Athena's Treehouse

The Man With the Hoe - Edwin Markham
The World is Waiting for You - S. S. Calkins
The World Wants Men - Anonymous
The Boy Columbus - Anonymous
The Preacher's Mistake - William Croswell Doane
The Right Kind of People - Edwin Markham
The Man From the Crowd - Sam Walter Foss
Two Temples - Hattie Vose Hall
The Reading Mother - Strickland Gillilan
The Hell Bound Train - Anonymous
Life Sculpture - William Croswell Doane
Hold Fast Your Dreams - Louise Driscoll
Knight of the Holy Grail - Alfred Tennyson
It Couldn't Be Done - Edgar A. Guest
God, Give Us Men - Josiah Gilbert Holland
The House By the Side of the Road - Sam Walter Foss
The Blind Men and the Elephant - John Godfrey Saxe
Moral Cosmetics - Horace Smith
The Mills of the Gods - Anon.
John Brown's Body - Traditional
Battle Hymn of the Republic - Julia Ward Howe
Land of the Free - Arthur Nicholas Hosking
I, Too, Sing America - Langston Hughes
The New Colossus - Emma Lazarus
Hymn to Nations - Pete Seeger
The Star Spangled Banner - Francis Scott Key
Who Has Known Heights - Mary Beth Whiteside
Unmanifest Destiny - Richard Hovey
Concord Hymn - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Boston Hymn - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Boy Reciter - David Everett
An Horatian Ode - Andrew Marvell
Excelsior - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Terminus - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Archimedes' Cockpit


The Man With the Hoe

Bowed by the weight of the centuries, he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?

Is this the thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of eternity?
Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And pillared the blue firmament with light?
Down all the stretch of Hell to its last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this-
More tongued with censure of the world's blind greed-
More filled with signs and portents for the soul-
More fraught with menace to the universe.

What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave to the wheel of labor; what to him
Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time's tragedy is in that aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity, betrayed,
Plundered and profaned and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Judges of the World-
A protest that is also prophesy.

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild it in the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies;
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the Future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake the world?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings-
With those who shaped him to the thing he is-
When this dumb Terror shall reply to God,
After the silence of the centuries?

Edwin Markham

The World is Waiting for You

The world is waiting for you, young man,
If your purpose is strong and true;
If out of your treasures of mind and heart,
You can bring things old and new;
If you know the truth that makes men free,
And with skill can bring it to view,
The world is waiting for you, young man,
The world is waiting for you.

There are treasures of mountain and treasures of sea,
And harvest of valley and plain,
That Industry, Knowledge and Skill can secure,
While Ignorance wishes in vain.
To scatter the lightning and harness the storm,
Is a power that is wielded by few;
If you have the nerve and the skill, young man,
The world is waiting for you.

Of the idle and brainless the world has enough-
Who eat what they never have earned;
Who hate the pure stream from the fountain of truth,
And wisdom and knowledge have spurned.
But patience and purpose which know no defeat,
And genius like gems bright and true,
Will bless all mankind with their love, life and light,-
The world is waiting for you.

Then awake, O, young man from the stupor of doubt,
And prepare for the battle of life;
Be the fire of the forge, or be anvil or sledge,-
But win or go down in the strife!
Can you stand though the world into ruin should rock?
Can you conquer with many or few?
Then the world is waiting for you, young man,
The world is waiting for you.

S. S. Calkins

The World Wants Men

The world wants men, large hearted, manly men,
Men who shall join its chorus and prolong
The song of labor and the song of love.

The time wants scholars, scholars who shall shape
The doubtful destiny of dubious years
And land the ark that bears our country's good
Safe on some peaceful Ararat at last.

The age wants heroes, heroes who shall dare
To struggle in the solid ranks of truth;
To clutch the monster error by the throat;
To bear opinion to a loftier seat;
To blot the era of oppression out
And lead a universal freedom in.

