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Thanksgiving Poems

Table of Contents

Giving Thanks

  1. How to Observe Thanksgiving by Anonymous
  2. Be Thankful by Anonymous
  3. Thanksgiving Is.... by Anonymous
  4. Thanksgiving by Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer
  5. Giving Thanks by Anonymous
  6. Thanksgiving for Thanksgiving by Amos Russel Wells
  7. Praise for God by Amos Russel Wells
  8. Thanksgiving by William Stanley Braithwaite
  9. A Thanksgiving Litany by Amonymous
  10. Thanksgiving by Ed Blair
  11. The Selkirk Grace by Robert Burns

Thanksgiving Day Poems

  1. A Thanksgiving Dinner by Maude M. Grant
  2. Thanksgiving Time by Anonymous
  3. The New-England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day by Lydia Maria Child
  4. Holiday Letters by Anonymous
  5. A Thanksgiving Alphabet by Anonymous
  6. Thanksgiving Day by Emily Dickinson
  7. Thanksgiving by Anonymous
  8. The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Edgar Albert Guest
  9. Thanksgiving by Edgar Albert Guest
  10. At Grandma's House by Anonymous

Pilgrim Poems

  1. The Pilgrims Came by Anonymous
  2. Boy and Girl of Plymouth by Helen L. Smith
  3. Five Kernals of Corn by Hezekiah Butterworth
  4. The Pilgrims' Fast by Mary Gardiner Horsford
  5. The Pilgrim Fathers by Ralph H. Shaw
  6. The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers by Felicia Dorothea Hemans
  7. The Twenty-Second of December by William Cullen Bryant
  8. First Landing of the Pilgrims by Robert Southey
  9. Robinson of Leyden by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Giving Thanks

  1. How to Observe Thanksgiving

    Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
    Count your gains instead of your losses.

    - Anonymous
    How to Observe Thanksgiving
    by Anonymous

    Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
    Count your gains instead of your losses.
    Count your joys instead of your woes;
    Count your friends instead of your foes.
    Count your smiles instead of your tears;
    Count your courage instead of your fears.
    Count your full years instead of your lean;
    Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
    Count your health instead of your wealth;
    Count on God instead of yourself.

  2. Be Thankful

    by Anonymous

    Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
    If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

    Be thankful when you don't know something,
    for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

    Be thankful for the difficult times.
    During those times you grow.

    Be thankful for your limitations,
    because they give you opportunities for improvement.

    Be thankful for each new challenge,
    because it will build your strength and character.

    Be thankful for your mistakes.
    They will teach you valuable lessons.

    Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
    because it means you've made a difference.

    It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
    A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
    are also thankful for the setbacks.

    Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
    Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
    and they can become your blessings.

  3. Thanksgiving Is....

    by Anonymous

    Thanksgiving is
    A time of gratitude to God, our Creator and Provider,
    Whose guidance and care go before us.
    And whose love is with us forever.

    Thanksgiving is
    A time to reflect on the changes,
    To remember that we, too, grow and change
    From one season of life to another.

    Thanksgiving is
    A time of changing seasons,
    When leaves turn golden
    In Autumn's wake and apples are crisp
    In the first chill breezes of fall.

    Let us remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
    As we see the beauty of Autumn,
    Let us acknowledge the many blessings which are ours...
    Let us think of our families and friends
    And let us give thanks in our hearts.

  4. Thanksgiving

    Thankful for all things let us be,
    Though there be woes and misery;
    Lessons they bring us for our good—
    Later 'twill all be understood.

    - Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer
    Thanksgiving
    by Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer

    Let us give thanks to God above,
    Thanks for expressions of His love,
    Seen in the book of nature, grand
    Taught by His love on every hand.

    Let us be thankful in our hearts,
    Thankful for all the truth imparts,
    For the religion of our Lord,
    All that is taught us in His word.

    Let us be thankful for a land,
    That will for such religion stand;
    One that protects it by the law,
    One that before it stands in awe.

    Thankful for all things let us be,
    Though there be woes and misery;
    Lessons they bring us for our good—
    Later 'twill all be understood.

    Thankful for peace o'er land and sea,
    Thankful for signs of liberty,
    Thankful for homes, for life and health,
    Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.

    Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
    Thankful for all things, good and true,
    Thankful for harvest in the fall,
    Thankful to Him who gave it all.

  5. Giving Thanks

    by Anonymous

    For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
    For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
    For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
    For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home —
    Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

    For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,
    For the cunning and strength of the workingman's hand,
    For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
    For the friendship that hope and affection have brought —
    Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

    For the homes that with purest affection are blest,
    For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,
    For our country extending from sea unto sea;
    The land that is known as the "Land of the Free" —
    Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

  6. Thanksgiving for Thanksgiving

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I thank Thee, Father, once again
    For many blessings gladly known,
    And many more beyond my ken
    That Thou dost see and Thou alone;
    But most of all my heart I raise
    To praise Thee for the power to praise.

    Thy bounty, it is wondrous kind;
    But oh, the smiling of Thy face!
    My life is all in love designed,
    But Thou Thyself art grace of grace,—
    Thyself, oh, infinitely more
    Than all Thy bounty's golden store.

    That I can feel Thy Fatherhood,
    That I can press my hand in Thine,
    That I can know that Thou art good,
    And all Thy power is love divine,—
    This knowledge every bliss outranks;
    I thank Thee for the gift of thanks.

  7. Praise for God

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I thank Thee for the stars that shine
    Supreme among the heavenly host;
    But Thou dost lead the golden line,
    And for Thyself I thank Thee most.

    I thank Thee for the loveliness
    That decks the wood the field the coast;
    But Thou of all that Thou dost bless,
    Art fairest and I praise Thee most.

    I thank Thee for majestic mind,
    The thought that seers and sages boast;
    But Thou dost lead Thy creatures blind,
    And for Thyself I thank Thee most.

    I praise Thee for man's mastery,
    Each gain another starting post;
    But all he finds in finding Thee,
    And for Thyself I praise Thee most.

  8. Thanksgiving

    by William Stanley Braithwaite

    My heart gives thanks for many things;
    For strength to labor day by day,
    For sleep that comes when darkness wings
    With evening up the eastern way.
    I give deep thanks that I'm at peace
    With kith and kin and neighbors, too —
    Dear Lord, for all last year's increase,
    That helped me strive and hope and do.

    My heart gives thanks for many things;
    I know not how to name them all.
    My soul is free from frets and stings,
    My mind from creed and doctrine's thrall.
    For sun and stars, for flowers and streams,
    For work and hope and rest and play —
    For empty moments given to dreams,
    For these my hear gives thanks to-day.

  9. Thanksgiving

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    We walk on starry fields of white
    And do not see the daisies;
    For blessings common in our sight
    We rarely offer praises.
    We sigh for some supreme delight
    To crown our lives with splendor,
    And quite ignore our daily store
    Of pleasures sweet and tender.

    Our cares are bold and push their way
    Upon our thought and feeling.
    They hang about us all the day,
    Our time from pleasure stealing.
    So unobtrusive many a joy
    We pass by and forget it,
    But worry strives to own our lives
    And conquers if we let it.

    There's not a day in all the year
    But holds some hidden pleasure,
    And looking back, joys oft appear
    To brim the past's wide measure.

    But blessings are like friends, I hold,
    Who love and labor near us.
    We ought to raise our notes of praise
    While living hearts can hear us.

    Full many a blessing wears the guise
    Of worry or of trouble.
    Farseeing is the soul and wise
    Who knows the mask is double.
    But he who has the faith and strength
    To thank his God for sorrow
    Has found a joy without alloy
    To gladden every morrow.

    We ought to make the moments notes
    Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
    The hours and days a silent phrase
    Of music we are living.
    And so the theme should swell and grow
    As weeks and months pass o'er us,
    And rise sublime at this good time,
    A grand Thanksgiving chorus.

  10. A Thanksgiving Litany

    I offer thanks to Thee,
    And pray Thee, pardon me!

    – Amonymous
    A Thanksgiving Litany
    by Amonymous

    Lord, all my litany
    Mingled with praise must be;
    All my thanksgivings rise
    Joined with remorseful cries,—
    My sin so mocks Thy name,
    Thy grace so mends my shame.

    Lord, for the angry word
    (That only Thou hast heard):
    Lord, for the wish to sin
    (That wish alone has been),—
    I pray Thee, pardon me:
    (I offer thank to Thee!)

    Lord, for the baneful creed
    (That has not passed to deed);
    Lord, for the acted wrong
    (Fought hy a conscience strong),—
    I pray Thee, pardon me;
    (I offer thanks to Thee!)

    Lord, for the stinging hiss
    (That shamed itself to a kiss);
    Lord, for the tasks undone
    (That spur Thy workman on),—
    I pray Thee, pardon me;
    (I offer thanks to Thee!)

