
    Marshalled, once more, at Freedom's call,
    They came to conquer or to fall,
    Where he who conquered, he who fell,
    Was deemed a dead or living Tell,
    Such virtue had that patriot breathed,
    So to the soil his soul bequeathed,
    That wheresoe'er his arrows flew,
    Heroes in his own likeness grew,
    And warriors sprang from every sod,
    Which his awakening footstep trod.

    And now the work of life and death
    Hung on the passing of a breath;
    The fire of conflict burned within,
    The battle trembled to begin;
    Yet, while the Austrians held their ground,
    Point for attack was nowhere found;
    Where'er the impatient Switzers gazed,
    The unbroken line of lances blazed;
    That line 'twere suicide to meet,
    And perish at their tyrant's feet;
    How could they rest within their graves,
    And leave their homes, the homes of slaves!
    Would not they feel their children tread,
    With clanging chains, above their head?

    It must not be; this day, this hour,
    Annihilates the invader's power;
    All Switzerland is in the field;
    She will not fly,—she cannot yield,—
    She must not fall; her better fate
    Here gives her an immortal date.
    Few were the numbers she could boast,
    But every freeman was a host,
    And felt as 'twere a secret known
    That one should turn the scale alone,
    While each unto himself was he
    On whose sole arm hung victory.

    It did depend on one indeed;
    Behold him,--Arnold Winkelried;
    There sounds not to the trump of fame
    The echo of a nobler name.
    Unmarked he stood amid the throng,
    In rumination deep and long,
    Till you might see, with sudden grace,
    The very thought come o'er his face;
    And, by the motion of his form,
    Anticipate the bursting storm,
    And, by the uplifting of his brow,
    Tell where the bolt would strike, and how.

    But 'twas no sooner thought than done!
    The field was in a moment won;
    "Make way for liberty!" he cried,
    Then ran, with arms extended wide,
    As if his dearest friend to clasp;
    Ten spears he swept within his grasp.
    "Make way for liberty!" he cried.
    Their keen points crossed from side to side;
    He bowed amidst them like a tree,
    And thus made way for liberty.

    Swift to the breach his comrades fly,
    "Make way for liberty!" they cry,
    And through the Austrian phalanx dart,
    As rushed the spears through Arnold's heart.
    While instantaneous as his fall,
    Rout, ruin, panic, seized them all;
    An earthquake could not overthrow
    A city with a surer blow.

    Thus Switzerland again was free;
    Thus Death made way for Liberty!

  23. Marco Bozzaris

    by Fitz-Greene Halleck. Note: Marco Bozzaris (b. about 1790, d. 1823) was a famous Greek patriot. His family were Suliotes, a people inhabiting the Suli Mountains, and bitter enemies of the Turks. Bozzaris was engaged in war against the latter nearly all his life, and finally fell in a night attack upon their camp near Carpenisi. This poem, a fitting tribute to his memory, has been translated into modern Greek.

    At midnight, in his guarded tent,
    The Turk was dreaming of the hour
    When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent,
    Should tremble at his power.
    In dreams, through camp and court he bore
    The trophies of a conqueror;
    In dreams, his song of triumph heard;
    Then wore his monarch's signet ring;
    Then pressed that monarch's throne—a king:
    As wild his thoughts, and gay of wing,
    As Eden's garden bird.

    At midnight, in the forest shades,
    Bozzaris ranged his Suliote band,
    True as the steel of their tried blades,
    Heroes in heart and hand.
    There had the Persian's thousands stood,
    There had the glad earth drunk their blood,
    On old Plataea's day:
    And now there breathed that haunted air,
    The sons of sires who conquered there,
    With arms to strike, and soul to dare,
    As quick, as far as they.

    An hour passed on—the Turk awoke;
    That bright dream was his last:
    He woke—to hear his sentries shriek,
    "To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!"
    He woke—to die mid flame and smoke,
    And shout, and groan, and saber stroke,
    And death shots falling thick and fast
    As lightnings from the mountain cloud;
    And heard, with voice as trumpet loud,
    Bozzaris cheer his band:
    "Strike—till the last armed foe expires;
    Strike—for your altars and your fires;
    Strike—for the green graves of your sires;
    God—and your native land!"

    They fought—like brave men, long and well;
    They piled that ground with Moslem slain;
    They conquered—but Bozzaris fell,
    Bleeding at every vein.
    His few surviving comrades saw
    His smile, when rang their proud hurrah,
    And the red field was won:
    Then saw in death his eyelids close
    Calmly, as to a night's repose,
    Like flowers at set of sun.

    Come to the bridal chamber, Death!
    Come to the mother, when she feels
    For the first time her firstborn's breath;
    Come when the blessed seals
    That close the pestilence are broke,
    And crowded cities wail its stroke;
    Come in consumption's ghastly form,
    The earthquake's shock, the ocean storm;
    Come when the heart beats high and warm
    With banquet song, and dance, and wine:
    And thou art terrible—the tear,
    The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier,
    And all we know, or dream, or fear
    Of agony, are thine.
    But to the hero, when his sword
    Has won the battle for the free,
    Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word;
    And in its hollow tones are heard
    The thanks of millions yet to be.

    Bozzaris! with the storied brave
    Greece nurtured in her glory's time,
    Rest thee—there is no prouder grave
    Even in her own proud clime.
    We tell thy doom without a sigh,
    For thou art Freedom's, now, and Fame's.
    One of the few, the immortal names,
    That were not born to die.

  24. The Church Scene from Evangeline

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    So passed the morning away. And lo! with a summons sonorous
    Sounded the bell from its tower, and over the meadows a drumbeat.
    Thronged erelong was the church with men. Without, in the churchyard,
    Awaited the women. They stood by the graves, and hung on the headstones
    Garlands of autumn leaves and evergreens fresh from the forest.
    Then came the guard from the ships, and marching proudly among them
    Entered the sacred portal. With loud and dissonant clangor
    Echoed the sound of their brazen drums from ceiling and casement,—
    Echoed a moment only, and slowly the ponderous portal
    Closed, and in silence the crowd awaited the will of the soldiers.

    Then uprose their commander, and spake from the steps of the altar,
    Holding aloft in his hands, with its seals, the royal commission.
    "You have convened this day," he said, "by his Majesty's orders.
    Clement and kind has he been; but how you have answered his kindness,
    Let your own hearts reply! To my natural make and my temper
    Painful the task is I do, which to you I know must be grievous.
    Yet must I bow and obey, and deliver the will of our monarch;
    Namely, that all your lands, and dwellings, and cattle of all kinds
    Forfeited be to the crown; and that you yourselves from this province
    Be transported to other lands. God grant you may dwell there
    Ever as faithful subjects, a happy and peaceable people!
    Prisoners now I declare you; for such is his Majesty's pleasure!"

    As, when the air is serene in the sultry solstice of summer,
    Suddenly gathers a storm, and the deadly sling of the hailstones
    Beats down the farmer's corn in the field and shatters his windows,
    Hiding the sun, and strewing the ground with thatch from the house roofs,
    Bellowing fly the herds, and seek to break their inclosure;
    So on the hearts of the people descended the words of the speaker.
    Silent a moment they stood in speechless wonder, and then rose
    Louder and ever louder a wail of sorrow and anger,
    And, by one impulse moved, they madly rushed to the doorway.

    Vain was the hope of escape; and cries and fierce imprecations
    Rang through the house of prayer; and high o'er the heads of the others
    Rose, with his arms uplifted, the figure of Basil the blacksmith,
    As, on a stormy sea, a spar is tossed by the billows.
    Flushed was his face and distorted with passion; and wildly he shouted,—
    "Down with the tyrants of England! we never have sworn them allegiance!
    Death to these foreign soldiers, who seize on our homes and our harvests!"
    More he fain would have said, but the merciless hand of a soldier
    Smote him upon the mouth, and dragged him down to the pavement.

    In the midst of the strife and tumult of angry contention,
    Lo! the door of the chancel opened, and Father Felician
    Entered, with serious mien, and ascended the steps of the alter.
    Raising his reverend hand, with a gesture he awed into silence
    All that clamorous throng; and thus he spake to his people;
    Deep were his tones and solemn; in accents measured and mournful
    Spake he, as, after the tocsin's alarum, distinctly the clock strikes.

    "What is this that ye do, my children? what madness has seized you?
    Forty years of my life have I labored among you, and taught you,
    Not in word alone, but in deed, to love one another!
    Is this the fruit of my toils, of my vigils and prayers and privations?
    Have you so soon forgotten all the lessons of love and forgiveness?
    This is the house of the Prince of Peace, and would you profane it
    Thus with violent deeds and hearts overflowing with hatred?
    Lo! where the crucified Christ from his cross is gazing upon you!
    See! in those sorrowful eyes what meekness and holy compassion!
    Hark! how those lips still repeat the prayer, 'O Father, forgive them!'
    Let us repeat that prayer in the hour when the wicked assail us,
    Let us repeat it now, and say, 'O Father, forgive them.' "

    Few were his words of rebuke, but deep in the hearts of his people
    Sank they, and sobs of contrition succeeded the passionate outbreak,
    While they repeated his prayer, and said, "O Father, forgive them!"

  25. Song of the Greek Bard

    by George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron

    The isles of Greece! the isles of Greece!
    Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
    Where grew the arts of war and peace,—
    Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
    Eternal summer gilds them yet,
    But all, except their sun, is set.

    The Scian and the Teian muse,
    The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
    Have found the fame your shores refuse;
    Their place of birth alone is mute
    To sounds which echo further west
    Than your sires' "Islands of the Blest."

    The mountains look on Marathon,
    And Marathon looks on the sea;
    And musing there an hour alone,
    I dreamed that Greece might still be free;
    For, standing on the Persian's grave,
    I could not deem myself a slave.

    A king sat on the rocky brow
    Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis;
    And ships, by thousands, lay below,
    And men in nations,—all were his!
    He counted them at break of day,—
    And when the sun set, where were they?

    And where are they? And where art thou,
    My country? On thy voiceless shore
    The heroic lay is tuneless now,—
    The heroic bosom beats no more!
    And must thy lyre, so long divine,
    Degenerate into hands like mine?

    Must we but weep o'er days more blest?
    Must we but blush? Our fathers bled.
    Earth! render back from out thy breast
    A remnant of our Spartan dead!
    Of the three hundred, grant but three,
    To make a new Thermopylae!

    What! silent still and silent all?
    Ah! no;—the voices of the dead
    Sound like a distant torrent's fall,
    And answer, "Let one living head,
    But one, arise,—we come, we come!"
    'Tis but the living who are dumb!

    In vain—in vain!—strike other chords;
    Fill high the cup with Samian wine!
    Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,
    And shed the blood of Scio's vine!
    Hark! rising to the ignoble call,
    How answers each bold !

    You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet;
    Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone?
    Of two such lessons, why forget
    The nobler and the manlier one?
    You have the letters Cadmus gave;
    Think ye he meant them for a slave?

    Fill high the howl with Samian wine!
    We will not think of themes like these!
    It made Anacreon's song divine:
    He served, but served Polycrates,
    A tyrant; but our masters then
    Were still, at least, Our countrymen.

    The tyrant of the Chersonese
    Was freedom's best and bravest friend;
    That tyrant was Miltiades!
    Oh that the present hour would lend
    Another despot of the kind!
    Such chains as his were sure to bind.

    Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
    Our virgins dance beneath the shade;
    I see their glorious, black eyes shine;
    But gazing on each glowing maid,
    My own the burning tear-drop laves,
    To think such breasts must suckle slaves.

    Place me on Sunium's marbled steep,
    Where nothing save the waves and I
    May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;
    There, swanlike, let me sing and die:
    A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine,—
    Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

  26. Lochiel's Warning

    by Thomas Campbell

    Seer. Lochiel! Lochiel! beware of the day
    When the Lowlands shall meet thee in battle array!
    For a field of the dead rushes red on my sight,
    And the clans of Culloden are scattered in fight.
    They rally, they bleed, for their kingdom and crown;
    Woe, woe to the riders that trample them down!
    Proud Cumberland prances, insulting the slain,
    And their hoof-beaten bosoms are trod to the plain.
    But hark! through the fast-flashing lightning of war,
    What steed to the desert flies frantic and far?
    'T is thine, O Glenullin! whose bride shall await
    Like a love-lighted watch fire all night at the gate.
    A steed comes at morning,—no rider is there,
    But its bridle is red with the sign of despair.
    Weep, Albin! to death and captivity led!
    Oh, weep! but thy tears can not number the dead:
    For a merciless sword on Culloden shall wave,—
    Culloden! that reeks with the blood of the brave.

    Loch. Go preach to the coward, thou death-telling seer!
    Or, if gory Culloden so dreadful appear,
    Draw, dotard, around thy old wavering sight,
    This mantle, to cover the phantoms of fright.

    Seer. Ha! laugh'st thou, Lochiel, my vision to scorn?
    Proud bird of the mountain thy plume shall be torn!
    Say, rushed the bold eagle exultingly forth
    From his home in the dark-rolling clouds of the north?
    Lo! the death shot of foemen outspeeding, he rode
    Companionless, bearing destruction abroad;
    But down let him stoop from his havoc on high!
    Ah! home let him speed, for the spoiler is nigh.
    Why flames the far summit? Why shoot to the blast
    Those embers, like stars from the firmament cast?
    'T is the fire shower of ruin, all dreadfully driven
    From his eyrie that beacons the darkness of heaven,
    O crested Lochiel! the peerless in might,
    Whose banners arise on the battlements' height,
    Heaven's fire is around thee, to blast and to burn;
    Return to thy dwelling! all lonely return!
    For the blackness of ashes shall mark where it stood,
    And a wild mother scream o'er her famishing brood.

    Loch. False wizard, avaunt! I have marshaled my clan,
    Their swords are a thousand, their bosoms are one!
    They are true to the last of their blood and their breath,
    And like reapers descend to the harvest of death.
    Then welcome be Cumberland's steed to the shock!
    Let him dash his proud foam like a wave on the rock!
    But woe to his kindred, and woe to his cause,
    When Albin her claymore indignantly draws;
    When her bonneted chieftains to victory crowd,
    Clanronald the dauntless, and Moray the proud,
    All plaided and plumed in their tartan array—

    Seer. —Lochiel, Lochiel, beware of the day!
    For, dark and despairing, my sight I may seal,
    But man can not cover what God would reveal:
    'T is the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
    And coming events cast their shadows before.
    I tell thee, Culloden's dread echoes shall ring
    With the bloodhounds that bark for thy fugitive king.
    Lo! anointed by heaven with the vials of wrath,
    Behold where he flies on his desolate path!
    Now, in darkness and billows, he sweeps from my sight:
    Rise, rise! ye wild tempests, and cover his flight!
    'Tis finished. Their thunders are hushed on the moors;
    Culloden is lost, and my country deplores.
    But where is the ironbound prisoner? Where?
    For the red eye of battle is shut in despair.
    Say, mounts he the ocean wave, banished, forlorn,
    Like a limb from his country, cast bleeding and torn?
    Ah no! for a darker departure is near;
    The war drum is muffled, and black is the bier;
    His death bell is tolling; O mercy, dispel
    Yon sight that it freezes my spirit to tell!
    Life flutters convulsed in his quivering limbs,
    And his blood-streaming nostril in agony swims.
    Accursed be the fagots that blaze at his feet,
    Where his heart shall be thrown ere it ceases to beat,
    With the smoke of its ashes to poison the gale—

    Loch. Down, soothless insulter! I trust not the tale:
    For never shall Albin a destiny meet
    So black with dishonor, so foul with retreat.
    Though my perishing ranks should be strewed in their gore,
    Like ocean weeds heaped on the surf-beaten shore,
    Lochiel, untainted by flight or by chains,
    While the kindling of life in his bosom remains,
    Shall victor exult, or in death be laid low,
    With his back to the field and his feet to the foe!
    And leaving in battle no blot on his name,
    Look proudly to heaven from the deathbed of fame.

  27. Rienzi's Address to the Romans

    by Mary Russell Mitford. Note: Rienzi (b. about 1312, d. 1354) was the last of the Roman tribunes. In 1347 he led a successful revolt against the nobles, who by their contentions kept Rome in constant turmoil. He then assumed the title of tribune, but, after indulging in a life of reckless extravagance and pomp for a few months, he was compelled to abdicate, and fly for his life. In 1354 he was reinstated in power, but his tyranny caused his assassination the same year. This lesson is especially adapted for drill on inflection, emphasis, and modulation.

    I come not here to talk. You know too well
    The story of our thraldom. We are slaves!
    The bright sun rises to his course, and lights
    A race of slaves! He sets, and his last beams
    Fall on a slave; not such as, swept along
    By the full tide of power, the conqueror led
    To crimson glory and undying fame;
    But base, ignoble slaves; slaves to a horde
    Of petty tyrants, feudal despots, lords,
    Rich in some dozen paltry villages;
    Strong in some hundred spearmen; only great
    In that strange spell,—a name.

    Each hour, dark fraud,
    Or open rapine, or protected murder,
    Cries out against them. But this very day,
    An honest man, my neighbor,—there he stands,—
    Was struck—struck like a dog, by one who wore
    The badge of Ursini; because, forsooth,
    He tossed not high his ready cap in air,
    Nor lifted up his voice in servile shouts,
    At sight of that great ruffian! Be we men,
    And suffer such dishonor? men, and wash not
    The stain away in blood? Such shames are common.
    I have known deeper wrongs; I that speak to ye,
    I had a brother once—a gracious boy
    Full of all gentleness, of calmest hope,
    Of sweet and quiet joy,—there was the look
    Of heaven upon his face, which limners give
    To the beloved disciple.