And Heaven wants souls; fresh and capacious souls
To taste its rapture and expand like flowers
Beneath the glory of the central Sun.
It wants fresh souls, not lean and shriveled ones,
It wants fresh souls, my brother, give it thine.

If thou indeed wilt be a hero and wilt strive
To help thy fellow and exalt thyself,
Thy feet at last shall stand on jasper floors,
Each single heart with myriad raptures filled,
Whilst thou shall sit with princes and kings,
Rich in the jewell of a ransomed soul.


The Boy Columbus

"'Tis a wonderful story," I hear you say,
"How he struggled and worked and plead and prayed,
And faced every danger undismayed,
With a will that would neither break nor bend,
And discovered a new world in the end-
But what does it teach a boy of today?
All the worlds are discovered, you know of course,
All the rivers are traced to their utmost source:
There is nothing left for a boy to find,
If he had ever so much a mind
To become a discoverer famous;
And if we'd much rather read a book
About someone else, and the risks he took,
Why nobody, surely, can blame us."

So you think all the worlds are discovered now;
All the lands have been charted and sailed about,
Their mountains climbed, their secrets found out;
All the seas have been sailed, and their currents known-
To the uttermost isles the winds have blown
They have carried a venturing prow?
Yet there lie all about us new worlds, everywhere,
That await their discoverer's footfall; spread fair
Are electrical worlds that no eye has yet seen,
And mechanical worlds that lie hidden serene
And await their Columbus securely.
There are new worlds in Science and new worlds in Art,
And the boy who will work with his head and his heart
Will discover his new world surely.


Our Heroes

Here's a Hand to the boy who has courage
To do what he knows to be right;
When he falls in the way of temptation,
He has a hard battle to fight.
Who strives against self and his comrades
Will find a most powerful foe.
All honor to him if he conquers.
A cheer for the boy who says "No!"

There's many a battle fought daily
The world knows nothing about;
There's many a brave little soldier
Whose strength puts a legion to rout.
And he who fights sin singlehanded.
Is more of a here, I say,
Than he who leads soldiers to battle
And conquers by arms in the fray.

Be steadfast my boy, when you're tempted,
To do what you know to be right.
Stand firm by the colors of manhood,
And you will o'ercome in the fight.
"The right," be your battle cry ever
In waging the warfare of life,
And God, who knows who are the heroes,
Will give you the strength for the strife.

Phoebe Clay

The Preacher's Mistake

The Parish Priest
Of austerity,
Climbed up in a high church steeple
To be nearer God,
So that he might hand
His word down to His people.

When the sun was high,
When the sun was low,
The good man sat unheeding
Sublunary things.
From transcendency
Was he forever reading.

And now and again
When he heard the creak
Of the weather vane a-turning,
He closed his eyes
And said, "Of a truth
From God I now am learning."

And in sermon script
He daily wrote
What he thought was sent from heaven,
And he dropped this down
On his people's heads
Two times one day in seven.

In his age God said,
"Come down and die!"
And he cried out from the steeple,
"Where art thou, Lord?"
And the Lord replied,
"Down here among my people."

William Croswell Doane

The Right Kind of People

Gone is the city, gone the day,
Yet still the story and the meaning stay:
Once where a prophet in the palm shade basked
A traveler chanced at noon to rest his miles.
"What sort of people may they be," he asked,
"In this proud city on the plains o'erspread?"
"Well, friend, what sort of people whence you came?"
"What sort?" the packman scowled; "why, knaves and fools."
"You'll find the people here the same," the wise man said.

Another stranger in the dusk drew near,
And pausing, cried "What sort of people here
In your bright city where yon towers arise?"
"Well, friend, what sort of people whence you came?"
"What sort?" the pilgrim smiled,
"Good, true and wise."
"You'll find the people here the same,"
The wise man said.

