At Plymouth Rock a handful of brave souls,
Full-armed in faith, erected home and shrine,
And flourished where the wild Atlantic rolls
Its pyramids of brine.
There rose a manly race austere and strong,
On whom no lessons of their day were lost,
Earnest as some conventicle's deep song,
And keen as their own frost.
But that shrewd frost became a friend to those
Who fronted there the Ice-King's bitter storm,
For see we not that underneath the snows
The growing wheat keeps warm?
Soft ease and silken opulence they spurned;
From sands of silver, and from emerald boughs
With golden ingots laden full, they turned
Like Pilgrims under vows.
For them no tropic seas, no slumbrous calms,
No rich abundance generously unrolled:
In place of Cromwell's proffered flow'rs and palms
They chose the long-drawn cold.
The more it blew, the more they faced the gale;
The more it snowed, the more they would not freeze;
And when crops failed on sterile hill and vale -
They went to reap the seas!
Far North, through wild and stormy brine they ran,
With hands a-cold plucked Winter by the locks!
Masterful mastered great Leviathan
And drove the foam as flocks!
Next in their order came the Middle Group,
Perchance less hardy, but as brave they grew, -
Grew straight and tall with not a bend, or stoop -
Heart-timber through and through!
Midway between the ardent heat and cold
They spread abroad, and by a homely spell,
The iron of their axes changed to gold
As fast the forests fell!
Doing the things they found to do, we see
That thus they drew a mighty empire's charts,
And, working for the present, took in fee
The future for their marts!
And there unchallenged may the boast be made,
Although they do not hold his sacred dust,
That Penn, the Founder, never once betrayed
The simple Indian's trust.
To them the genius which linked Silver Lakes
With the blue Ocean and the outer World,
And the fair banner, which their commerce shakes,
Wise Clinton's hand unfurled.