Men Of The Northland
John Greenleaf Whittier, 1836
Men of the Northland! Where’s the manly spirit
Of the true-hearted and the unshackled gone?
Sons of old freemen, do we but inherit
Their names alone?
Is the old Pilgrim spirit quenched within us?
Stoops the strong manhood of our souls so low,
That Mammon’s lure or party’s wile can win us
To Silence now?
Now, when our land to ruin’s verging,
In God’s name, let us speak while there is time!
Now, when the padlocks for our lips are forging
Silence is a crime!
What, shall we henceforth humbly ask as favors
Rights all our own? In madness shall we barter
For treacherous peace, the Freedom Nature gave us,
God and our Charter?
Here shall the statesman fix his human fetters,
Here shall the false jurist rights deny,
And, in the church, their proud and skilled abettors
Make Truth a lie?
Torture the pages of the hallowed Bible,
To sanction crime, and robbery, and blood?
And, in Oppression’s hateful service, libel
Both man and God?
Shall our New England stand erect no longer,
But stoop to chains upon her downward way,
Thicker to gather on her limbs and stronger
Day by day?
Oh, no; methinks from her wild green mountains;
From valleys where her slumbering fathers lie;
From her blue rivers and her welling fountains
And clear, cold sky;
From her rough coast and isles, which hungry Ocean,
Gnaws with his surges, from the fisher’s skiff,
With white sail swaying to the billow’s motion
Round rock and cliff;
From the fireside of the untaught farmer,
From her free laborer at his loom and wheel;
From the brown smith-shop, where, beneath the hammer
Rings the red steel;
From each and all, if God hath not forsaken
Our land, and left us to an evil choice,
Loud as the summer thunderbolt shall waken
A people’s voice!
Startling and stern! The Northern winds shall bear it
Over Potomac’s to St. Mary’s wave;
And buried Freedom shall awake to hear it
Within her grave.
Oh, let that voice go forth! The bondsman sighing
By Santee’s wave, in Mississippi’s cane
Shall feel the hope, within his bosom dying
Let it go forth! The millions who are gazing
Sadly upon us from afar, shall smile,
And, unto God, devout thanksgiving raising
Bless us all the while.
Oh, for our ancient freedom, pure and holy,
For the deliverance of a groaning Earth,
For the wretched captive, bleeding, crushed and lowly,
Let it go forth!
Sons of the best of fathers! Will ye falter
With all they left ye periled and at stake?
Ho! Once again on Freedom’s holy alter
The fire awake!
Prayer-strengthened for the trial, come together,
Put on the harness for the moral fight,
And with the blessing of your Heavenly Father
Maintain the right!
Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website: