Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Our Fathers and their Homes

Nurse of the Pilgrim sires who sought,
Beyound th’ Atlantic’s foam,
For fearless truth and honest thought
A refuge and a home,
Who would not be of them or thee
A not unworthy son,
That hears amid the chained or free
The name of Washington?

Cradle of Shakespeare, Milton, Knox
King-shaming Cromwell’s throne,
Home of the Russells, Watts, and Lockes,
Earth’s greatest are thine own;
And shall thy children forge base chains
For men that would be free?
No! by the Eliots, Hampdens, Vanes,
Pyms, Sydneys, yet to be.

No! for the blood which kings have gorged
Hath made their victims wise;
While every lie that Fraud hath forged
Veils wisdom from his eyes;
But time shall change the despot’s mood;
And mind is mightier now than then,
When turning evil into good,
And monsters into men.

If round the soul the chains are bound
That hold the world in thrall;
If tyrants laugh when men are found
In brutal fray to fall;
Lord, let not Britain arm her hands
Her sister States to ban,
But bless through her all other States, -
The family of man!

For freedom if the Hampden fought;
For peace if Falkland fell;
For peace and love if Bentham wrote,
And Burns sang wildly well;
Let Knowledge, strongest of the strong,
Bid Hate and Discord cease;
Be this the burden of my song, -
Love, Liberty, and Peace.
~Ebenezer Eliot

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