OUR COUNTRY by John G. Whittier 1895

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OUR COUNTRY!

The following poem, by Mr. John G. Whittier, was read at Hawthorne’s old home in Concord, at a reception given by Mr. and Mrs. D. Lothrop in honor of Mrs. John A. Logan. Mr. Whittier was obliged to decline an invitation to the reception, and his letter of regret was accompanied by this poem, written for the occasion.

Our thought of thee is glad with hope,
Dear country of our love and prayers;
Thy way is down no fatal slope,
But up to freer sun and airs.
Tried as by furnace fires, and yet
By God’s grace only stronger made;
In future tasks before thee set
Thou shalt not lack the old-time aid.

The fathers sleep, but men remain
As true and wise and brave as they;
Why count the loss without the gain:
The best is that we have to-day.

No lack was in the primal stock,
No weakling founders builded here;
There were the men of Plymouth Rock,
The Puritan and Cavalier;

And they whose firm endurance gained
The freedom of the souls of men,
Whose hands unstained in peace maintained
The swordless commonwealth of Penn.

And time shall be the power of all
To do the work that duty bids:
And make the people’s Council Hall
As lasting as the Pyramids.

Thy lesson all the world shall learn,
The nations at thy feet shall sit;
Earth’s furthest mountain tops shall burn
With watch-fires from thine own uplit.

Great, without seeking to be great
By fraud or conquest—rich in gold.
But riches in the large estate
Of virtue which thy children hold.

With peace that comes of purity,
And strength to simple justice due.
So owns our loyal dream of thee,.
God of our fathers! make it true.

Oh, land of lands! to thee we give
Our love, our trust, our service free;
For thee thy sons shall nobly live,
And at thy need shall die for thee.

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