Edwin Markham

The Man From the Crowd

Men seem as alike as the leaves on the trees,
As alike as the bees in a swarming of bees;
And we look at the millions that make up the state
All equally little and equally great,
And the pride of our courage is cowed.
Then Fate calls for a man who is larger than men-
There's a surge in the crowd- there's a movement- and then
There arises a man that is larger than men-
And the man comes up from the crowd.
The chasers of trifles run hither and yon,
And the little small days of small things go on,
And the world seems no better at sunset than dawn,
And the race still increases its plentiful spawn.
And the voice of our wailing is loud.
Then the Great Deed calls out for the Great Men to come,
And the Crowd, unbelieving, sits sullen and dumb-
But the Great Deed is done, for the great man is come-
Aye, the man comes up from the crowd.

There's a dead hum of voices, all say the same thing,
And our forefathers' songs are the songs that we sing,
And the deeds by our fathers and grandfathers done
Are done by the son of the son of the son,
And our heads in contrition are bowed.
Lo, a call for a man who shall make all things new
Goes down through the throng! See! He rises in view!
Make room for the men who shall make all things new!-
For the man who comes up from the crowd.

And where is the man who comes up from the throng
Who does the new deed and who sings the new song,
And makes the old world as a world that is new?
And who is the man? It is you! It is you!
And our praise is exultant and proud.
We are waiting for you there- for you are the man!
Come up from the jostle as soon as you can;
Come up from the crowd there, for you are the man-
The man who comes up from the crowd.

Sam Walter Foss

Two Temples

A Builder builded a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill;
Pillars and groins and arches
All fashioned to work his will.
Men said, as they saw its beauty,
"It shall never know decay;
Great is thy skill, O Builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye."

A Mother builded a temple
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.
None praised her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wondrous plan,
For the temple the Mother builded
Was unseen by the eyes of man.

Gone is the Builder's temple,
Crumpled into the dust;
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust.
But the temple the Mother builded
Will last while the ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple
Was a child's immortal soul.

Hattie Vose Hall

The Reading Mother

I had a Mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be-
I had a Mother who read to me.

Strickland Gillilan

The Hell Bound Train

A Texas cowboy lay down on a barrom floor,
Having drunk so much he could drink no more;
So he fell asleep with a troubled brain
To dream that he rode on a hell bound train.

The engine with murderous blood was damp
And was brilliantly lit with a brimstone lamp;
An imp, for fuel, was shoveling bones,
While the furnace rang with a thousand groans.

The boiler was filled with lager beer
And the devil himself was the engineer;
The passengers were a most motely crew-
Church member, athiest, Gentile, and Jew,

Rich men in broadcloth, beggars in rags,
Handsome young ladies, and withered old hags,
Yellow and black men, red, brown, and white,
All chained together- O God, what a sight!

While the train rushed on at an awful pace-
The sulphurous fumes scorched their hands and face;
Wider and wider the country grew,
As faster and faster the engine flew.

Louder and louder the thunder crashed
And brighter and brighter the lightening flashed;
Hotter and hotter the air became
Till the clothes were burned from each quivering frame.

And out of the distance there arose a yell,
"Ha, ha," said the devil, "we're nearing hell!"
Then oh, how the passengers all shrieked with pain
And begged the devil to stop the train.

But he capered about and danced for glee,
And laughed and joked at their misery.
"My faithful friends you have done the work
And the devil can never a payday shirk.

"You've bullied the weak, you've robbed the poor,
The starving brother you've turned from the door;
You've laid up gold where the canker rust,
And have given free vent to your beastly lust.

"You've justice scorned, and corruption sown,
And trampled the laws of nature down.
You have drunk, rioted, cheated, plundered and lied,
And mocked at God in your hell born pride.

"You have paid full fare, so I'll carry you through,
For it's only right you should have your due.
Why, the laborer always expects his hire,
So I'll land you safe in the lake of fire,

"Where your flesh will waste in the flames that roar,
And my imps torment you forevermore."
Then the cowboy awoke with an anguished cry,
His clothes wet with sweat and his hair standing high.