    How I loved
    That gracious boy! Younger by fifteen years,
    Brother at once, and son! He left my side,
    A summer bloom on his fair cheek; a smile
    Parting his innocent lips. In one short hour,
    That pretty, harmless boy was slain! I saw
    The corse, the mangled corse, and then I cried
    For vengeance! Rouse, ye Romans! rouse, ye slaves!
    Have ye brave sons? Look in the next fierce brawl
    To see them die. Have ye fair daughters? Look
    To see them live, torn from your arms, distained,
    Dishonored; and if ye dare call for justice,
    Be answered by the lash.

    Yet this is Rome,
    That sat on her seven hills, and from her throne
    Of beauty ruled the world! and we are Romans.
    Why, in that elder day, to be a Roman
    Was greater than a king!

    And once again,—
    Hear me, ye walls that echoed to the tread
    Of either Brutus! Once again, I swear,
    The eternal city shall be free.

Poems About Inventions

  1. I.

    by Christopher Pearse Cranch. Part of "Seven Wonders of the World" series of sonnets.

    In boyhood's days we read with keen delight
    How young Aladdin rubbed his lamp and raised
    The towering Djin whose form his soul amazed,
    Yet who was pledged to serve him day and night.
    But Gutenberg evoked a giant sprite
    Of vaster power, when Europe stood and gazed
    To see him rub his types with ink. Then blazed
    Across the lands a glorious shape of light,
    Who stripped the cowl from priests, the crown from kings,
    And hand in hand with Faith and Science wrought
    To free the struggling spirit's limèd wings,
    And guard the ancestral throne of sovereign Thought.
    The world was dumb. Then first it found its tongue
    And spake — and heaven and earth in answer rung.

  2. XII. The Ocean Steamer

    by Christopher Pearse Cranch. Part of "Seven Wonders of the World" series of sonnets.

    With streaming pennons, scorning sail and oar,
    With steady tramp and swift revolving wheel,
    And even pulse from throbbing heart of steel,
    She plies her arrowy course from shore to shore.
    In vain the siren calms her steps allure;
    In vain the billows thunder on her keel;
    Her giant form may toss and rock and reel
    And shiver in the wintry tempest's roar;
    The calms and storms alike her pride can spurn.
    True to the day she keeps her appointed time.
    Long leagues of ocean vanish at her stern —
    She drinks the air, and tastes another clime,
    Where men their former wonder fast unlearn,
    Which hailed her coming as a thing sublime.

  3. XIII. The Locomotive

    by Christopher Pearse Cranch. Part of "Seven Wonders of the World" series of sonnets.

    Whirling along its living freight, it came,
    Hot, panting, fierce, yet docile to command —
    The roaring monster, blazing through the land
    Athwart the night, with crest of smoke and flame;
    Like those weird bulls Medea learned to tame
    By sorcery, yoked to plough the Colchian strand
    In forced obedience under Jason's hand.
    Yet modern skill outstripped this antique fame,
    When o'er our plains and through the rocky bar
    Of hills it pushed its ever-lengthening line
    Of iron roads, with gain far more divine
    Than when the daring Argonauts from far
    Came for the golden fleece, which like a star
    Hung clouded in the dragon-guarded shrine.

  4. XIV. The Telegraph and Telephone

    by Christopher Pearse Cranch. Part of "Seven Wonders of the World" series of sonnets.

    Fleeter than time, across the Continent,
    Through unsunned ocean depths, from beach to beach,
    Around the rolling globe Thought's couriers reach.
    The new-tuned earth like some vast instrument
    Tingles from zone to zone; for Art has lent
    New nerves, new pulse, new motion — all to each,
    And each to all, in swift electric speech
    Bound by a force unwearied and unspent.
    Now lone Katahdin talks with Caucasus;
    The Arctic ice-fields with the sultry South,
    The sun-bathed palm thrills to the pine-tree's call.
    We for all realms were made, and they for us.
    For all there is a soul, an ear, a mouth;
    And Time and Space are naught. The mind is all.

  5. XV. The Photograph

    by Christopher Pearse Cranch. Part of "Seven Wonders of the World" series of sonnets.

    PHŒBUS APOLLO, from Olympus driven,
    Lived with Admetus, tending herds and flocks:
    And strolling o'er the pastures and the rocks
    He found his life much duller than in Heaven.
    For he had left his bow, his songs, his lyre,
    His divinations and his healing skill,
    And as a serf obeyed his master's will.
    One day a new thought waked an old desire.
    He took to painting, with his colors seven,
    The sheep, the cows, the faces of the swains,
    All shapes and hues in forests and on plains.
    These old sun-pictures all are lost, or given
    Away among the gods. Man owns but half
    The Sun-god's secret — in the Photograph.

  6. XVI. The Spectroscope

    by Christopher Pearse Cranch. Part of "Seven Wonders of the World" series of sonnets.

    All honor to that keen Promethean soul
    Who caught the prismic hues of Jove and Mars,
    And from the glances of the dædal stars,
    And from the fiery sun, the secret stole
    That all are parts of one primeval Whole, —
    One substance beaming through Creation's bars
    Consent and peace, amid the chemic wars
    Of gases and of atoms. Yonder roll
    The planets; yonder, baffling human thought,
    Suns, systems, all whose burning hearts are wooed
    To one confession — so hath Science caught
    Those eye-beams frank, whose speech cannot delude, —
    How of one stuff our mortal earth is wrought
    With stars in their divine infinitude.

  7. XVII. The Microphone

    by Christopher Pearse Cranch. Part of "Seven Wonders of the World" series of sonnets.

    THE small enlarged, the distant nearer brought
    To sight, made marvels in a denser age.
    But Science turns with every year a page
    In the enchanted volume of her thought.
    The wizard's wand no longer now is sought.
    Yet with a cunning toy the Archimage
    May hear from Rome Vesuvius' thunders rage,
    And earthquake mutterings underground are caught,
    Alike with trivial sounds. Would there might rise
    Some spiritual seer, some prophet wise,
    Whose tactile vision would avert the woes
    Born of conflicting forces in the state; —
    Some listener to the deep volcanic throes
    Below the surface — ere we cry,
    "Too late!"

  8. The Dreamers

    by Bliss Carman

    CHARLEMAGNE with knight and lord,
    In the hill at Ingelheim,
    Slumbers at the council board,
    Seated waiting for the time.

    With their swords across their knees
    In that chamber dimly lit,
    Chin on breast life effigies
    Of the dreaming gods, they sit.

    Long ago they went to sleep,
    While great wars above them hurled,
    Taking counsel how to keep
    Giant evil from the world.

    Golden-armored, iron-crowned,
    There in silence they await
    The last war,—in war renowned,
    Done with doubting and debate.

    What is all our clamor for?
    Petty virtue, puny crime,
    Beat in vain against the door
    Of the hill at Ingelheim.

    When at last shall dawn the day
    For the saving of the world,
    They will forth in war array,
    Iron-armored, golden-curled.

    In the hill at Ingelheim,
    Still, they say, the Emperor,
    Like a warrior in his prime,
    Waits the message at the door.

    Shall the long enduring fight
    Break above our heads in vain,
    Plunged in lethargy and night,
    Like the men of Charlemagne?

    Comrades, through the Council Hall
    Of the heart, inert and dumb,
    Hear ye not the summoning call,
    "Up, my lords, the hour is come!"

  9. The Moral of History

    by John Jay Chapman

    All is one issue, every skirmish tells,
    And war is but the picture in the story;
    The plot's below: from time to time upwells
    A scene of blood and glory,
    That makes us understand the allegory,—
    A lurid flash of verse,—and at its close
    Recurring, undiscipherable prose.

  10. Roma Aeterna

    by Adelaide Crapsey

    The sun
    Is warm to-day,
    O Romulus, and on
    Thine olden Palatine the birds
    Still sing.

  11. The Philosopher With His Kite

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Flying a kite! at a childish play!
    Is FRANKLIN mad? Have his noble powers
    Of mind been crushed? Is this the way
    A wise Philosopher spends his hours?

    'I am not mad,' he calmly said,
    And gave the line to his silken kite,
    As into the regions of air she sped,
    And pulled for more, in upward flight.

    'I'm going to do what none has done,
    Since man has breathed, or the spheres have whirled;
    To show the lightning where to run,
    And to turn its point for the rising world!

    'The secret sparks, that the vapors wrap
    In their dusky folds, I'm going to bring
    Across my kite with her iron cap,
    And down to me on a hempen string.

    'Ere yonder threatening cloud shall wink,
    I'll make her carry her head so nigh
    To its sable face, she shall reach and drink
    At the fiery stream from its awful eye.

    'In truth and soberness now I aim,
    Though none before may have aimed so far,
    To lead the electric wildfire tame
    Out of the clouds, to fill my jar!

    'I'll bring a debt on the world, and such
    As the richest and greatest ne'er can pay,
    Till they for posterity do as much
    As, flying my kite, I do to-day!'