    Yes, for my heart of sin
    Thy grace is strong to win;
    Yes, Lord, for all the woe
    Wherein Thy mercies glow,—
    I offer thanks to Thee,
    And pray Thee, pardon me!

  11. Thanksgiving

    by Ed Blair

    When comes Thanksgiving weather,
    With snow, and frost, and sleet,
    And old friends meet together
    To spend the hours so sweet,
    Forget not those in sorrow,
    The few who may not see
    The beauties of Thanksgiving,
    If it were not for thee.

    A word of cheer to some one,
    Food for the hungry poor,
    A message to the sick one,
    Almost forgot before.
    These little things so easy,
    Mixed in with Life's alloy,
    Will cause the tears to trickle,
    But 'twill be tears of joy.

  12. The Selkirk Grace

    by Robert Burns

    Some hae meat and canna eat,
    And some wad eat that want it;
    But we hae meat and we can eat,
    And sae the Lord be thanit.

  13. Thanksgiving Day Poems

  14. A Thanksgiving Dinner

    by Maude M. Grant

    Take a turkey, stuff it fat,
    Some of this and some of that.
    Get some turnips, peel them well.
    Cook a big squash in its shell.

    Now potatoes, big and white,
    Mash till they are soft and light.
    Cranberries, so tart and sweet,
    With the turkey we must eat.

    Pickles-yes-and then, oh my!
    For a dessert a pumpkin pie,
    Golden brown and spicy sweet.
    What a fine Thanksgiving treat!

  15. Thanksgiving Time

    by Anonymous

    When all the leaves are off the boughs,
    And nuts and apples gathered in,
    And cornstalks waiting for the cows,
    And pumpkins safe in barn and bin,
    Then Mother says, "My children dear,
    The fields are brown, and autumn flies;
    Thanksgiving Day is very near,
    And we must make thanksgiving pies!"

  16. Thanksgiving

    by Anonymous

    The year has turned its circle,
    The seasons come and go.
    The harvest all is gathered in
    And chilly north winds blow.
    Orchards have shared their treasures,
    The fields, their yellow grain,
    So open wide the doorway—
    Thanksgiving comes again!

  17. At Grandma's House

    by Anonymous

    I like the taste of turkey
    Any time throughout the year.
    But it never seems to taste as good
    As when Thanksgiving's here.

    Could be it's all the trimmings
    That are cooked with it to eat,
    But I think it's eating at Grandma's house
    That makes it such a treat!

  18. Holiday Letters

    by Anonymous

    T is for turkey on Thanksgiving Day,
    H is for "Hurry, I'm hungry!" we say.
    A is for Auntie, she works and she mends,
    N is for Native American friends.
    K is for kitchen, the oven's on low,
    S is for silverware, set in a row.
    G is for Grandma, the one we love most,
    I is for inside, where we're warm as toast.
    V is for vegetables, eat them we try,
    I is for icecream on top of the pie.
    N is for never do we have enough dressing,
    G is for Grandpa, who gives thanks for our blessings.

  19. A Thanksgiving Alphabet

    by Anonymous

    T...Turkeys, tablespreads, being together,
    H...Happiness and homes to protect us from all weather,
    A...Aunts and uncles, a reunion in Fall,
    N...Nieces and nephews, family members all!
    K...Kind-hearted kin coming over for dinner,
    S...Surely you'll have fun, but you won't get thinner!
    G...Gourds and pumpkins, mouths open wide.
    I...Indians and Pilgrims we remember with pride.
    V...Very special times-there could even be snow.
    I...Imagine what it was like at Plymouth long ago.
    N...Never forget how the settlers led the way,
    G...Giving thanks and blessing this special day.

  20. The New-England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day

    by Lydia Maria Child

    Over the river, and through the wood,
    To Grandmother's house we go;
    the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
    through the white and drifted snow.

    Over the river, and through the wood—
    oh, how the wind does blow!
    It stings the toes and bites the nose
    as over the ground we go.

    Over the river, and through the wood—
    and straight through the barnyard gate,
    We seem to go extremely slow,
    it is so hard to wait!

    Over the river, and through the wood—
    When Grandmother sees us come,
    She will say, "O, dear, the children are here,
    bring a pie for everyone."