Then he prayed as he never prayed till that hour
To be saved from his sin and the demon's power;
And his prayers and his vows were not in vain,
For he never rode the hell bound train.


Life Sculpture

Chisel in hand stood a sculptor boy
With his marble block before him,
And his eyes lit up with a smile of joy,
As an angel dream passed o'er him.

He carved that dream on that shapeless stone,
With many a sharp incision;
With Heaven's own light the sculptor shone-
He'd caught that angel vision.

Children of life are we, as we stand
With our lives uncarved before us,
Waiting the hour when, at God's command,
Our life dream shall pass o'er us.

If we carve it then on the yielding stone,
With many a sharp incision,
Its heavenly beauty shall be our own,
Our lives that angel vision.

William Croswell Doane

Hold Fast Your Dreams

Hold fast your dreams!
Within your heart
Keep one still, secret spot
Where dreams may go,
And, sheltered so,
May thrive and grow
Where doubt and fear are not.
O keep a place apart,
Within your heart,
For little dreams to grow!

Think still of lovely things that are not true.
Let wish and magic work at will in you.
Be sometimes blind to sorrow. Make believe!
Forget the calm that lies
In disillusioned eyes.
Though we all know that we must die,
Yet you and I
May walk with gods and be
Even now at home in immortality.

We see so many ugly things-
Deceits and wrongs and quarrelings;
We know, alas! we know
How quickly fade
The color in the west,
The bloom upon the flower,
The bloom upon the breast
And youth's blind hour.
Yet keep within your heart
A place apart
Where little dreams may go,
May thrive and grow.
Hold fast! hold fast your dreams!

Louise Driscoll

Image of The Knight of the Holy Grail by Frederick J. Waugh

Knight of the Holy Grail

Sometimes on lonely mountain meres I find a magic bark,
I leap on board: No helmsman steers: I float till all is dark.
A gentle sound, an awful light! Three angels bear the holy grail:
With folded feet on stoles of white, on sleeping wings they sail.
Ah, blessed vision! Blood of God! My spirit beats her mortal bars,
As down dark tides the glory slides and starlike mingles with the stars.

Alfred Tennyson

It Couldn't Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

Edgar A. Guest

God, Give Us Men

God, give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

Josiah Gilbert Holland

The House By the Side of the Road

There are hermit souls that live withdraw
In the peace of their self -content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynics ban;
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears-
Both parts of an infinite plan;
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook gladdened meadows ahead,
And mountains of wearisome height,
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
They are the good, they are the bad,
They are the weak, they are the strong,
Wise, foolish- so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat
Or hurl the cynic's ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Sam Walter Foss

The Blind Men and the Elephant

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the elepant
(Though all of them were blind,)
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the elephant,
And, happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the elephant
Is nothing but a wall!'

The Second, feling of the tusk,
Cried: "Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an elephant is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And, happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
"'Tis clear enough the elephant
Is very like a tree."

The Fifth, who chanched to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an elephant
Not one of them has seen!

John Godfrey Saxe

Moral Cosmetics

Ye who would have your festures florid,
Lithe limbs, bright eyes, unwrinkled forehead,
From age's devastation horrid,
Adopt this plan,-
'T will make, in climate cold or torrid,
A hale old man.

Avoid in youth luxurious diet,
Restrain the passions' lawless riot;
Devoted to domestic quiet,
Be wisely gay;
So shall ye, spite of age's fiat,
Resist decay.

Seek not in Mammon's worship pleasure,
But find your richest, dearest treasure
In God, his word, his work, not leisure:
The mind, not sense,
Is the sole scale by which to measure
Your opulence.

This is the solace, this the science,
Life's purest, sweetest, best appliance,
That disappoints not man's reliance,
Whate'er his state;
But challenges, with calm defiance,
Time, fortune, fate.