  12. The Pioneers

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Thy waves, proud OHIO, in majesty roll
    Through banks with rich verdure and flowers filly dressed,
    Like the strong tide of mind—like the bright flow of soul,
    That heaves nobly on to the fair, blooming WEST.

    Thy music is set to the motion of years,
    Like thee, bearing down to a fathomless flood;
    But ours, to the march of the bold PIONEERS,
    Who purchased thy borders with peril and blood.

    They fearless went forth where the red heathen foe
    With tomahawk raised, as in ambush he lay,
    And poison-tipped arrows to speed from his bow,
    Concealed like a serpent, infested the way.

    They saw the tall flame, when the council-fire glared
    Along the deep gloom through the wilderness spread.
    They heard the loud whoop, when the knife was prepared
    Its trophy to cleave from the white victim's head!

    The apple tree then, 'mid the trees of the wood,
    They reared among savages human and brute,
    And felled the dark forest around it that stood,
    To let in the sun-beams, and ripen the fruit.

    Their footsteps are traced by the lily and vine;
    Where they lopped the boughs, stands the full-headed sheaf,
    And here, from the pillow, the oil and the wine,
    The weary find rest, and the wounded, relief.

    Where all was in nature's first wildness and night,
    Till they ventured forth, an invincible band,
    The SUN of eternity pours down his light—
    The beauty of holiness spreads o'er the land!

    Roll on, proud OHIO! and long as the voice,
    That sounds from thy waters posterity hears,
    'T will come in bold numbers to hearts that rejoice,
    In chorus responding, 'The brave PIONEERS!'

  13. Paul Jones

    by John Charles McNeill

    A century of silent suns
    Have set since he was laid on sleep,
    And now they bear with booming guns
    And streaming banners o'er the deep
    A withered skin and clammy hair
    Upon a frame of human bones:
    Whose corse? We neither know nor care,
    Content to name it John Paul Jones.

    His dust were as another's dust;
    His bones—what boots it where they lie?
    What matter where his sword is rust,
    Or where, now dark, his eagle eye?
    No foe need fear his arm again,
    Nor love, nor praise can make him whole;
    But o'er the farthest sons of men
    Will brood the glory of his soul.

    Careless though cenotaph or tomb
    Shall tower his country's monument,
    Let banners float and cannon boom,
    A million-throated shout be spent,
    Until his widowed sea shall laugh
    With sunlight in her mantling foam,
    While, to his tomb or cenotaph,
    We bid our hero welcome home.

    Twice exiled, let his ashes rest
    At home, afar, or in the wave,
    But keep his great heart with us, lest
    Our nation's greatness find its grave;
    And, while the vast deep listens by,
    When armored wrong makes terms to right,
    Keep on our lips his proud reply,
    "Sir, I have but begun to fight!"

  14. The New Colossus

    Unveiling the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World
    by Edward Moran, 1886
    Written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 to raise funds for the Statue of Liberty (completed in 1886), the poem was later engraved on the lower pedastal of the statue in 1903. The statue written about by Lazarus would become one of the most famous symbols of freedom in America, especially significant to immigrants just arriving at New York Harbor and beholding this "land of the free" for the first time.

    Full Text:

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

  15. Ponce De Leon

    by Edith M. Thomas

    You that crossed the ocean old,
    Not from greed of Inca's gold,
    But to search by vale and mount,
    Wood and rock, the wizard fount
    Where Time's harm is well undone,—
    Here's to Ponce de Leon,
    And your liegemen every one!
    Surely, still beneath the sun,
    In some region further west,
    You live on and have your rest,
    While the world goes spinning round,
    And the sky hears the resound
    Of a thousand shrill new fames,
    Which your jovial silence shames!
    Strength and joy your days endow,
    Youth's eyes glow beneath your brow;
    Wars and vigils are forgot,
    And the Scytheman threats you not.
    Tell us, of your knightly grace,
    Tell us, left you not some trace
    Leading to that wellspring true
    Where old souls their age renew?

  16. Pocahontas

    by William Makepeace Thackeray

    January 5, 1608

    Wearied arm and broken sword
    Wage in vain the desperate fight;
    Round him press a countless horde,
    He is but a single knight.
    Hark! a cry of triumph shrill
    Through the wilderness resounds,
    As, with twenty bleeding wounds,
    Sinks the warrior, fighting still.

    Now they heap the funeral pyre,
    And the torch of death they light;
    Ah! 't is hard to die by fire!
    Who will shield the captive knight?
    Round the stake with fiendish cry
    Wheel and dance the savage crowd,
    Cold the victim's mien and proud,
    And his breast is bared to die.

    Who will shield the fearless heart?
    Who avert the murderous blade?
    From the throng with sudden start
    See, there springs an Indian maid.
    Quick she stands before the knight:
    "Loose the chain, unbind the ring!
    I am daughter of the king,
    And I claim the Indian right!"

    Dauntlessly aside she flings
    Lifted axe and thirsty knife,
    Fondly to his heart she clings,
    And her bosom guards his life!
    In the woods of Powhatan,
    Still 't is told by Indian fires
    How a daughter of their sires
    Saved a captive Englishman.

  17. Pocahontas

    by George Pope Morris

    Upon the barren sand
    A single captive stood;
    Around him came, with bow and brand,
    The red men of the wood.
    Like him of old, his doom he hears,
    Rock-bound on ocean's brim—
    The chieftain's daughter knelt in tears,
    And breathed a prayer for him.

    Above his head in air
    The savage war-club swung:
    The frantic girl, in wild despair,
    Her arms about him flung.
    Then shook the warriors of the shade,
    Like leaves on aspen limb
    Subdued by that heroic maid
    Who breathed a prayer for him!

    "Unbind him!" gasped the chief:
    "It is your king's decree!"
    He kiss'd away the tears of grief,
    And set the captive free!
    'T is ever thus, when in life's storm
    Hope's star to man grows dim,
    An angel kneels, in woman's form,
    And breathes a prayer for him.

  18. Song of the Pilgrims

    by Thomas Cogswell Upham. A vessel of one hundred and eighty tons, named the Mayflower, was fitted out, and, on August 5, (N.S. 15), 1620, the emigrants sailed from Southampton, whither they had gone to join the ship. There were ninety persons aboard the Mayflower and thirty aboard a smaller vessel, the Speedwell. But the Speedwell proved unseaworthy, and after twice putting back for repairs, twelve of her passengers were crowded into the Mayflower, which finally, on September 6 (N.S. 16) turned her prow to the west, and began the most famous voyage in American history, after that of Columbus.

    The breeze has swelled the whitening sail,
    The blue waves curl beneath the gale,
    And, bounding with the wave and wind,
    We leave Old England's shores behind—
    Leave behind our native shore,
    Homes, and all we loved before.

    The deep may dash, the winds may blow,
    The storm spread out its wings of woe,
    Till sailors' eyes can see a shroud
    Hung in the folds of every cloud;
    Still, as long as life shall last,
    From that shore we'll speed us fast.

    For we would rather never be,
    Than dwell where mind cannot be free,
    But bows beneath a despot's rod
    Even where it seeks to worship God.
    Blasts of heaven, onward sweep!
    Bear us o'er the troubled deep!

    O see what wonders meet our eyes!
    Another land, and other skies!
    Columbian hills have met our view!
    Adieu! Old England's shores, adieu!
    Here, at length, our feet shall rest,
    Hearts be free, and homes be blessed.

    As long as yonder firs shall spread
    Their green arms o'er the mountain's head,—
    As long as yonder cliffs shall stand,
    Where join the ocean and the land,—
    Shall those cliffs and mountains be
    Proud retreats for liberty.

    Now to the King of kings we'll raise
    The paean loud of sacred praise;
    More loud than sounds the swelling breeze,
    More loud than speak the rolling seas!
    Happier lands have met our view!
    England's shores, adieu! adieu!

  19. The Mayflower

    by Erastus Wolcott Ellsworth. A shallop which the Pilgrims had brought with them in the Mayflower was put together, and in it a party explored the neighboring shores, in search of a suitable place for the settlement. They finally selected Plymouth Harbor, and Monday, December 21 (O.S. 11), they "marched into the land and found divers corn-fields and little running brooks,—a place (as they supposed) fit for situation; at least it was the best they could find."

    Down in the bleak December bay
    The ghostly vessel stands away;
    Her spars and halyards white with ice,
    Under the dark December skies.
    A hundred souls, in company,
    Have left the vessel pensively,—
    Have reached the frosty desert there,
    And touched it with the knees of prayer.
    And now the day begins to dip,
    The night begins to lower
    Over the bay, and over the ship
    Mayflower.

    Neither the desert nor the sea
    Imposes rites: their prayers are free;
    Danger and toil the wild imposes,
    And thorns must grow before the roses.
    And who are these?—and what distress
    The savage-acred wilderness
    On mother, maid, and child may bring,
    Beseems them for a fearful thing;
    For now the day begins to dip,
    The night begins to lower
    Over the bay, and over the ship
    Mayflower.

    But Carver leads (in heart and health
    A hero of the commonwealth)
    The axes that the camp requires,
    To build the lodge, and heap the fires.
    And Standish from his warlike store
    Arrays his men along the shore—
    Distributes weapons resonant,
    And dons his harness militant;
    For now the day begins to dip,
    The night begins to lower
    Over the bay, and over the ship
    Mayflower;

    And Rose, his wife, unlocks a chest—
    She sees a Book, in vellum drest,
    She drops a tear and kisses the tome,
    Thinking of England and of home:
    Might they—the Pilgrims, there and then
    Ordained to do the work of men—
    Have seen, in visions of the air,
    While pillowed on the breast of prayer
    (When now the day began to dip,
    The night began to lower
    Over the bay, and over the ship
    Mayflower),

    The Canaan of their wilderness
    A boundless empire of success;
    And seen the years of future nights
    Jewelled with myriad household lights;
    And seen the honey fill the hive;
    And seen a thousand ships arrive;
    And heard the wheels of travel go;
    It would have cheered a thought of woe,
    When now the day began to dip,
    The night began to lower
    Over the bay, and over the ship
    Mayflower.

  20. The Peace Message

    by Burton Egbert Stevenson. On March 16 an Indian came into the hamlet, and in broken English bade the strangers "Welcome." He said his name was Samoset, that he came from Monhegan, distant five days' journey toward the southeast, where he had learned something of the language from the crews of fishing-boats, and that he was an envoy from "the greatest commander in the country," a sachem named Massasoit. Massasoit himself appeared a few days later (March 21), and a treaty offensive and defensive was entered into, which remained in force for fifty-four years.

    At the door of his hut sat Massasoit,
    And his face was lined with care,
    For the Yellow Pest had stalked from the West
    And swept his wigwams bare;
    Mother and child had it stricken down,
    And the warrior in his pride,
    Till for one that lived when the plague was past,
    A full half-score had died.

    Now from the Eastern Shore there came
    Word of a white-skinned race
    Who had risen from out the mighty deep
    In search of a dwelling-place.
    Houses they fashioned of tree and stone,
    Turkey and deer they slew
    With a breath of flame like the lightning-flash
    Of the great God, Manitu.

    Was it war or peace? The Chief looked round
    On the wreck of his mighty band.
    His heart was sad as he rose from the ground
    And held on high his hand.
    "We must treat with the stranger, my children," he said,
    And he called to him Samoset:
    "You will go to the men on the Eastern Shore
    With wampum and calumet."

    Warm was the welcome he received,
    For the Pilgrims' hearts did thrill
    At the message he brought from Massasoit,
    With its earnest of good-will.
    They bade him eat and they bade him drink,
    Gave bracelet, knife, and ring,
    And sent him again to Monhegan
    To lay them before his king.

    So the treaty was made, and the treaty was kept
    For fifty years and four;
    The white men wrought, and waked, and slept
    Secure on the Eastern Shore;
    From the door of his hut, old Massasoit
    Noted their swift increase,
    And blessed the day he had sent that way
    His messenger of peace.

  21. The Pilgrim Fathers

    by William Wordsworth. The ship Mayflower, bearing the Pilgrims, sailed from Southampton, England, Sept. 6, 1620.

    I
    Well worthy to be magnified are they
    Who, with sad hearts, of friends and country took
    A last farewell, their loved abodes forsook,
    And hallowed ground in which their fathers lay;
    Then to the new-found World explored their way,
    That so a Church, unforced, uncalled to brook
    Ritual restraints, within some sheltering nook
    Her Lord might worship and His word obey
    In freedom. Men they were who could not bend;
    Blest Pilgrims, surely, as they took for guide
    A will by sovereign Conscience sanctified;
    Blest while their Spirits from the woods ascend
    Along a Galaxy that knows no end,
    But in His glory who for Sinners died.

    II
    From Rite and Ordinance abused they fled
    To Wilds where both were utterly unknown;
    But not to them had Providence foreshown
    What benefits are missed, what evils bred,
    In worship neither raised nor limited
    Save by Self-will. Lo! from that distant shore,
    For Rite and Ordinance, Piety is led
    Back to the Land those Pilgrims left of yore,
    Led by her own free choice. So Truth and Love
    By Conscience governed do their steps retrace.—
    Fathers! your Virtues, such the power of grace,
    Their spirit, in your Children, thus approve.
    Transcendent over time, unbound by place,
    Concord and Charity in circles move.

  22. The Founding of Plymouth

    by William Bradford

    When we came first, we were in number small,
    Not much above a hundred, in all;
    And in a number, we did here arrive,
    And, by God's mercy, were all brought alive.
    But when we came, here was no house nor town,
    Nor certain place we knew, where to sit down,
    Nor any friends, of whom we could expect
    Us for to help, or any way direct.
    Some forth were sent, to seek a place fitting,
    Where we might harbor, and make our dwelling.
    But in a place, where one cold night they lay,
    They were assaulted, about break of day,
    By these Indians, with great clamor loud,
    Whose arrows fell, like to a dropping cloud.
    Yet none were hurt, though some had clothes shot through;
    But them repelled, from this their rendezvous,
    And, with their musket, made them fly and run;
    So that long after none at us would come.
    But now sharp winter storms came us upon,
    So here we made our habitation;
    And till such time as we could houses get,
    We were exposed to much cold and wet,
    With such disease as our distempers bred;
    So that within the space of three months' tide,
    The full half of our weak company died;
    And the condition of the rest was sad,
    But the Lord compassion on them had,
    And them again to health and strength restored,
    And cheered them up; with courage as before,
    And hath enabled them for to go on,
    And, with comfort, the work to lead along.
    And many of them still there be,
    And some their children's children married see.
    Famine once we had, wanting corn and bread;
    But other things God gave us in the stead,
    As fish and ground-nuts to supply our strait,
    That we might learn on Providence to wait,
    And know, by bread man lives not in his need,
    But by each word that doth from God proceed.
    But a while after, plenty did come in,
    From His hand only, who doth pardon sin;
    And all did flourish, like the pleasant green,
    Which, in the joyful spring, is to be seen.

  23. Our Country

    by Julia Ward Howe

    On primal rocks she wrote her name;
    Her towers were reared on holy graves;
    The golden seed that bore her came
    Swift-winged with prayer o’er ocean waves.

    The Forest bowed his solemn crest,
    And open flung his sylvan doors;
    Meek Rivers led the appointed guest
    To clasp the wide-embracing shores;

    Till, fold by fold, the broidered land
    To swell her virgin vestments grew,
    While sages, strong in heart and hand,
    Her virtue’s fiery girdle drew.

    O Exile of the wrath of kings!
    O Pilgrim Ark of Liberty!
    The refuge of divinest things,
    Their record must abide in thee!

    First in the glories of thy front
    Let the crown-jewel, Truth, be found;
    Thy right hand fling, with generous wont,
    Love’s happy chain to farthest bound!

    Let Justice, with the faultless scales,
    Hold fast the worship of thy sons;
    Thy Commerce spread her shining sails
    Where no dark tide of rapine runs!

    So link thy ways to those of God,
    So follow firm the heavenly laws,
    That stars may greet thee, warrior-browed,
    And storm-sped angels hail thy cause!

    O Land, the measure of our prayers,
    Hope of the world in grief and wrong,
    Be thine the tribute of the years,
    The gift of Faith, the crown of Song!

  24. Roger Williams

    by Hezekiah Butterworth. One of the earliest to feel the displeasure of the ruling powers of the Colony was Roger Williams, who came to Boston in 1631. He made himself obnoxious to the government by denying the right of the magistrates to punish Sabbath breaking; and continued to occasion so much excitement that it was decided to send him back to England. Williams got wind of this, and took to the woods in January, 1636.

    January, 1636

    Why do I sleep amid the snows,
    Why do the pine boughs cover me,
    While dark the wind of winter blows
    Across the Narragansett's sea?

    O sense of right! O sense of right,
    Whate'er my lot in life may be,
    Thou art to me God's inner light,
    And these tired feet must follow thee.

    Yes, still my feet must onward go,
    With nothing for my hope but prayer,
    Amid the winds, amid the snow,
    And trust the ravens of the air.

    But though alone, and grieved at heart,
    Bereft of human brotherhood,
    I trust the whole, and not the part,
    And know that Providence is good.

    Self-sacrifice is never lost.
    But bears the seed of its reward;
    They who for others leave the most,
    For others gain the most from God.

    O sense of right! I must obey,
    And hope and trust, whate'er betide;
    I cannot always know my way,
    But I can always know my Guide.

    And so for me the winter blows
    Across the Narragansett's sea,
    And so I sleep beneath the snows,
    And so the pine boughs cover me.

  25. God Makes a Path

    by Roger Williams. Williams had a hard time of it. Thirty years later, he related how he was "sorely tossed for fourteen weeks in a bitter winter season, not knowing what bread or bed did mean."