    Over the river, and through the wood—
    now Grandmother's cap I spy!
    Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
    Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

  21. Thanksgiving Day

    by Emily Dickinson

    One day is there of the series
    Termed Thanksgiving day,
    Celebrated part at table,
    Part in memory.

    Neither patriarch nor pussy,
    I dissect the play;
    Seems it, to my hooded thinking,
    Reflex holiday.

    Had there been no sharp subtraction
    From the early sum,
    Not an acre or a caption
    Where was once a room,

    Not a mention, whose small pebble
    Wrinkled any bay, —
    Unto such, were such assembly,
    'T were Thanksgiving day.

  22. The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

    by Edgar Albert Guest

    It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell
    Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;
    But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know
    A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,
    When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,
    With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,
    The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,
    With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.

    It may be I'm old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day
    We're too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;
    Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;
    It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.
    It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;
    There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,
    Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,
    Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.

    I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad
    To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;
    The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,
    And whether living far or near they all came trooping in
    With shouts of "Hello, daddy!" as they fairly stormed the place
    And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her face
    Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,
    Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.

    Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the jokes they told;
    From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang the old;
    All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,
    The struggles we were making and the hardships we'd gone through;
    We gathered round the fireside. How fast the hours would fly—
    It seemed before we'd settled down 'twas time to say good-bye.
    Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew
    When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.

  23. Thanksgiving

    by Edgar Albert Guest

    Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
    An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
    An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
    Are growin more beautiful day after day;
    Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
    Buildin' the old family circle again;
    Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
    Just for awhile at the end of the year.

    Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
    And under the old roof we gather once more
    Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
    Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
    Father's a little bit older, but still
    Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
    Here we are back at the table again
    Tellin' our stories as women an men.

    Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
    Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
    Home from the east land an' home from the west,
    Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
    Out of the sham of the cities afar
    We've come for a time to be just what we are.
    Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
    Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

    Give me the end of the year an' its fun
    When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
    Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
    Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
    Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
    See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
    See the old table with all of its chairs
    An I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

  24. Pilgrim Poems

  25. The Pilgrims Came

    by Anonymous

    The Pilgrims came across the sea,
    To pave the way for you and me;
    And so it is good that we alway
    Think of them Thanksgiving day.

    We tell their story, old and true
    Of how they sailed across the blue,
    And found a new land to be free
    And built their homes quite near the sea.

    Every child knows well the tale
    Of how they bravely turned the sail
    And journeyed many a day and night,
    To worship God as they thought right.

  26. Boy and Girl of Plymouth

    by Helen L. Smith

    Little lass of Plymouth,—gentle, shy, and sweet;
    Primly, trimly tripping down the queer old street;
    Homespun frock and apron, clumsy buckled shoe;
    Skirts that reach your ankles, just as Mother's do;
    Bonnet closely clinging over braid and curl;
    Modest little maiden,—Plymouth's Pilgrim girl!

    Little lad of Plymouth, stanchly trudging by;
    Strong your frame, and sturdy; kind and keen your eye;
    Clad in belted doublet, buckles at your knee;
    Every garment fashioned as a man's might be;
    Shoulder-cloak and breeches, hat with bell-shaped crown;
    Manly little Pilgrim,—boy of Plymouth town!

    Boy and girl of Plymouth, brave and blithe, and true;
    Finer task than yours was, children never knew;
    Sharing toil and hardship in the strange, new land;
    Hope, and help, and promise of the weary band;
    Grave the life around you, scant its meed of joy;
    Yours to make it brighter,—Pilgrim girl and boy!

  27. Five Kernals of Corn

    by Hezekiah Butterworth

    'Twas the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,
    The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;
    Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o'er the seas,
    And the woodpeckers tapped in the clocks of the trees;
    And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,
    and dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.
    The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddening morn;
    There were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.
    Five Kernels of Corn!
    Five Kernels of Corn!
    But to Bradford a feast were Five Kernels of Corn!

    "Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
    Ye people, be glad for Five Kernels of Corn!"
    So Bradford cried out on bleak Burial Hill,
    And the thin women stood in their doors, white and still.
    "Lo, the harbor of Plymouth rolls bright in the Spring,
    The maples grow red, and the wood robins sing,
    The west wind is blowing, and fading the snow,
    And the pleasant pines sing, and arbutuses blow.
    Five Kernels of Corn!
    Five Kernels of Corn!
    To each one be given Five Kernels of Corn!"