Horace Smith

The Mills of the Gods

He was the slave of Ambition
And he vowed to the Gods above
To sell his soul to perdition
For Fortune, Fame, and Love.
"Three Wishes," he cried,
And the Devil replied:
"Fortune is a fickle one,
Often wooed but seldom won,
Ever changing like the sun;
Still, I think it can be done.
You have a friend, a rich one too;
Kill him! His wealth is willed to you."
Ambition fled. He paused awhile,
But, daunted by the devil's smile,
He killed his friend to gain his aim,
Then bowed his head in grief and shame;
But the devil cried, "It's all in the game.
You wanted Fortune, Love, and Fame,
And so, I came.
Three wishes through your life shall run,
Behold, I've given you Number One."

And the Gods on high, with a watchful eye,
Looked down on the ways of man,
With their hopes and fears through the weary years
Since the days of the world began.
And the man, he prayed, for the soul betrayed
Had breathed a parting call:
"Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,
Yet they grind exceeding small."

Urged by the spur of Ambition,
With the devil still as his guide,
He now sought social position,
For wealth had brought him pride.
"Bring Fame," cried the man,
So the Devil began:
"Fame is but an accident,
Often sought but seldom sent,
Still, I think we're on the scent.
You know a genius gone insane;
Go steal the product of his brain."
The man obeyed, then cried, "Be gone!
From crime to crime you lead me on,
To kill a friend whose smile was glad,
To rob a genius driven mad
Through want. O God! Am I that bad?"
But the Devil cried, "What luck you've had!
You're famous, lad!
Three wishes run your whole life through,
Behold, I've given you Number Two."
And the Gods looked down with an angry frown
Till Satan fled their scorn.
For the Devil may play with the common clay,
But genius is heaven-born.
And the man grew bold with his Fame and Gold,
And cried, "Well, after all,
The Mills of the Gods grind slowly,
If they ever grind at all."

Men, good or bad, are but human,
And he, like the rest, wanted love.
So the devil soon brought him the woman
As fair as an angel above.
"I love you," he cried,
But the woman replied,
"Love is such an empty word,
Fancy fleeting, like a bird,
You have Wealth and Fame, I've heard-
Those are things to be preferred."
He gave her both. The wealth she spent,
And then betrayed him, so Fame went.
But Love came not, in his despair;
She only smiled and left him there,
And he called her "The Woman Who Didn't Care,"
But the devil cried, "You've had your share,
The game ends there.
Two of your wishes came through me,
But the Mighty Gods keep Number Three."

And the Gods grew stern as the Mills they turned,
That grind before they kill,
Till, staggering blind, with wandering mind,
And the glare of an imbecile,
From day to day he begs his way,
And whines his piteous call,
"The Mills of the Gods grind slowly,
Yet they grind exceeding small."


John Brown's Body

John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave
John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave
John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave
But his Soul goes marhing on!

He's gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord
He's gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord
He's gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord
And his Soul goes marching on!

The stars above in Heaven are looking kindly down
The stars above in Heaven are looking kindly down
The stars above in Heaven are looking kindly down
On the grave of our John Brown!

He captured Harper's Ferry with his 19 men so true
He frightened old Virginny til she trembled through and through
They hung him for a traitor, they themselves a traitor crew
Yet his Soul goes marching on!

Glory, Glory Hallelujah!

Glory, Glory Hallelujah!
Glory, Glory Hallelujah!
His Soul is marching on!

Oh, soldiers of Freedom, go strike while strike you may
The deathblow to oppression for a better time and way
For the Death of our John Brown has brightened us today
As his Soul is marching on!


Battle Hymn of the Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps:
I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

I have read the fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steal:
"As ye deal with my condemner, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heal,
Since God is marching on."

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat:
O, be swift, my soul, to answer him! Be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me;
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, he is honor to the brave,
So the world shall be his footstool, and the soul of wrong his slave,
Our God is marching on!

Julia Ward Howe

Land of the Free

America, O Power benign, great hearts revere your name,
You stretch your hand to every land, to weak and strong the same:
You claim no conquest of the sea, nor conquest of the field,
But conquest for the rights of man, that despots all shall yield.