    God makes a path, provides a guide,
    And feeds in wilderness;
    His glorious name, while breath remains,
    O that I may confess.

    Lost many a time, I had no guide,
    No house but hollow tree;
    In stormy winter night, no fire,
    No food, no company.

    In Him I found a house, a bed,
    A table, company;
    No cup so bitter but made sweet,
    Where God shall sweetening be.

  26. The Minutemen of Northboro

    by Wallace Rice

    'Tis noonday by the buttonwood, with slender-shadowed bud;
    'Tis April by the Assabet, whose banks scarce hold his flood;
    When down the road from Marlboro' we hear a sound of speed —
    A cracking whip and clanking hoofs — a case of crying need!
    And there a dusty rider hastes to tell of flowing blood,
    Of troops a-field, of war abroad, and many a desperate deed.

    The Minute-Men of Northboro' were gathering that day
    To hear the Parson talk of God, of Freedom and the State;
    They throng about the horseman, drinking in all he should say,
    Beside the perfumed lilacs blooming by the Parson's gate:

    "The British march from Boston through the night to Lexington;
    Revere alarms the countryside to meet them ere the sun;
    Upon the common, in the dawn, the redcoat butchers slay;
    On concord march, and there again pursue their murderous way;
    We drive them back; we follow on; they have begun to run:
    All Middlesex and Worcester's up: Pray God, ours is the day!"

    The Minute-Men of Northboro' let rust the standing plough,
    The seed may wait, the fertile ground up-smiling to the spring.
    They seize their guns and powder-horns; there is no halting now,
    At thought of homes made fatherless by order of the King.

    The pewter-ware is melted into bullets — long past due,
    The flints are picked, the powder's dry, the rifles shine like new.
    Within their Captain's yard enranked they hear the Parson's prayer
    Unto the God of armies for the battles they must share;
    He asks that to their Fathers and their Altars they be true,
    For Country and for Liberty unswervingly to dare.

    The Minute-Men of Northboro' set out with drum and fife;
    With shining eyes they've blest their babes and bid their wives good-by.
    The hands that here release the plough have taken up a strife
    That shall not end until all earth has heard the battle-cry.

    At every town new streams of men join in the mighty flow;
    At every crossroad comes the message of a fleeing foe:
    The British force, though trebled, fails against the advancing tide.
    Our rifles speak from fence and tree — in front, on every side.
    The British fall: the Minute-Men have mixed with bitterest woe
    Their late vainglorious vaunting and their military pride.

    The Minute-Men of Northboro' they boast no martial air;
    No uniforms gleam in the sun where on and on they plod;
    But generations yet unborn their valor shall declare;
    They strike for Massachusetts Bay; they serve New England's God.

    The hirelings who would make us slaves themselves are backward hurled,
    On Worcester and on Middlesex their flag's forever furled.
    Theirs was the glinting pomp of war; ours is the victor's prize:
    That day of bourgeoning has seen a race of freemen rise.
    A Nation born in fearlessness stands forth before the world
    With God her shield, the Right her sword, and Freedom in her eyes.

    The Minute-Men of Northboro' sit down by Boston-town;
    They fight and bleed at Bunker Hill; they cheer for Washington.
    In thankfulness they speed their bolt against the British Crown;
    And take the plough again in peace, their warrior's duty done.

  27. The Green Mountain Boys

    by William Cullen Bryant

    I
    Here we halt our march, and pitch our tent
    On the rugged forest ground,
    And light our fire with the branches rent
    By winds from the beeches round.
    Wild storms have torn this ancient wood,
    But a wilder is at hand,
    With hail of iron and rain of blood,
    To sweep and waste the land.

    II
    How the dark wood rings with voices shrill,
    That startle the sleeping bird;
    To-morrow eve must the voice be still,
    And the step must fall unheard.
    The Briton lies by the blue Champlain,
    In Ticonderoga's towers,
    And ere the sun rise twice again,
    The towers and the lake are ours.

    III
    Fill up the bowl from the brook that glides
    Where the fireflies light the brake;
    A ruddier juice the Briton hides
    In his fortress by the lake.
    Build high the fire, till the panther leap
    From his lofty perch in flight,
    And we'll strenghten our weary arms with sleep
    For the deeds of to-morrow night.

  28. Across the Deleware

    by Will Carleton

    The winter night is cold and drear,
    Along the river's sullen flow;
    The cruel frost is camping here —
    The air has living blades of snow.
    Look! pushing from the icy strand,
    With ensigns freezing in the air,
    There sails a small but mighty band,
    Across the dang'rous Delaware.

    Oh, wherefore, soldiers, would you fight
    The bayonets of a winter storm?
    In truth it were a better night
    For blazing fire and blankets warm!
    We seek to trap a foreign foe,
    Who fill themselves with stolen fare;
    We carry freedom as we go
    Across the storm-swept Delaware!

    The night is full of lusty cheer
    Within the Hessians' merry camp;
    And faint and fainter on the ear
    Doth fall the heedless sentry's tramp.
    O hirelings, this new nation's rage
    Is something 't is not well to dare;
    You are not fitted to engage
    These men from o'er the Delaware!

    A rush — a shout — a clarion call,
    Salute the early morning's gray:
    Now, roused invaders, yield or fall:
    The refuge-land has won the day!
    Soon shall the glorious news be hurled
    Wherever men have wrongs to bear;
    For freedom's torch illumes the world,
    And God has crossed the Delaware!

  29. Molly Pitcher

    by Kate Brownlee Sherwood

    'T was hurry and scurry at Monmouth town,
    For Lee was beating a wild retreat;
    The British were riding the Yankees down,
    And panic was pressing on flying feet.

    Galloping down like a hurricane
    Washington rode with his sword swung high,
    Mighty as he of the Trojan plain
    Fired by a courage from the sky.

    “Halt, and stand to your guns!” he cried.
    And a bombardier made swift reply.
    Wheeling his cannon into the tide,
    He fell 'neath the shot of a foeman nigh.

    Molly Pitcher sprang to his side,
    Fired as she saw her husband do.
    Telling the king in his stubborn pride
    Women like men to their homes are true.

    Washington rode from the bloody fray
    Up to the gun that a woman manned.
    “Molly Pitcher, you saved the day,”
    He said, as he gave her a hero's hand.

    He named her sergeant with manly praise,
    While her war-brown face was wet with tears—
    A woman has ever a woman's ways,
    And the army was wild with cheers.

  30. Molly Pitcher

    by Laura E. Richards

    All day the great guns barked and roared;
    All day the big balls screeched and soared;
    All day, 'mid the sweating gunners grim,
    Who toiled in their smoke-shroud dense and dim,
    Sweet Molly labored with courage high,
    With steady hand and watchfull eye,
    Till the day was ours, and the sinking sun
    looked down on the field of Monmouth won,
    And Molly standing beside her gun.

    Now, Molly, rest your weary arm!
    Safe, Molly, all is safe from harm,
    Now, woman, bow your aching head,
    And weep in sorrow o'er your dead!

    Next day on that field so hardly won,
    Stately and calm stands Washington,
    And looks where our gallant Greene doth lead
    A figure clad in motley weed —
    A soldier's cap and a soldier's coat
    Masking a woman's petticoat.
    He greets our Molly in kindly wise'
    He bids her raise her tearful eyes;
    And now he hails her before them all
    Comrade and soidier, whate'er befall,
    "And since she has played a man's full part,
    A man's reward for her loyal heart!
    And Sergeant Molly Pitcher's name
    Be writ henceforth on the shield of fame!"

    Oh, Molly, with your eyes so blue!
    Oh, Molly, Molly, Here's to you!
    Sweet honor's roll will aye be richer
    To hold the name of Molly Pitcher.

  31. News from Yorktown

    by Lewis Worthington Smith

    "Past two o'clock and Cornwallis is taken."
    How the voice rolled down the street
    Till the silence rang and echoed
    With the stir of hurrying feet!
    In the hush of the Quaker city,
    As the night drew on to morn,
    How it startled the troubled sleepers,
    Like the cry for a man-child born!

    "Past two o'clock and Cornwallis is taken."
    How they gathered, man and maid,
    Here the child with a heart for the flint-lock,
    There the trembling grandsire staid!
    From the stateliest homes of the city,
    From hovels that love might scorn,
    How they followed that ringing summons.
    Like the cry for a king's heir born!

    "Past two o'clock and Cornwallis is taken."
    I can see the quick lights flare,
    See the glad, wild face at the window,
    Half dumb in a breathless stare.
    In the pause of an hour portentous,
    In the gloom of a hope forlorn,
    How it throbbed to the star-deep heavens,
    Like the cry for a nation born!

    "Past two o'clock and Cornwallis is taken."
    How the message is sped and gone
    To the farm and the town and the forest
    Till the world was one vast dawn!
    To distant and slave-sunk races,
    Bowed down in their chains that morn,
    How it swept on the winds of heaven,
    Like a cry for God's justice born!

  32. England and America in 1782

    by Alfred Tennyson

    O thou, that sendest out the man
    To rule by land and sea,
    Strong mother of a Lion-line,
    Be proud of those strong sons of thine
    Who wrench’d their rights from thee!

    What wonder if in noble heat
    Those men thine arms withstood,
    Retaught the lesson thou hadst taught,
    And in thy spirit with thee fought—
    Who sprang from English blood!

    But thou rejoice with liberal joy,
    Lift up thy rocky face,
    And shatter, when the storms are black,
    In many a streaming torrent back,
    The seas that shock thy base!

    Whatever harmonies of law
    The growing world assume,
    Thy work is thine—the single note
    From that deep chord which Hampden smote
    Will vibrate to the doom.

  33. Horatius at the Bridge

    by Thomas B. Macaulay.

    Lars Porsena of Clusium,
    By the Nine Gods he swore
    That the great house of Tarquin
    Should suffer wrong no more.
    By the Nine Gods he swore it,
    And named a trysting-day,
    And bade his messengers ride forth,
    East and west and south and north,
    To summon his array.

    East and west and south and north
    The messengers ride fast,
    And tower and town and cottage
    Have heard the trumpet's blast.
    Shame on the false Etruscan
    Who lingers in his home
    When Porsena of Clusium
    Is on the march for Rome!

    The horsemen and the footmen
    Are pouring in amain,
    From many a stately market-place,
    From many a fruitful plain;
    From many a lonely hamlet,
    Which, hid by beech and pine,
    Like an eagle's nest, hangs on the crest
    Of purple Apennine.

    The harvests of Arretium,
    This year, old men shall reap;
    This year, young boys in Umbro
    Shall plunge the struggling sheep;
    And in the vats of Luna,
    This year, the must shall foam
    Round the white feet of laughing girls
    Whose sires have marched to Rome.

    There be thirty chosen prophets,
    The wisest of the land,
    Who alway by Lars Porsena
    Both morn and evening stand:
    Evening and morn the Thirty
    Have turned the verses o'er,
    Traced from the right on linen white
    By mighty seers of yore.

    And with one voice the Thirty
    Have their glad answer given:
    "Go forth, go forth, Lars Porsena;
    Go forth, beloved of Heaven;
    Go, and return in glory
    To Clusium's royal dome;
    And hang round Nurscia's altarsv The golden shields of Rome."

    And now hath every city
    Sent up her tale of men;
    The foot are fourscore thousand,
    The horse are thousands ten.
    Before the gates of Sutrium
    Is met the great array.
    A proud man was Lars Porsena
    Upon the trysting-day.

    For all the Etruscan armies
    Were ranged beneath his eye,
    And many a banished Roman,
    And many a stout ally;
    And with a mighty following
    To join the muster came
    The Tusculan Mamilius,
    Prince of the Latian name.

    But by the yellow Tiber
    Was tumult and affright:
    From all the spacious champaign
    To Rome men took their flight.
    A mile around the city,
    The throng stopped up the ways;
    A fearful sight it was to see
    Through two long nights and days.

    Now, from the rock Tarpeian,
    Could the wan burghers spy
    The line of blazing villages
    Red in the midnight sky.
    The Fathers of the City,
    They sat all night and day,
    For every hour some horseman came
    With tidings of dismay.

    To eastward and to westward
    Have spread the Tuscan bands;
    Nor house, nor fence, nor dovecot,
    In Crustumerium stands.
    Verbenna down to Ostia
    Hath wasted all the plain;
    Astur hath stormed Janiculum,
    And the stout guards are slain.

    I wis, in all the Senate,
    There was no heart so bold,
    But sore it ached, and fast it beat,
    When that ill news was told.
    Forthwith up rose the Consul,
    Up rose the Fathers all;
    In haste they girded up their gowns,
    And hied them to the wall.

    They held a council standing
    Before the River Gate;
    Short time was there, ye well may guess,
    For musing or debate.
    Out spoke the Consul roundly:
    "The bridge must straight go down;
    For, since Janiculum is lost,
    Naught else can save the town."

    Just then a scout came flying,
    All wild with haste and fear:
    "To arms! to arms! Sir Consul;
    Lars Porsena is here."
    On the low hills to westward
    The Consul fixed his eye,
    And saw the swarthy storm of dust
    Rise fast along the sky.

    And nearer, fast, and nearer
    Doth the red whirlwind come;
    And louder still, and still more loud,
    From underneath that rolling cloud,
    Is heard the trumpet's war-note proud,
    The trampling and the hum.
    And plainly and more plainly
    Now through the gloom appears,
    Far to left and far to right,
    In broken gleams of dark-blue light,
    The long array of helmets bright,
    The long array of spears.

    And plainly and more plainly,
    Above the glimmering line,
    Now might ye see the banners
    Of twelve fair cities shine;
    But the banner of proud Clusium
    Was the highest of them all,
    The terror of the Umbrian,
    The terror of the Gaul.

    Fast by the royal standard,
    O'erlooking all the war,
    Lars Porsena of Clusium
    Sat in his ivory car.
    By the right wheel rode Mamilius,
    Prince of the Latian name,
    And by the left false Sextus,
    That wrought the deed of shame.

    But when the face of Sextus
    Was seen among the foes,
    A yell that rent the firmament
    From all the town arose.
    On the house-tops was no woman
    But spat toward him and hissed,
    No child but screamed out curses,
    And shook its little fist.

    But the Consul's brow was sad,
    And the Consul's speech was low,
    And darkly looked he at the wall,
    And darkly at the foe.
    "Their van will be upon us
    Before the bridge goes down;
    And if they once may win the bridge,
    What hope to save the town?"

    Then out spake brave Horatius,
    The Captain of the Gate:
    "To every man upon this earth
    Death cometh soon or late;
    And how can man die better
    Than facing fearful odds,
    For the ashes of his fathers,
    And the temples of his gods.

    "And for the tender mother
    Who dandled him to rest,
    And for the wife who nurses
    His baby at her breast,
    And for the holy maidens
    Who feed the eternal flame,
    To save them from false Sextus
    That wrought the deed of shame?

    "Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
    With all the speed ye may;
    I, with two more to help me,
    Will hold the foe in play.
    In yon straight path a thousand
    May well be stopped by three.
    Now who will stand on either hand,
    And keep the bridge with me?"

    Then out spake Spurius Lartius—
    A Ramnian proud was he—
    I will stand at thy right hand,
    And keep the bridge with thee."
    And out spake strong Herminius—
    Of Titian blood was he—
    "I will abide on thy left side,
    And keep the bridge with thee."

    "Horatius," quoth the Consul,
    "As thou say'st, so let it be,"
    And straight against that great array
    Forth went the dauntless Three.
    For Romans in Rome's quarrel
    Spared neither land nor gold,
    Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life,
    In the brave days of old.

    Now while the Three were tightening
    Their harness on their backs,
    The Consul was the foremost man
    To take in hand an ax;
    And Fathers mixed with Commons
    Seized hatchet, bar, and crow,
    And smote upon the planks above,
    And loosed the props below.
    Meanwhile the Tuscan army,
    Right glorious to behold,
    Came flashing back the noonday light,
    Rank behind rank, like surges bright
    Of a broad sea of gold.

    Four hundred trumpets sounded
    A peal of warlike glee,
    As that great host, with measured tread,
    And spears advanced, and ensigns spread,
    Rolled slowly toward the bridge's head,
    Where stood the dauntless Three.

    The Three stood calm and silent,
    And looked upon the foes,
    And a great shout of laughter
    From all the vanguard rose:
    And forth three chiefs came spurring
    Before that deep array;
    To earth they sprang, their swords they drew,
    And lifted high their shields, and flew
    To win the narrow way;

    Aunus from green Tifernum,
    Lord of the Hill of Vines;
    And Seius, whose eight hundred slaves
    Sicken in Ilva's mines;
    And Picus, long to Clusium
    Vassal in peace and war,
    Who led to fight his Umbrian powers
    From that gray crag where, girt with towers,
    The fortress of Nequinum lowers
    O'er the pale waves of Nar.

    Stout Lartius hurled down Aunus
    Into the stream beneath;
    Herminius struck at Seius,
    And clove him to the teeth;
    At Picus brave Horatius
    Darted one fiery thrust;
    And the proud Umbrian's gilded arms
    Clashed in the bloody dust.

    Then Ocnus of Falerii
    Rushed on the Roman Three;
    And Lausulus of Urgo,
    The rover of the sea;
    And Aruns of Volsinium,
    Who slew the great wild boar,
    The great wild boar that had his den
    Amid the reeds of Cosa's fen.
    And wasted fields and slaughtered men
    Along Albinia's shore.

