Albery Allson Whitman

Hymn To The Nation

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When Science, trembling in the lengthened shade
Of monster superstitions, and menaced
By raving Bigotry, a dream embraced
Of prosperous worlds by mortal unsurveyed,
Genoa's seaman and a daring few,
Wide Ocean's stormy perils rent and brought her bounds to view.

Who then had thought that with the Eternal mind,
That in vast Future's covered bosom bound --
Shut up -- by these sea-roamers to be found,
Was this green home of poor, abused mankind,
This land of exiles, and the peaceful borne,
Where Babel's scattered tongues shall yet to one great speech return.

Fair Freedom travailed 'neath an unknown sky,
And tho' the tyrant shook his envious chain,
And tho' the bigot reared a gloomy fane,
She bore our darling of the azure eye;
Baptized its childhood in brave blood and tears,
But trumpted her independence in Great Britain's ears.

Astonished kingdoms heard of the new birth,
And royal vengeance drew her warring blade,
And bloody strokes upon Columbia laid,
To smite the young offender to the earth;
Colonial hardships shivered where she went,
And border horrors thro' the years a thrill of sadness sent.

But patriotism bold, sustained the blow,
Returning deeper wounds with daring might --
For Freedom ever steels the stroke of right --
And cool determined Valor's proud arm so
Dismayed the imperial hosts, that baffled George
Saw he could ne'er enslave the men who withstood Valley Forge.

A century has spun around the wheel
Of ages, and the years in noiseless flight
Have heaped their golden tributes to the right;
Till now religion in her heavenly zeal,
To mend life's ills walks hand in hand with lore,
Where clank the chains of slaves in Law's offended ears no more.

Here honest labor trembles at the nod
Of no despot; and penury no more
Must with her gaunt and withered arm implore
Scant life, at Charity's closed hands; but God
Doth lead the bounteous thousands as a flock,
And Peace's happy voices echo from the Nation's Rock.

Tho' at the name Republic tyrants mocked,
Columbia has lived a hundred years
Thro' trials, triumphs, hopes, and doubts and fears,
And still she lives, tho' often tempest-rocked.
Republic yet, united, one and free,
And may she live; her name the synonyme of Liberty!

Go forth ye children of the valiant land,
Go, sound the timbrel of her praises loud!
Ye Alleghenies, in your ascent proud
Thro' cloud-surrounded realms, the winds command
That revel in your soaring locks, to raise
One harmony, and mingle all their hoarsest notes in praise!

Ye Rocky mountains, as with awful glee,
Or icy scorn, ye stare against the sun
Whose shafts glance harmless your strong front upon,
And splintered fall, awake the Western Sea
To join the thunders of your snowy reign,
And speak responsive to your neighbors tow'ring o'er the plain!

Stride on, thou dread Niagara, stride on!
Thou lord of waters, in thy mighty wrath,
And thy earth-rocking leap into the bath
Of thunders, stride on! Omnipotent, alone!
And from thy stony lungs her praises sound,
Till Mexic's potent Sea reply and Oceans shout around!

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Albery Allson Whitman