Arise, American!

A poem by George Parsons Lathrop

The soul of a nation awaking, -
High visions of daybreak, - I saw;
A people renewed; the forsaking
Of sin, and the worship of law.

Sing, pine-tree; shout, to the hoarser
Response of the jubilant sea!
Rush, river, foam-flecked like a courser;
Warn all who are honest and free!

Our birth-star beckons to trial
The faith of the far-fled years,
Ere scorn was our share, and denial,
Or laughter for patriots' tears.

And Faith shall come forth the finer,
From trampled thickets of fire,
And the orient open diviner
Before her, the heaven rise higher.

O deep, sweet eyes, but severer
Than steel! See you yet, where he comes -
Our hero? Bend your glance nearer;
Speak, Faith! For, as wakening drums,

Your voice shall set his blood stirring;
His heart shall grow strong like the main
When the rowelled winds are spurring,
And the broad tides landward strain.

O hero, art thou among us?
O helper, hidest thou, still?
Why hast thou no anthem sung us,
Why workest thou not our will?


For a smirk of the face, or a favor,
Still shelters the cheat where he crawls;
And the truth we began with needs braver
Upholders, and loftier walls.

Too long has the land's soul slumbered
In wearying dreams of gain,
With prosperous falsity cumbered
And dulled with bribes, as a bane.

Yes, cunning is civilized evil,
And crafty the gold-baited snare;
But virtue, in fiery upheaval,
May cast fine device to the air.

Bring us the simple and stalwart
Purpose of earlier days.
Come! Far better than all were't -
Our precepts, our pride, and our lays -

That the people in spirit should tremble
With heed of the God-given Word;
That we cease from our boast, nor dissemble,
But follow where truth's voice is heard.

Come to us, mountain-dweller,
Leader, wherever thou art;
Skilled from thy cradle, a queller
Of serpents, and sound to the heart!

Modest and mighty and tender;
Man of an iron mold;
Honest, fine-grained, our defender; -
American-souled!

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