- The American Spirit Speaks:
- To the Judge of Right and Wrong
- With Whom fulfillment lies
- Our purpose and our power belong,
- Our faith and sacrifice.
- Let Freedom's land rejoice!
- Our ancient bonds are riven;
- Once more to use the eternal choice
- Of good or ill is given.
- Not at a little cost,
- Hardly by prayer or tears,
- Shall we recover the road we lost
- In the drugged and doubting years.
- But after the fires and the wrath,
- But after searching and pain,
- His Mercy opens us a path
- To live with ourselves again.
- In the Gates of Death rejoice!
- We see and hold the good --
- Bear witness, Earth, we have made our choice
- For Freedom's brotherhood.
- Then praise the Lord Most High
- Whose Strength hath saved us whole,
- Who bade us choose that the Flesh should die
- And not the living Soul!
- Thou warden of the western gate, above Manhatten Bay,
- The fogs of doubt that hid thy face are driven clean away:
- Thine eyes at last look far and clear, thou liftest high thy hand
- To spread the light of liberty world-wide for every land.
- No more thou dreamest of a peace reserved alone for thee,
- While friends are fighting for thy cause beyond the guardian sea:
- The battle that they wage is thine; thou fallest if they fall;
- The swollen flood of Prussian pride will sweep unchecked o'er all.
- O cruel is the conquer-lust in Hohenzollern brains;
- The paths they plot to gain their goal are dark with shameful stains:
- No faith they keep, no law revere, no god but naked Might; --
- They are the foemen of mankind. Up, Liberty, and smite!
- Britain, and France, and Italy, and Russia newly born,
- Have waited for thee in the night. Oh, come as comes the morn.
- Serene and strong and full of faith, America, arise,
- With steady hope and mighty help to join th brave Allies.
- O dearest country of my heart, home of the high desire,
- Make clean thy soul for sacrifice on Freedom's altar-fire:
- For thou must suffer, thou must fight, until the warlords cease,
- And all the peoples lift their heads in liberty and peace.
Henry van Dyke|
April 10, 1917
- Brothers in blood! They who this wrong began
- To wreck our commonwealth, will rue the day
- When first they challenged freeman to the fray,
- And with the Briton dared the American.
- Now are we pledged to win the Rights of man:
- Labour and Justice now shall have their way,
- And in a League of Peace -- God grant we may --
- Transform the earth, not patch up the old plan.
- Sure is our hope since he who led your nation
- Spake for mankind, and ye arose in awe
- Of that high call to work the world's salvation;
- Clearing your minds of all estrangling blindness
- In the vision of Beauty and the Spirit's law,
- Freedom and Honour and sweet Lovingkindness.
April 30, 1917
- It is portentous, and a thing of state
- That here at midnight, in our little town,
- A mourning figure walks, and will not rest,
- Near the old court-house pacing up and down.
- Or by his homestead, or in shadowed yards
- He lingers where his children used to play;
- Or through the market, on the well-worn stones
- He stalks until the dawn-stars burn away.
- A bronzed, lank man! His suit of ancient black,
- A famous high top-hat and plain work shawl
- Make him the quaint great figure that men love,
- The prairie-lawyer, master of us all.
- He cannot sleep upon his hillside now.
- He is among us: -- as in times before!
- And we who toss and lie awake for long
- Breathe deep, and start, to see him pass the door.
- His head is bowed. He thinks on men and kings.
- Yea, when the sick world cries, how can he sleep?
- Too many peasants fight, they know not why,
- Too many homesteads in black terror weep.
- The sins of all the war-lords burn his heart.
- He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main.
- He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now
- The bitterness, the folly, and the pain.
- He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn
- Shall come; -- the shining hope of Europe free:
- The league of sober folk, the Workers' Earth
- Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp, and Sea.
- It breaks his heart that kings must murder still,
- That all his hours of travail here for men
- Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace
- That he may sleep upon his hill again>?
- I saw her first abreast the Boston Light
- At anchor; she had just come in, turned head,
- And sent her hawsers creaking, clattering down.
- I was so near to where the hawse-pipes fed
- The cable out from her careening bow,
- I moved upon the swell, shut steam and lay
- Hove to in my old launch to look at her.
- She'd come in light, a-skimming up the Bay
- Like a white ghost with topsails bellying full;
- And all her noble lines from bow to stern
- Made music in the wind; it seemed she rode
- The morning air like those thin clouds that turn
- Into tall ships when sunrise lifts the clouds
- From calm sea-courses.
- There in smoke-smudged coats,
- Lay funnelled liners, dirty fishing-craft,
- Blunt cargo-luggers, tugs, and ferry-boats.
- Oh, it was good in that black-scuttled lot
- To see the Frye come lording on her way
- Like some old queen that we had half forgot
- Come to her own. A little up the Bay
- The Fort lay green, for it was springtime then;
- The wind was fresh, rich with the spicy bloom
- Of the New England coast that tardily
- Escapes, late April, from an icy tomb.
- The State-house glittered on old Beacon Hill,
- Gold in the sun. . . . 'Twas all so fair awhile;
- But she was fairest -- this great square-rigged ship
- That had blown in from some far happy isle
- On from the shores of the Hesperides.
- They caught her in a South Atlantic road
- Becalmed, and found her hold brimmed up with wheat;
- "Wheat's contraband," they said, and blew her hull
- To pieces,murdered one of our staunch fleet,
- Fast dwindling, of the big old sailing ships
- That carry trade for us on the high sea
- And warped out of each horbor in the States.
- It wasn't law, so it seems strange to me --
- A big mistake. Her keel's struck bottom now
- And her four masts sunk fathoms, fathoms deep
- To Davy Jones. The dank seaweed will root
- On her oozed decks, and the cross-surges sweep
- Through the set sails; but never, never more
- Her crew will stand away to brace and trim,
- Nor sea-blown petrels meet her thrashing up
- To windward on the Gulf-Stream's stormy rim;
- Never again she'll head a no'theast gale
- Or like a spirit loom up, sliding dumb,
- And ride in safe beyond the Boston Light,
- To make the harbor glad because she's home.