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At Sundown Part 5, from Volume IV., the Works of Whittier: Personal Poems   By: (1807-1892)

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This eBook was produced by David Widger [widger@cecomet.net]

AT SUNDOWN

BY

JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

AT SUNDOWN. TO E. C. S. THE CHRISTMAS OF 1888. THE VOW OF WASHINGTON THE CAPTAIN'S WELL AN OUTDOOR RECEPTION R. S. S., AT DEER ISLAND ON THE MERRIMAC BURNING DRIFT WOOD. O. W. HOLMES ON HIS EIGHTIETH BIRTHDAY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL HAVERHILL. 1640 1890 TO G. G. PRESTON POWERS, INSCRIPTION FOR BASS RELIEF LYDIA H. SIGOURNEY, INSCRIPTION ON TABLET MILTON, ON MEMORIAL WINDOW THE BIRTHDAY WREATH THE WIND OF MARCH BETWEEN THE GATES THE LAST EVE OF SUMMER TO OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, 8TH Mo. 29TH, 1892

AT SUNDOWN

TO E. C. S.

Poet and friend of poets, if thy glass Detects no flower in winter's tuft of grass, Let this slight token of the debt I owe Outlive for thee December's frozen day, And, like the arbutus budding under snow, Take bloom and fragrance from some morn of May When he who gives it shall have gone the way Where faith shall see and reverent trust shall know.

THE CHRISTMAS OF 1888.

Low in the east, against a white, cold dawn, The black lined silhouette of the woods was drawn, And on a wintry waste Of frosted streams and hillsides bare and brown, Through thin cloud films, a pallid ghost looked down, The waning moon half faced!

In that pale sky and sere, snow waiting earth, What sign was there of the immortal birth? What herald of the One? Lo! swift as thought the heavenly radiance came, A rose red splendor swept the sky like flame, Up rolled the round, bright sun!

And all was changed. From a transfigured world The moon's ghost fled, the smoke of home hearths curled Up the still air unblown. In Orient warmth and brightness, did that morn O'er Nain and Nazareth, when the Christ was born, Break fairer than our own?

The morning's promise noon and eve fulfilled In warm, soft sky and landscape hazy hilled And sunset fair as they; A sweet reminder of His holiest time, A summer miracle in our winter clime, God gave a perfect day.

The near was blended with the old and far, And Bethlehem's hillside and the Magi's star Seemed here, as there and then, Our homestead pine tree was the Syrian palm, Our heart's desire the angels' midnight psalm, Peace, and good will to men!

THE VOW OF WASHINGTON.

Read in New York, April 30, 1889, at the Centennial Celebration of the Inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States.

The sword was sheathed: in April's sun Lay green the fields by Freedom won; And severed sections, weary of debates, Joined hands at last and were United States.

O City sitting by the Sea How proud the day that dawned on thee, When the new era, long desired, began, And, in its need, the hour had found the man!

One thought the cannon salvos spoke, The resonant bell tower's vibrant stroke, The voiceful streets, the plaudit echoing halls, And prayer and hymn borne heavenward from St. Paul's!

How felt the land in every part The strong throb of a nation's heart, As its great leader gave, with reverent awe, His pledge to Union, Liberty, and Law.

That pledge the heavens above him heard, That vow the sleep of centuries stirred; In world wide wonder listening peoples bent Their gaze on Freedom's great experiment.

Could it succeed? Of honor sold And hopes deceived all history told. Above the wrecks that strewed the mournful past, Was the long dream of ages true at last?

Thank God! the people's choice was just, The one man equal to his trust, Wise beyond lore, and without weakness good, Calm in the strength of flawless rectitude.

His rule of justice, order, peace, Made possible the world's release; Taught prince and serf that power is but a trust, And rule, alone, which serves the ruled, is just;

That Freedom generous is, but strong In hate of fraud and selfish wrong, Pretence that turns her holy truths to lies, And lawless license masking in her guise... Continue reading book >>




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