Poems by John Greenleaf Whittier

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Dead Petra in her hill-tomb sleeps,
Talk not of sad November, when a day
Bland as the morning breath of June
Thrice welcome from the Land of Flowers
The circle is broken, one seat is forsaken,
One morning of the first sad Fall,
Friend of my many years
'Tis over, Moses! All is lost!
O thicker, deeper, darker growing,
"Here, while the loom of Winter weaves
The river hemmed with leaning trees
The name the Gallic exile bore,
Scarce had the solemn Sabbath-bell
We saw the slow tides go and come,
Up, laggards of Freedom! our free flag is cast
Beneath thy skies, November!
This day, two hundred years ago,
To-day the plant by Williams set
To kneel before some saintly shrine,
Men of the North-land! where's the manly spirit
Take our hands, James Russell Lowell,
Oh, dwarfed and wronged, and stained with ill,
The firmament breaks up. In black eclipse
When first I saw our banner wave
In the old days (a custom laid aside
’Midst the men and things which will
The tree of Faith its bare, dry boughs must shed
Through the long hall the shuttered windows shed
The day's sharp strife is ended now,
The clouds, which rise with thunder, slake
As they who watch by sick-beds find relief
George Fuller
I write my name as one,
O dearest bloom the seasons know,
On these green banks, where falls too soon
Andrew Rykman’s dead and gone;
Once more, dear friends, you meet beneath
“The spring comes slowly up this way.”
I said I stood upon thy grave,
"Jove means to settle
Poor and inadequate the shadow-play
When on my day of life the night is falling,
The tent-lights glimmer on the land,
Bowdoin Street, Boston, 1877.
"With a cold and wintry noon-light.
Gone hath the Spring, with all its flowers,
Over the threshold of his pleasant home
Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Up the streets of Aberdeen,
God's love and peace be with thee, where
Between the gates of birth and death
"A noteless stream, the Birchbrook runs
John Brown of Ossawatomie spake on his dying day:
We praise not now the poet's art,
Bear him, comrades, to his grave;
Before my drift-wood fire I sit,
On receiving a sprig of heather in blossom.
Call him not heretic whose works attest
In the solemn days of old,
To the God of all sure mercies let my blessing rise today,
How bland and sweet the greeting of this breeze
Not vainly did old poets tell,
Men said at vespers: "All is well!"
Still linger in our noon of time
Just God! and these are they
The beaver cut his timber
From the Mahabharata.
A railway conductor who lost his life in an accident on a Connecticut railway, May 9, 1873.
O Dearly loved!
I would the gift I offer here
Bearer of Freedom's holy light,
Night on the city of the Moor!
"Put up the sword!" The voice of Christ once more
"Long since, a dream of heaven I had,
On page of thine I cannot trace
We wait beneath the furnace-blast
Hands off! thou tithe-fat plunderer! play
Dry the tears for holy Eva,
Our fellow-countrymen in chains!
How has New England's romance fled,
"They hear Thee not, O God! nor see;
In calm and cool and silence, once again
At the unveiling of his statue.
Painted Upon a Porte Livre.
The Persian's flowery gifts, the shrine
The age is dull and mean. Men creep,
My heart was heavy, for its trust had been
With clearer light, Cross of the South, shine forth
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Letters from Italy.
Around Sebago's lonely lake
O painter of the fruits and flowers,
In trance and dream of old, God's prophet saw
The storm and peril overpast,
He has done the work of a true man,
"Who gives and hides the giving hand,
Outbound, your bark awaits you. Were I one
Another hand is beckoning us,
I spread a scanty board too late;
The sunlight glitters keen and bright,
O river winding to the sea!
The summer warmth has left the sky,
Dream not, O Soul, that easy is the task
With wisdom far beyond her years,
An Algonquin legend.
The tossing spray of Cocheco's fall
Right in the track where Sherman
Not unto us who did but seek
Thou dwellest not, O Lord of all
All things are Thine: no gift have we,
Amidst these glorious works of Thine,
O thou, whose presence went before
O Holy Father! just and true
Thine are all the gifts, O God!
Kloster Kedar, Ephrata, Pennsylvania (1738)
Oh, none in all the world before
'Neath skies that winter never knew
So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
Immortal love, forever full,
As a guest who may not stay
A track of moonlight on a quiet lake,
Have I not voyaged, friend beloved, with thee
"In the fair land o'erwatched by Ischia's mountains,
Still sits the school-house by the road,
She came and stood in the Old South Church,
The evil days have come, the poor
The new world honors him whose lofty plea
For Dorothea L. Dix.
The Eagle, stooping from yon snow-blown peaks,
For Dr Henry L Bowditch
Through Thy clear spaces, Lord, of old,
Across the sea I heard the groans
From purest wells of English undefiled
A score of years had come and gone
O dwellers in the stately towns,
"Tie stille, barn min!
O Norah, lay your basket down,
As Adam did in Paradise,
Out from Jerusalem
After the Danish of Christian Winter.
Where ceaseless Spring her garland twines,
Type of two mighty continents! combining
It is done!
From the Mahabharata.
A blush as of roses
Yes, pile the marble o'er him! It is well
Last week the Lord be praised for all His mercies
No Berserk thirst of blood had they,
A strength Thy service cannot tire,
I need not ask thee, for my sake,
Secretary of the Boston young men's anti-slavery society.
A moony breadth of virgin face,
They tell me, Lucy, thou art dead,
She sang alone, ere womanhood had known
A Harvest Idyl.
Massachusetts Bay, 1760.
From the heart of Waumbek Methna, from the lake that never fails,
The blast from Freedom's Northern hills, upon its Southern way,
Maud Muller on a summer’s day,
A beautiful and happy girl,
One Sabbath day my friend and I
Know’st thou, O slave-cursed land
"Who stands on that cliff, like a figure of stone,
'Tis morning over Norridgewock,
Ah! weary Priest! with pale hands pressed
The moon has set: while yet the dawn
I. Franconia from the Pemigewasset
Unnoted as the setting of a star
Beneath the moonlight and the snow
In my dream, methought I trod,
Addressed to Francis Greenleaf Allison of Burlington, New Jersey.
The pines were dark on Ramoth hill,
I mourn no more my vanished years
Stand still, my soul, in the silent dark
Accompanying manuscripts presented to a friend.
The autumn-time has come;
A picture memory brings to me
Nauhaught, the Indian deacon, who of old
"God bless New Hampshire! from her granite peaks
The winding way the serpent takes
Not on Penobscot's wooded bank the spires
Climbing a path which leads back never more
A pious magistrate! sound his praise throughout
O Ary Scheffer! when beneath thine eye,
All day the darkness and the cold
The years are but half a score,
O storied vale of Merrimac
His laurels fresh from song and lay,
We give thy natal day to hope,
Immortal Love, forever full,
For a summer festival at “The Laurels” on the Merrimac.
The South-land boasts its teeming cane,
The threads our hands in blindness spin
Now, joy and thanks forevermore!
Blest land of Judea! thrice hallowed of song,
Not with the splendors of the days of old,
How sweetly on the wood-girt town
I love the old melodious lays
A bending staff I would not break,
Make, for he loved thee well, our Merrimac,
The Rabbi Ishmael, with the woe and sin
"O Mother Earth! upon thy lap
One day, along the electric wire
"I shall not soon forget that sight
On the wide lawn the snow lay deep,
Friend of mine! whose lot was cast
We live by Faith; but Faith is not the slave
As Islam's Prophet, when his last day drew
Beside that milestone where the level sun,
Still, as of old, in Beavor's Vale,
The roll of drums and the bugle's wailing
Thank God for the token! one lip is still free,
Greystone, Aug. 4, 1886.
As o'er his furrowed fields which lie
In the valuable and carefully prepared History of Marblehead, published in 1879 by Samuel Roads, Jr., it is stated that the crew of Captain Ireson, rather than himself, were responsible for the abandonment of the disabled vessel. To screen themselves
“As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits, which be Angels of Light, are augmented not only by the Divine light of the Sun, but also by our common Wood Fire: and as the Celestial Fire drives away dark spirits, so also this
Where are we going? where are we going,
Oh, praise an' tanks! De Lord he come
A tale for Roman guides to tell
"To the winds give our banner!
Though flowers have perished at the touch
Is this the land our fathers loved,
A cloud, like that the old-time Hebrew saw
Lake Winnipesaukee
O Mother State! the winds of March
A gold fringe on the purpling hem
The subtle power in perfume found
Tauler, the preacher, walked, one autumn day,
Here is the place; right over the hill
Weary of jangling noises never stilled,
A free paraphrase of the German.
Speak and tell us, our Ximena, looking northward far away,
Spare me, dread angel of reproof,
Blessings on thee, little man,
The land, that, from the rule of kings,
The flags of war like storm-birds fly,
From the green Amesbury hill which bears the name
December 17, 1891.
Gallery of sacred pictures manifold,
Welcome home again, brave seaman! with thy thoughtful brow and gray,
The fagots blazed, the caldron's smoke
We had been wandering for many days
Piero Luca, known of all the town
The pleasant isle of Rugen looks the Baltic water o'er,
O lonely bay of Trinity,
Not always as the whirlwind's rush
From pain and peril, by land and main,
For the fairest maid in Hampton
I do believe, and yet, in grief,
A Christian! going, gone!
No aimless wanderers, by the fiend Unrest
Low in the east, against a white, cold dawn,
"Get ye up from the wrath of God's terrible day!
I did but dream. I never knew
Behind us at our evening meal
Across the frozen marshes
Heap high the farmer’s wintry hoard!
I know not, Time and Space so intervene,
Across the Stony Mountains, o'er the desert's drouth and sand,
The cross, if rightly borne, shall be
Sunlight upon Judha's hills!
In that black forest, where, when day is done,
In Westminster's royal halls,
They sat in silent watchfulness
We have opened the door,
What flecks the outer gray beyond
The Brownie sits in the Scotchman's room,
He had bowed down to drunkenness,
The land was pale with famine
Far away in the twilight time
It chanced that while the pious troops of France
Through heat and cold, and shower and sun,
Amidst thy sacred effigies
O Friends! with whom my feet have trod
From gold to gray
The goodman sat beside his door
Father! to Thy suffering poor
Of A Virginia Slave Mother To Her Daughters Sold Into Southern Bondage.
"Bring out your dead!" The midnight street
For ages on our river borders,
Hurrah! the seaward breezes
Traveller! on thy journey toiling
A few brief years have passed away
My thoughts are all in yonder town,
He comes, he comes, the Frost Spirit comes, you may trace his footsteps now,
Last night, just as the tints of autumn’s sky
Around Sebago's lonely lake
From the hills of home forth looking, far beneath the tent-like span
Tritemius of Herbipolis, one day,
With fifty years between you and your well-kept wedding vow,
Where the Great Lake's sunny smiles
Of all that Orient lands can vaunt
To a young physician, with Dore's picture of Christ healing the sick.
My lady walks her morning round,
O strong, upwelling prayers of faith,
"O for a knight like Bayard,
The burly driver at my side,
In the old Hebrew myth the lion's frame,
I have not felt, o'er seas of sand,
Against the wooded hills it stands,
Have ye heard of our hunting, o'er mountain and glen,
It was late in mild October, and the long autumnal rain
From Institutes of Manu.
Voice of a people suffering long,
We cross the prairie as of old
The Khan came from Bokhara town
Under the great hill sloping bare
Ere down yon blue Carpathian hills
The shadows round the inland sea
Summer's last sun nigh unto setting shines
"From these wild rocks I look to-day
The day is closing dark and cold,
"Let there be light!" God spake of old,
A tender child of summers three,
Some die too late and some too soon,
As they who, tossing midst the storm at night,
Wildly round our woodland quarters
In sky and wave the white clouds swam,
A strong and mighty Angel,
Sad Mayflower! watched by winter stars,
The elder folks shook hands at last,
How sweetly come the holy psalms
Well speed thy mission, bold Iconoclast!
“The Indians speak of a beautiful river, far to the south,
In the minister's morning sermon
When Freedom, on her natal day,
"All hail!" the bells of Christmas rang,
By fire and cloud, across the desert sand,
Dark the halls, and cold the feast,
The wave is breaking on the shore,
Gift from the cold and silent Past!
Our vales are sweet with fern and rose,
Above, below, in sky and sod,
A sound as if from bells of silver,
Leagues north, as fly the gull and auk,
Is it the palm, the cocoa-palm,
"A! fredome is a nobill thing!
All night above their rocky bed
So, this is all, the utmost reach
Thank God for rest, where none molest,
Still in thy streets, O Paris! doth the stain
"Great peace in Europe! Order reigns
Lift again the stately emblem on the Bay State's rusted shield,
An incident of the Sepoy mutiny.