America, fair land of mine, home of the just and true,
All hail to thee, land of the free, and the Red, White and Blue.

America, staunch, undismayed, your spirit is our might:
No splendor falls on feudal walls upon your mountain's height,
But shafts of Justice pierce your skies to light the way for all,
A world's great brotherhood of man, that cannot, must not fall.

America, in God we trust, we fear no tyrant's horde:
There's light that leads toward better deeds than conquest by the sword;
Yet our cause is just, if fight we must until the world be free
Of every menace, breed, or caste that strikes at Liberty.

America, home of the brave, our song in praise we bring-
Where Stars and Stripes the winds unfurl, 'tis there the tributes ring;
Our fathers gave their lives that we should live in Freedom's light-
Our lives we consecrate to thee, our guide the Might of Right.

Arthur Nicholas Hosking

I, Too, Sing America

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll sit at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed-

I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus

Hymn to Nations

Sing your land's undying fame
Light the wondrous tale of Nations
With your People's golden name
Tell your father's noble story,
Raise on high your country's sign
Join us! and in the final glory,
Brother lift your flag with mine.

Build a road of Peace before us,
Build it wide and deep and long
Speed the slow, remind the eager
Help the weak and guide the strong
None shall push aside another,
None shall let another fall.
Work together oh my Brothers,
All for one and one for all.

Pete Seeger

Star Spangled Banner (& Spanish translation)

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Amanece:­ ¿lo véis a la luz de la aurora
Lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?
sus estrellas, sus franjas flotaban ayer,
en el fiero combate en señal de victoria.
Fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertad,
por la noche decían: «¡Se va defendiendo!»
¡Oh, decid! ¿Despliega aún su hermosura estrellada,
sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada?

Sus estrellas, sus franjas, la libertad, somos iguales.
Somos hermanos, es nuestro himno.
En el fiero combate, en señal de victoria,
fulgor de lucha… (Mi gente sigue luchando.)
…al paso de la libertad (¡Ya es tiempo de romper las cadenas!)
Por la noche decían: «¡Se va defendiendo!»
¡Oh, decid! ¿Despliega aún su hermosura estrellada,
sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada?

Francis Scott Key

Who Has Known Heights

Who has known heights and depths shall not again
Know peace- not as the calm heart knows
Low, ivied walls; a garden close;
And though he tread the humble ways of men
He shall not speak the common tongue again.

Who has known heights shall bear forevermore
An incommunicable thing
That hurts his heart, as if a wing
Beat at the portal, challenging;
And yet- lured by the gleam his vision wore-
Who once has trodden stars seeks peace no more.

Mary Brent Whiteside

Unmanifest Destiny

To what new fates, my country, far
And unforeseen of foe or friend,
Beneath what unexpected star
Compelled to what unchosed end,

Across the sea that knows no beach,
The Admiral of Nations guides
Thy blind obedient keel to reach
The harbor where the future rides!

The guns that spoke at Lexington
Knew not that God was planning then
The trumpet word of Jefferson
To bugle forth the rights of men.

To them that wept and cursed Bull Run,
What was it but despair and shame?
Who saw behind the cloud the sun?
Who knew that God was in the flame?

Had not defeat upon defeat,
Disaster on disaster come,
The slave's emancipated feet
Had never marched behind the drum.

There is a Hand that bends our deeds
To mightier issues than we planned;
Each son that triumphs, each that bleeds,
My country serves its dark command.

I do not know beneath what sky
Nor on what seas shall be thy fate;
I only know it shall be high,
I only know it shall be great.

Richard Hovey

Concord Hymn

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmer stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Boston Hymn

The word of the Lord by night
To the watching Pilgrims came,
As they sat by the seaside,
And filled their hearts with flame.

God said, I am tired of kings,
I suffer them no more;
Up to my ear the morning brings
The outrage of the poor.