    O Bradford of Austerfield hast on thy way,
    The west winds are blowing o'er Provincetown Bay,
    The white avens bloom, but the pine domes are chill,
    And new graves have furrowed Precisioners' Hill!
    "Give thanks, all ye people, the warm skies have come,
    The hilltops are sunny, and green grows the holm,
    And the trumpets of winds, and the white March is gone,
    Five Kernels of Corn!
    Five Kernels of Corn!
    Ye have for Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn!

    "The raven's gift eat and be humble and pray,
    A new light is breaking and Truth leads your way;
    One taper a thousand shall kindle; rejoice
    That to you has been given the wilderness voice!"
    O Bradford of Austerfield, daring the wave,
    And safe through the sounding blasts leading the brave,
    Of deeds such as thine was the free nation born,
    And the festal world sings the "Five Kernels of Corn."
    Five Kernels of Corn!
    Five Kernels of Corn!
    The nation gives thanks for Five Kernels of Corn!
    To the Thanksgiving Feast bring Five Kernels of Corn!

  28. The Pilgrims' Fast

    by Mary Gardiner Horsford

    'T was early morn, the low night-wind
    Had fled the sun's fierce ray,
    And sluggishly the leaden waves
    Rolled over Plymouth Bay.

    No mist was on the mountain-top,
    No dew-drop in the vale;
    The thirsting Summer flowers had died
    Ere chilled by Autumn's wail.

    The giant woods with yellow leaves
    The blighted turf had paved,
    And o'er the brown and arid fields
    No golden harvest waved;

    But calm and blue the cloudless sky
    Arched over earth and sea,
    As in their humble house of prayer
    The Pilgrims bowed the knee.

    There gray-haired ministers of God
    In supplication bent,
    And artless words from childhood's lips
    Sought the Omnipotent.

    There woman's lip and cheek grew pale
    As on the broad day stole;
    And manhood's polished brow was damp
    With fervency of soul.

    The sultry noon-tide came and went
    With steady, fervid glare;
    "O God, our God, be merciful!"
    Was still the Pilgrims' prayer.

    They prayed as erst Elijah prayed
    Before the sons of Baal,
    When on the waiting sacrifice
    He called the fiery hail:

    They prayed as once the prophet prayed
    On Carmel's summit high,
    When the little cloud rose from the sea
    And blackened all the sky.

    And when around that spireless church
    The shades of evening fell,
    The customary song went up
    With clear and rapturous swell:

    And while each heart was thrilling with
    The chant of Faith sublime,
    The rude, brown rafters of the roof
    Rang with a joyous chime.

    The rain! the rain! the blessed rain!
    It watered field and height,
    And filled the fevered atmosphere,
    With vapor soft and white.

    Oh! when that Pilgrim band came forth
    And pressed the humid sod,
    Shone not each face as Moses' shone
    When "face to face" with God?

  29. 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!

  30. The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers In New England

    by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

    The breaking waves dash'd high
    On a stern and rock-bound coast,
    And the woods against a stormy sky
    Their giant branches toss'd;

    And the heavy night hung dark,
    The hills and waters o'er,
    When a band of exiles moor'd their bark
    On the wild New England shore.

    Not as the conqueror comes,
    They, the true-hearted, came;
    Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
    And the trumpet that sings of fame;

    Not as the flying come,
    In silence and in fear;—
    They shook the depths of the desert gloom
    With their hymns of lofty cheer.

    Amidst the storm they sang,
    And the stars heard and the sea:
    And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
    To the anthem of the free!

    The ocean eagle soar'd
    From his nest by the white wave's foam
    And the rocking pines of the forest roar'd—
    This was their welcome home!

    There were men with hoary hair
    Amidst that pilgrim band:—
    Why had they come to wither there,
    Away from their childhood's land?

    There was woman's fearless eye,
    Lit by her deep love's truth;
    There was manhood's brow serenely high,
    And the fiery heart of youth.

    What sought they thus afar?
    Bright jewels of the mine?
    The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?
    They sought a faith's pure shrine!

    Ay, call it holy ground,
    The soil where first they trode.
    They have left unstained, what there they found
    Freedom to worship God.

  31. The Twenty-Second of December

    by William Cullen Bryant

    Wild was the day; the wintry sea
    Moaned sadly on New-England's strand,
    When first, the thoughtful and the free,
    Our fathers, trod the desert land.

    They little thought how pure a light,
    With years, should gather round that day;
    How love should keep their memories bright,
    How wide a realm their sons should sway.

