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18. Anglo-Saxon whittling song.

Your Yankee is always to be found with a jack-knife, and when he has nothing else to do, is eternally whittling. --Growling old traveller.

In the olden time of England, the days of Norman pride,
The mail-clad chieftain buckled on his broad-sword at his side,
And, mounted on his trusty steed, from land to land he strayed,
And ever as he wandered on, he whittled with his blade.
Oh! those dreamy days of whittling!

He was out in search of monsters — of giants grim and tall,
He was hunting up the griffins — the dragons, great and small--
He broke in through the oak doors of many a castle-gate,
And what he whittled when within, 'tis needless to relate.
Oh! those foolish days of whittling!

But when the pomp of feudal pride, like a dream had passed away,
And everywhere the knightly steel was rusting to decay,
The common people drew their blades in quite another cause,
And in the place of giants grim, they whittled up the laws.
Oh! those stern old days of whittling!

They whittled down the royal throne with all its ancient might,
And many a tough old cavalier was whittled out of sight;
They whittled off the king's head, and set it on the wall,
They whittled out a commonwealth, but it could not last at all.
Oh! those fiery days of whittling!

There came across the stormy deep, a stern and iron band,
A solemn look on every face — their hatchets in their hands;
They whittled down the forest oak, the chestnut, and the pine,
And planted in the wilderness the rose-tree and the vine.
Oh! those fearful days of whittling!

They made themselves a clearing, and housed their little freight,
They put their Sunday coats on, and whittled out a State;
They cut it round so perfectly, they whittled it so “true,”
That it still stands in beauty for all the world to view.
Oh! those grand old days of whittling!

When England sent her hirelings, with cannon, gun, and blade,
To break and batter down the State which these good men had made,
The people seized for weapons whatever came to hand,
And whittled these intruders back, and drove them from the land.
Oh! heroic days of whittling!

In men of Saxon blood it stays — this love of whittling — still,
And something must be whittled to pacify the will;
When the old wars were over, and peace came back again,
They took to whittling mountains, and filling vale and glen.
Oh! those peaceful days of whittling!

They whittled out the railroad path through hill, and rock, and sand,
And sent their snorting engines to thunder through the land;
Sails whitened all the harbors, the mountain valleys stirred,
And the hum and roar of labor through all the land was heard.
Oh! those busy days of whittling!

But there long had dwelt among us a gaunt and hideous Wrong,
Set round with ancient guarantees, with legal ramparts strong, [15]
With look and tone defiant, it feared not God or man,
But snatched on every side for power to work its wicked plan,
All ripe and dry for whittling.

Of old this Wrong was humble, asking, with pious cry,
This only, to be left alone, in its own time to die;
But, fed by this first yielding, bolder and bolder grown,
Shameless before the nations now, it reared its bloody throne.
The time draws nigh for whittling!

“Pride goes before destruction,” the wise man said of old;
“Whom the gods seek to ruin they first make mad;” and bold
In the frenzy of its madness, this Wrong forgot its place,
Came out with noise of gongs to fright our Yankee whittling race.
God gave this chance for whittling.

And now, my trusty Saxons, who come from near and far,
Remember who your fathers were, and set your teeth for war;
“Sword of the Lord and Gideon!” be still your battlecry,
And strike as Samson struck of old, smite Slavery hip and thigh.
Now is your time for whittling.

And when this life shall rest again from all this noise and strife,
And Peace her olive-branch shall wave o'er this broad realm of life,
Fair as the sun, our nation before the world shall stand,
Freedom on all her banners, freedom throughout the land.
Oh I these grand rewards of whittling!

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