Think ye I made this ball
A field of havoc and war,
Where tyrants great and tyrants small
Might harry the weak and poor?

My angel,- his name is Freedom,-
Choose him to be your king;
He shall cut pathways east and west,
And fend you with his wing.

Lo! I uncover the land
Which I hid of old time in the West,
As the sculptor uncovers the statue
When he has wrought his best;

I show Columbia, of the rocks
Which dip their foot in the seas,
And soar to the air-borne flocks
Of clouds, and the boreal fleece.

I will divide my goods;
Call in the wretch and slave:
None shall rule but the humble,
And none but Toil shall have.

I will never have a noble,
No lineage counted great;
Fishers and choppers and ploughmen
Shall constitute a state.

Go, cut down trees in the forest,
And trim the straightest boughs;
Cut down trees in the forest,
And build me a wooden house.

Call the people together,
The young men and the sires,
The digger in the harvest-field,
Hireling, and him that hires;

And here in a pine state-house
They shall choose men to rule
In every needful faculty,
In church and state and school.

Lo, now! if these poor men
Can govern the land and sea,
And make just laws below the sun,
As planets faithful be.

And ye shall succor men;
'T is nobleness to serve;
Help them that cannot help again:
Beware from right to swerve.

I break your bonds and masterships,
And I unchain the slave:
Free be his heart and hand henceforth
As wind and wandering wave.

I cause from every creature
His proper good to flow;
As much as he is and doeth,
So much he shall bestow.

But, laying hands on another
To coin his labor and sweat,
He goes in pawn to his victim
For eternal years in debt.

To-day unbind the captive,
So only are ye unbound;
Lift up a people from the dust,
Trump of their rescue, sound!

Pay ransom to the owner,
And fill the bag to the brim.
Who is the owner? The slave is owner,
And ever was. Pay him.

O North! give him beauty for rags,
And honor, O South! for his shame;
Nevada! coin thy golden crags
With Freedom's image and name

Up! and the dusky race
That sat in darkness long,
Be swift their feet as antelopes,
And as behemoth strong.

Come, East and West and North,
By races, as snow-flakes,
And carry my purpose forth,
Which neither halts nor shakes.

My will fulfilled shall be,
For, in daylight or in dark,
My thunderbolt has eyes to see
His way home to the mark.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Boy Reciter

You'd scarce expect one of my age
To speak in public on the stage,
And if I chance to fall below
Demosthenes or Cicero,
Don't view me with a critic's eye,
But pass my imperfections by.
Large streams from little fountains flow,
Tall oaks from little acorns grow;
And though now I am small and young,
Of judgement weak and feeble tongue,
Yet all great, learned men, like me
Once learned to read their ABC.
But why may not Columbia's soil
Rear men as great as Britain's Isle,
Exceed what Greece and Rome have done
Or any land beneath the sun?
Mayn't Massachusetts boast as great
As any other sister state?
Or where's the town, go far or near,
That does not find a rival here?
Or where's the boy but three feet high
Who's made improvement more than I?
These thoughts inspire my youthful mind
To be the greatest of mankind:
Great, not like Caesar, stained with blood,
But only great as I am good.

David Everett

An Horatian Ode

The forward youth that would appear
Must now forsake his muses dear,
Nor in the shadows sing
His numbers languishing.

"Tis time to leave the books in dust,
And oil the unused armour's rust,
Removing from the wall
The unused corslet of the hall.

So restless Cromwell could not cease
In the inglorious arts of peace,
But through adventurous war
Urged his active star:

And like the three-fork'd lightning, first
Breaking the clouds where it was nurst,
Did through his own side
His fiery way divide:

For 'tis all one to courage high,
The emulous, or enemy;
And with such, to enclose
Is more than to oppose.

Then burning through the air he went
And palaces and temples rent;
And Caesar's head at last
Did through his laurels blast.