    Green are their bays; but greener still
    Shall round their spreading fame be wreathed,
    And regions, now untrod, shall thrill
    With reverence, when their names are breathed.

    Till where the sun, with softer fires,
    Looks on the vast Pacific's sleep,
    The children of the pilgrim sires
    This hallowed day like us shall keep.

  32. First Landing of the Pilgrims, excerpt

    by Robert Southey

    Days pass, winds veer, and favoring skies
    Change like the face of fortune; storms arise;
    Safely, but not within her port desired,
    The good ship lies.
    Where the long sandy Cape
    Bends and embraces round,
    As with a lover’s arm, the sheltered sea,
    A haven she hath found
    From adverse gales and boisterous billows free.

    Now strike your sails,
    Ye toilworn mariners, and take your rest
    Long as the fierce northwest
    In that wild fit prevails,
    Tossing the waves uptorn with frantic sway.
    Keep ye within the bay,
    Contented to delay
    Your course till the elemental madness cease,
    And heaven and ocean are again at peace.

    How gladly there,
    Sick of the uncomfortable ocean,
    The impatient passengers approach the shore;
    Escaping from the sense of endless motion,
    To feel firm earth beneath their feet once more,
    To breathe again the air
    With taint of bilge and cordage undefiled,
    And drink of living springs, if there they may,
    And with fresh fruits and wholesome food repair
    Their spirits, weary of the watery way.

    And oh! how beautiful
    The things of earth appear
    To eyes that far and near
    For many a week have seen
    Only the circle of the restless sea!
    With what a fresh delight
    They gaze again on fields and forests green,
    Hovel, or whatsoe’er
    May bear the trace of man’s industrious hand;
    How grateful to their sight
    The shore of shelving sand,
    As the light boat moves joyfully to land!

    Woods they beheld, and huts, and piles of wood,
    And many a trace of toil,
    But not green fields or pastures. ’T was a land
    Of pines and sand;
    Dark pines, that from the loose and sparkling soil
    Rose in their strength aspiring: far and wide
    They sent their searching roots on every side,
    And thus, by depth and long extension, found
    Firm hold and grasp within that treacherous ground:
    So had they risen and flourished; till the earth,
    Unstable as its neighboring ocean there,
    Like an unnatural mother, heaped around
    Their trunks its wavy furrows white and high;
    And stifled thus the living things it bore.
    Half buried thus they stand,
    Their summits sere and dry,
    Marking, like monuments, the funeral mound;
    As when the masts of some tall vessel show
    Where, on the fatal shoals, the wreck lies whelmed below.

  33. Robinson of Leyden

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    He sleeps not here; in hope and prayer
    His wandering flock had gone before,
    But he, the shepherd, might not share
    Their sorrows on the wintry shore.

    Before the Speedwell’s anchor swung,
    Ere yet the Mayflower’s sail was spread,
    While round his feet the Pilgrims clung,
    The pastor spake, and thus he said:—

    “Men, brethren, sisters, children dear!
    God calls you hence from over sea;
    Ye may not build by Haerlem Meer,
    Nor yet along the Zuyder-Zee.

    “Ye go to bear the saving word
    To tribes unnamed and shores untrod:
    Heed well the lessons ye have heard
    From those old teachers taught of God.

    “Yet think not unto them was lent
    All light for all the coming days,
    And Heaven’s eternal wisdom spent
    In making straight the ancient ways:

    “The living fountain overflows
    For every flock, for every lamb,
    Nor heeds, though angry creeds oppose,
    With Luther’s dike or Calvin’s dam.”

    He spake: with lingering, long embrace,
    With tears of love and partings fond,
    They floated down the creeping Maas,
    Along the isle of Ysselmond.

    They passed the frowning towers of Briel,
    The “Hook of Holland’s” shelf of sand,
    And grated soon with lifting keel
    The sullen shores of fatherland.

    No home for these! too well they knew
    The mitred king behind the throne;
    The sails were set, the pennons flew,
    And westward ho! for worlds unknown.

    And these were they who gave us birth,
    The Pilgrims of the sunset wave,
    Who won for us this virgin earth,
    And freedom with the soil they gave.

    The pastor slumbers by the Rhine,—
    In alien earth the exiles lie,—
    Their nameless graves our holiest shrine
    His words our noblest battle-cry!

    Still cry them, and the world shall hear,
    Ye dwellers by the storm-swept sea!
    Ye have not built by Haerlem Meer,
    Nor on the land-locked Zuyder-Zee!