The proudest now is but my peer,
On the isle of Penikese,
Along the aisle where prayer was made,
Its windows flashing to the sky,
The time of gifts has come again,
Look on him! through his dungeon grate,
I have been thinking of the victims bound
Saint Patrick, slave to Milcho of the herds
Up and down the village streets
Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,
From the well-springs of Hudson, the sea-cliffs of Maine,
The Quaker of the olden time!
Robert Rawlin! Frosts were falling
Out and in the river is winding
All grim and soiled and brown with tan,
Token of friendship true and tried,
I heard the train's shrill whistle call,
The gulf of seven and fifty years
Who, looking backward from his manhood's prime,
No bird-song floated down the hill,
My old Welsh neighbor over the way
A drear and desolate shore!
They left their home of summer ease
Ho! thou who seekest late and long
The fourteen centuries fall away
The sky is ruddy in the east,
Ho! workers of the old time styled
Years since (but names to me before),
Annie and Rhoda, sisters twain,
The shade for me, but over thee
"All ready?" cried the captain;
Beams of noon, like burning lances, through the tree-tops flash and glisten,
Where Time the measure of his hours
My ear is full of summer sounds,
When the reaper's task was ended, and the summer wearing late,
In the outskirts of the village
I would not sin, in this half-playful strain,
Beneath the low-hung night cloud
I wandered lonely where the pine-trees made
Raze these long blocks of brick and stone,
God called the nearest angels who dwell with Him above:
Read at the unveiling of the bust of Elizabeth Fry at the Friends' School, Providence, R. I.
Smoothing soft the nestling head
The Rabbi Nathan two-score years and ten
Sweetest of all childlike dreams
"O Lady fair, these silks of mine are beautiful and rare,
The Benedictine Echard
"Why urge the long, unequal fight,
The sword was sheathed: in April's sun
I wait and watch: before my eyes
Beside a stricken field I stood;
Calm on the breast of Loch Maree
Against the sunset's glowing wall
Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
I ask not now for gold to gild
Among the legends sung or said
It was the pleasant harvest time,
From Alton Bay to Sandwich Dome,
From Alton Bay to Sandwich Dome,
Voice of the Holy Spirit, making known
Yes, let them gather! Summon forth
The harp at Nature's advent strung
Rivermouth Rocks are fair to see,
She sings by her wheel at that low cottage door,
The great work laid upon his twoscore years
We see not, know not; all our way
Lines written after a summer day's excursion.
With a copy of Woolman's journal.
Luck to the craft that bears this name of mine,
On her return from Europe.
Is this thy voice whose treble notes of fear
On receiving a basket of sea-mosses.
If I have seemed more prompt to censure wrong
Thrice welcome to thy sisters of the East,
Poet and friend of poets, if thy glass
You flung your taunt across the wave
Men! if manhood still ye claim,
Seeress of the misty Norland,
An autograph.
So spake Esaias: so, in words of flame,
John Pierpont, the eloquent preacher and poet of Boston.
On a blank leaf of "poems printed, not published.
Thy error, Fremont, simply was to act
On reading her poem in "The Standard.
What though around thee blazes
Thine is a grief, the depth of which another
An epistle not after the manner of Horace.
With a copy of "The Supernaturalism Of New England."
This, the last of Mr. Whittier's poems, was written but a few weeks before his death.
O state prayer-founded! never hung
The cannon's brazen lips are cold;
Strike home, strong-hearted man! Down to the root
Olor Iscanus queries: “Why should we
Thou hast fallen in thine armor,
Gone to thy Heavenly Father's rest!
God bless ye, brothers! in the fight
O people-chosen! are ye not
Statesman, I thank thee! and, if yet dissent
Champion of those who groan beneath
'T was night. The tranquil moonlight smile
At morn I prayed, "I fain would see
The same old baffling questions! O my friend,
But what avail inadequate words to reach
The old Squire said, as he stood by his gate,
O Christ of God! whose life and death
Up the hillside, down the glen,
A shallow stream, from fountains
We may not climb the heavenly steeps
A sound of tumult troubles all the air,
The birds against the April wind
The shadows grow and deepen round me,
Maddened by Earth's wrong and evil,
The years are many since his hand
Oh, well may Essex sit forlorn
The lowliest born of all the land,
My garden roses long ago
L. M. C.
Written on a blank leaf of his memoirs.
The Pagan's myths through marble lips are spoken,