II. Poems printed in the ‘life of Whittier.’
The home-coming of the Bride.[The home of Sarah Greenleaf was upon the Newbury shore of the Merrimac, nearly opposite the home of the Whittiers. Among Mr. Whittier's papers was found the following fragment of a ballad about the home-coming, as a bride, of his grandmother, Sarah Greenleaf, now first published.] Sarah Greenleaf, of eighteen years,
Stepped lightly her bridegroom's boat within,
Waving mid-river, through smiles and tears,
A farewell back to her kith and kin.
With her sweet blue eyes and her new gold gown,
She sat by her stalwart lover's side—
Oh, never was brought to Haverhill town
By land or water so fair a bride.
Glad as the glad autumnal weather,
The Indian summer so soft and warm,
They walked through the golden woods together,
His arm the girdle about her form.
They passed the dam and the gray gristmill,
Whose walls with the jar of grinding shook,
And crossed, for the moment awed and still,
The haunted bridge of the Country Brook.
The great oaks seemed on Job's Hill crown
To wave in welcome their branches strong,
And an upland streamlet came'rippling down
Over root and rock, like a bridal song.
And lo! in the midst of a clearing stood
The rough-built farmhouse, low and lone,
While all about it the unhewn wood
Seemed drawing closer to claim its own.
But the red apples dropped from orchard trees,
The red cock crowed on the low fence rail,
From the garden hives came the sound of bees,
On the barn floor pealed the smiting flail.
The song of the Vermonters, 1779.[Written during school-days, and published anonymously in 1833. The secret of authorship was not discovered for nearly sixty years.]
Ho—all to the borders! Vermonters, come down,
With your breeches of deerskin and jackets of brown;
With your red woollen caps, and your moccasins, come,
To the gathering summons of trumpet and drum.
Come down with your rifles! Let gray wolf and fox
Howl on in the shade of their primitive rocks;
Let the bear feed securely from pig-pen and stall;
Here's two-legged game for your powder and ball.
On our south came the Dutchmen, enveloped in grease;
And arming for battle while canting of peace;
On our east, crafty Meshech has gathered his band
To hang up our leaders and eat up our land.
Ho—all to the rescue! For Satan shall work
No gain for his legions of Hampshire and York!
They claim our possessions—the pitiful knaves—
The tribute we pay shall be prisons and graves!
Let Clinton and Ten Broek, with bribes in their hands,
Still seek to divide and parcel our lands;
We've coats for our traitors, whoever they are;
The warp is of feathers—the filling of tar.
Does the ‘old Bay State’threaten? Does Congress complain?
Swarms Hampshire in arms on our borders again?
Bark the war-dogs of Britain aloud on the lake—
Let 'em come; what they can they are welcome to take.
What seek they among us? The pride of our wealth
Is comfort, contentment, and labor, and health,
And lands which, as Freemen, we only have trod,
Independent of all, save the mercies of God.
Yet we owe no allegiance, we bow to no throne,
Our ruler is law, and the law is our own;
Our leaders themselves are our own fellow-men,
Who can handle the sword, or the scythe, or the pen.
 Our wives are all true, and our daughters are fair,
With their blue eyes of smiles and their light flowing hair,
All brisk at their wheels till the dark even-fall,
Then blithe at the sleigh-ride, the husking, and ball!
We've sheep on the hillsides, we've cows on the plain,
And gay-tasselled corn-fields and rank-growing grain;
There are deer on the mountains, and wood-pigeons fly
From the crack of our muskets, like clouds on the sky.
And there's fish in our streamlets and rivers which take
Their course from the hills to our broad-bosomed lake;
Through rock-arched Winooski the salmon leaps free,
And the portly shad follows all fresh from the sea.
Like a sunbeam the pickerel glides through the pool,
And the spotted trout sleeps where the water is cool,
Or darts from his shelter of rock and of root
At the beaver's quick plunge, or the angler's pursuit.
And ours are the mountains, which awfully rise,
Till they rest their green heads on the blue of the skies;
And ours are the forests unwasted, unshorn,
Save where the wild path of the tempest is torn.
And though savage and wild be this climate of ours,
And brief be our season of fruits and of flowers,
Far dearer the blast round our mountains which raves,
Than the sweet summer zephyr which breathes over slaves!
Hurrah for Vermont! For the land which we till
Must have sons to defend her front valley and hill;
Leave the harvest to rot on the fields where it grows,
And the reaping of wheat for the reaping of foes.
From far Michiscom's wild valley, to where
Poosoonsuck steals down from his wood-circled lair,
From Shocticook River to Lutterlock town—
Ho—all to the rescue! Vermonters, come down!