Tis madness to resist or blame
The face of angry Heaven's flame;
And if we would speak true,
Much to the man is due,

Who, from his private gardens, where
He lived reserved and austere
(As if his highest plot
To plant the bergamot),

Could by industrious valor climb
To ruin the great works of time,
And cast the Kingdoms old
Into another mould;

Though justice against Fate complain,
And plead the ancient rights in vain-
But those do hold or break
As men are strong or weak-

Nature, that hateth emptiness,
Allows of penetration less,
And therefore must make room
Where greater spirits come.

What field of all the civil war
Where his were not the deepest scar?
And Hampton shows what part
He had of wiser art;

Where, twining subtle fears with hope,
He wove a Net of such a scope
That Charles himself might chase
To Carisbrook's narrow case;

That thence the Royal actor borne
The tragic scaffold might adorn:
While round the armed bands
Did clap their bloody hands.

He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable scene,
But with his keener eye
The axe's edge did try;

Nor called the Gods, with vulgar spite,
To vindicate his helpless right;
But bow'd his comely head
Down, as upon a bed.

This was that memorable hour
Which first assured the forced power:
So when they did design
The Capitol's first line,

A Bleeding Head, where they begun,
Did fright the architects to run;
And yet in that the State
Foresaw its happy fate!

And now the Irish are ashamed
To see themselves in one year tamed:
So much one man can do
That does both act and know

They can affirm his praises best,
And have, though overcome, confest
How good he is, how just
And fit for highest trust;

Nor yet grown stiffer with command,
But still in the Republic's hand-
How fit he is to sway
That can so well obey!

He to the Commons' feet presents
A Kingdom for his first year's rents,
And, what he may, forbears
His fame, to make it theirs:

And has his sword and spoils ungirt
To lay them at the public's skirt.
So when the falcon high
Falls heavy from the sky,

She, having kill'd, no more does search
But on the next green bough to perch,
Where, when he first does lure,
The falconer has her sure.

What may not then our Isle presume
While victory his crest does plume?
What may not others fear,
If thus he crowns each year?

As Caesar he, ere long, to Gaul,
To Italy an Hannibal,
And to all States not free
Shall climacteric be.

The Pict no shelter now shall find
Within his particolour'd mind,
But, from this valour, sad
Shrink underneath the plaid,

Happy, if in the tufted brake
The English hunter him mistake,
Nor lay his hounds in near
The Caledonian deer.

But thou, the War's and Fortune's son,
March indefatigably on;
And for the last effect,
Still keep the sword erect:

Besides the force it has to fright
The spirits of the shady night,
The same arts that did gain
A power, must it maintain.

Andrew Marvell


The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,

His brow was sad; his eyes beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,

"Try not the Pass!" the old man said:
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!"
And loud that clarion voice replied,

"O stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!"
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,

"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


It is time to be old,To take in sail:-
The god of bounds,
Who sets to seas a shore,
Came to me in his fatal rounds,
And said: "No more!
No farther shoot
Thy broad ambitious branches, and thy root.
Fancy departs: no more invent;
Contract thy firmament
To compass of a tent.
There's not enough for this and that,
Make thy option which of two;
Economize the failing river,
Not the less revere the Giver,
Leave the many and hold the few.
Timely wise accept the terms,
Soften the fall with wary foot;
A little while
Still plan and smile,
And, -fault of novel germs,-
Mature the unfallen fruit.
Curse, if thou wilt, thy sires,
Bad husbands of their fires,
Who, when they gave thee breath,
Failed to bequeath
The needful sinew stark stark as once,
The Baresark marrow to thy bones,
But left a legacy of ebbing veins,
Inconstant heat and nerveless reins,-
Amid the Muses, left thee deaf and dumb,
Amid the Gladiators, halt and numb."
As the bird trims her to the gale,
I trim myself to the storm of time,
I man the rudder, reef the sail,
Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime:
"Lowly faithful, banish fear,
Right onward drive unharmed;
The port, well worth the cruise, is near,
And every wave is charmed."

Ralph Waldo Emerson