    Herminius smote down Aruns;
    Lartius laid Ocnus low;
    Right to the heart of Lausulus
    Horatius sent a blow.
    "Lie there," he cried, "fell pirate!
    No more, aghast and pale,
    From Ostia's walls the crowd shall mark
    The tracks of thy destroying bark,
    No more Campania's hinds shall fly
    To woods and caverns when they spy
    Thy thrice accurséd sail."

    But now no sound of laughter
    Was heard among the foes.
    A wild and wrathful clamour
    From all the vanguard rose.
    Six spears' length from the entrance
    Halted that deep array,
    And for a space no man came forth
    To win the narrow way.

    But hark! the cry is Astur:
    And lo! the ranks divide;
    And the great Lord of Luna
    Comes with his stately stride.
    Upon his ample shoulders
    Clangs loud the fourfold shield,
    And in his hand he shakes the brand
    Which none but he can wield.

    He smiled on those bold Romans,
    A smile serene and high;
    He eyed the flinching Tuscans,
    And scorn was in his eye.
    Quoth he: "The she-wolf's litter
    Stand savagely at bay;
    But will ye dare to follow,
    If Astur clears the way?"

    Then, whirling up his broadsword
    With both hands to the height,
    He rushed against Horatius,
    And smote with all his might.
    With shield and blade Horatius
    Right deftly turned the blow.
    The blow, though turned, came yet too nigh;
    It missed his helm, but gashed his thigh:
    The Tuscans raised a joyful cry
    To see the red blood flow.

    He reeled, and on Herminius
    He leaned one breathing space;
    Then, like a wildcat mad with wounds,
    Sprang right at Astur's face.
    Through teeth, and skull, and helmet,
    So fierce a thrust he sped,
    The good sword stood a handbreadth out
    Behind the Tuscan's head.

    And the great Lord of Luna
    Fell at the deadly stroke,
    As falls on Mount Alvernus
    A thunder-smitten oak.
    Far o'er the crashing forest
    The giant arms lie spread;
    And the pale augurs, muttering low,
    Gaze on the blasted head.

    On Astur's throat Horatius
    Right firmly pressed his heel,
    And thrice and four times tugged amain
    Ere he wrenched out the steel.
    "And see," he cried, "the welcome,
    Fair guests, that waits you here!
    What noble Lucumo comes next
    To taste our Roman cheer?"

    But at his haughty challenge
    A sullen murmur ran,
    Mingled of wrath, and shame, and dread,
    Along that glittering van.
    There lacked not men of prowess,
    Nor men of lordly race;
    For all Etruria's noblest
    Were round the fatal place.

    But all Etruria's noblest
    Felt their hearts sink to see
    On the earth the bloody corpses,
    In the path the dauntless Three:
    And, from the ghastly entrance
    Where those bold Romans stood,
    All shrank, like boys who unaware,
    Ranging the woods to start a hare,
    Come to the mouth of the dark lair
    Where, growling low, a fierce old bear
    Lies amid bones and blood.

    Was none who would be foremost
    To lead such dire attack?
    But those behind cried "Forward!"
    And those before cried "Back!"
    And backward now and forward
    Wavers the deep array;
    And on the tossing sea of steel
    To and fro the standards reel;
    And the victorious trumpet peal
    Dies fitfully away.

    Yet one man for one moment Strode out before the crowd;
    Well known was he to all the Three, And they gave him greeting loud:
    "Now welcome, welcome, Sextus! Now welcome to thy home!
    Why dost thou stay, and turn away? Here lies the road to Rome."

    Thrice looked he at the city;
    Thrice looked he at the dead;
    And thrice came on in fury,
    And thrice turned back in dread:
    And, white with fear and hatred,
    Scowled at the narrow way
    Where, wallowing in a pool of blood,
    The bravest Tuscans lay.

    But meanwhile ax and lever
    Have manfully been plied,
    And now the bridge hangs tottering
    Above the boiling tide.
    "Come back, come back, Horatius!"
    Loud cried the Fathers all.
    "Back, Lartius! Back, Herminius!
    Back, ere the ruin fall!"

    Back darted Spurius Lartius;
    Herminius darted back:
    And, as they passed, beneath their feet
    They felt the timbers crack.
    But when they turned their faces,
    And on the farther shore
    Saw brave Horatius stand alone,
    They would have crossed once more.

    But with a crash like thunder
    Fell every loosened beam,
    And, like a dam, the mighty wreck
    Lay right athwart the stream;
    And a long shout of triumph
    Rose from the walls of Rome,
    As to the highest turret tops
    Was splashed the yellow foam.

    And, like a horse unbroken
    When first he feels the rein,
    The furious river struggled hard,
    And tossed his tawny mane;
    And burst the curb, and bounded,
    Rejoicing to be free,
    And whirling down, in fierce career,
    Battlement, and plank, and pier,
    Rushed headlong to the sea.

    Alone stood brave Horatius,
    But constant still in mind;
    Thrice thirty thousand foes before,
    And the broad flood behind.
    "Down with him!" cried false Sextus,
    With a smile on his pale face.
    "Now yield thee," cried Lars Porsena,
    "Now yield thee to our grace."

    Round turned he, as not deigning
    Those craven ranks to see;
    Naught spake he to Lars Porsena,
    To Sextus naught spake he;
    But he saw on Palatinus
    The white porch of his home;
    And he spake to the noble river
    That rolls by the towers of Rome:

    "O Tiber! Father Tiber!
    To whom the Romans pray,
    A Roman's life, a Roman's arms,
    Take thou in charge this day!"
    So he spake, and speaking sheathed
    The good sword by his side,
    And, with his harness on his back,
    Plunged headlong in the tide.

    No sound of joy or sorrow
    Was heard from either bank;
    But friends and foes in dumb surprise,
    With parted lips and straining eyes,
    Stood gazing where he sank;
    And when above the surges
    They saw his crest appear,
    All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry,
    And even the ranks of Tuscany
    Could scarce forbear to cheer.

    And fiercely ran the current,
    Swollen high by months of rain;
    And fast his blood was flowing,
    And he was sore in pain,
    And heavy with his armour,
    And spent with changing blows:
    And oft they thought him sinking,
    But still again he rose.

    Never, I ween, did swimmer,
    In such an evil case,
    Struggle through such a raging flood
    Safe to the landing place;
    But his limbs were borne up bravely
    By the brave heart within,
    And our good Father Tiber
    Bore bravely up his chin.

    "Curse on him!" quoth false Sextus;
    "Will not the villain drown?
    But for this stay, ere close of day
    We should have sacked the town!"
    "Heaven help him!" quoth Lars Porsena,
    "And bring him safe to shore;
    For such a gallant feat of arms
    Was never seen before."

    And now he feels the bottom;
    Now on dry earth he stands;
    Now round him throng the Fathers
    To press his gory hands;
    And now with shouts and clapping,
    And noise of weeping loud,
    He enters through the River Gate,
    Borne by the joyous crowd.

    They gave him of the corn land,
    That was of public right.
    As much as two strong oxen
    Could plow from morn till night:
    And they made a molten image,
    And set it up on high,
    And there it stands unto this day
    To witness if I lie.

    It stands in the Comitium,
    Plain for all folk to see,—
    Horatius in his harness,
    Halting upon one knee:
    And underneath is written,
    In letters all of gold,
    How valiantly he kept the bridge
    In the brave days of old.

    And still his name sounds stirring
    Unto the men of Rome,
    As the trumpet blast that cries to them
    To charge the Volscian home;
    And wives still pray to Juno
    For boys with hearts as bold
    As his who kept the bridge so well
    In the brave days of old.

    And in the nights of winter,
    When the cold north winds blow,
    And the long howling of the wolves
    Is heard amid the snow;
    When round the lonely cottage
    Roars loud the tempest's din,
    And the good logs of Algidus
    Roar louder yet within;

    When the oldest cask is opened,
    And the largest lamp is lit;
    When the chestnuts glow in the embers,
    And the kid turns on the spit;
    When young and old in circle
    Around the firebrands close;
    When the girls are weaving baskets,
    And the lads are shaping bows;

    When the goodman mends his armour,
    And trims his helmet's plume;
    When the goodwife's shuttle merrily
    Goes flashing through the loom,—
    With weeping and with laughter
    Still is the story told,
    How well Horatius kept the bridge
    In the brave days of old.

  34. The Charge of the Light Brigade

    by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    “Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns!” he said.
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
    Was there a man dismayed?
    Not though the soldier knew
    Someone had blundered.
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of hell
    Rode the six hundred.
    ...

    Flashed all their sabres bare,
    Flashed as they turned in air
    Sabring the gunners there,
    Charging an army, while
    All the world wondered.
    Plunged in the battery-smoke
    Right through the line they broke;
    Cossack and Russian
    Reeled from the sabre stroke
    Shattered and sundered.
    Then they rode back, but not
    Not the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon behind them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed at with shot and shell,
    While horse and hero fell.
    They that had fought so well
    Came through the jaws of Death,
    Back from the mouth of hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred.

    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wondered.
    Honour the charge they made!
    Honour the Light Brigade,
    Noble six hundred!