Come York or come Hampshire, come traitors or knaves
If ye rule o'er our land, ye shall rule o'er our graves;
Our vow is recorded—our banner unfurled,
In the name of Vermont we defy all the world!
To A Poetical Trio in the City of Gotham.[This jeu d'esprit was written by Whittier in 1832. The notes are his own. The authorship was not discovered till after his death.] Three wise men of Gotham
Went to sea in a bowl.
Bards of the island city!—where of old
The Dutchman smoked beneath his favorite tree,
And the wild eyes of Indian hunters rolled
On Hudson plunging in the Tappaan Zee,
Scene of Stuyvesant's might and chivalry,
And Knickerbocker's fame,—I have made bold
To come before ye, at the present time,
And reason with ye in the way of rhyme.
Time was when poets kept the quiet tenor
Of their green pathway through th' Arcadian vale,—
Chiming their music in the low sweet manner
Of song-birds warbling to the ‘Soft South’ gale;
Wooing the Muse where gentle zephyrs fan her,
I Where all is peace and earth may not assail;
Telling of lutes and flowers, of love and fear,
Of shepherds, sheep and lambs, and ‘such small deer.’
But ye! lost recreants—straying from the green
And pleasant vista of your early time,
With broken lutes and crownless skulls—are seen
Spattering your neighbors with abhorrent slime
Of the low world's pollution!1 Ye have been
So long apostates from the Heaven of rhyme,
That of the Muses, every mother's daughter
Blushes to own such graceless bards e'er sought her.
‘Hurrah for Jackson!’ is the music now
Which your cracked lutes have learned alone to utter,
As, crouching in Corruption's shadow low,
Ye daily sweep them for your bread and butter,2
 Cheered by the applauses of the friends who show
Their heads above the offal of the gutter,
And, like the trees which Orpheus moved at will,
Reel, as in token of your matchless skill!
Thou son of Scotia!3 nursed beside the grave
Of the proud peasant-minstrel, and to whom
The wild muse of thy mountain-dwelling gave
A portion of its spirit,—if the tomb
Could burst its silence, o'er the Atlantic's wave
To thee his voice of stern rebuke would come,
Who dared to waken with a master's hand
The lyre of freedom in a fettered land.
And thou!—once treading firmly the proud deck
O'er which thy country's honored flag was sleeping,
Calmly in peace, or to the hostile beck
Of coming foes in starry splendor sweeping,—
Thy graphic tales of battle or of wreck,
Or lone night-watch in middle ocean keeping,
Have made thy ‘Leisure Hours’more prized by far
Than those now spent in Party's wordy war.4
And last, not least, thou!— now nurtured in the land
Where thy bold-hearted fathers long ago
Rocked Freedorn's cradle, till its infant hand
Strangled the serpent fierceness of its foe,—
Thou, whose clear brow in early time was fanned
By the soft airs which from Castalia flow!5—
Where art thou now? feeding with hickory ladle
The curs of Faction with thy daily twaddle!
Men have looked up to thee, as one to be
A portion of our glory; and the light
And fairy hands of woman beckoned thee
On to thy laurel guerdon; and those bright
And gifted spirits, whom the broad blue sea
Hath shut from thy communion, bid thee, ‘Write,’
Like John of Patmos. Is all this forgotten,
For Yankee brawls and Carolina cotton?
 Are autumn's rainbow hues no longer seen?
Flows the ‘Green River’ through its vale no more?
Steals not thy ‘Rivulet’ by its banks of green?
Wheels upward from its dark and sedgy shore
Thy ‘Water Fowl’ no longer?—that the mean
And vulgar strife, the ranting and the roar
Extempore, like Bottom's should be thine,—
Thou feeblest truck-horse in the Hero's line!
Lost trio! —turn ye to the minstrel pride
Of classic Britain. Even effeminate Moore
Has cast the wine-cup and the lute aside
For Erin and O'Connell; and before
His country's altar, Bulwer breasts the tide
Of old oppression. Sadly brooding o'er
The fate of heroes struggling to be free,
Even Campbell speaks for Poland. Where are ye?
Hirelings of traitors!—know ye not that men
Are rousing up around ye to retrieve
Our country's honor, which too long has been
Debased by those for whom ye daily weave
Your web of fustian; that from tongue and pen
Of those who o'er our tarnished honor grieve,
Of the pure-hearted and the gifted, come
Hourly the tokens of your master's doom?
Turn from their ruin! Dash your chains aside!
Stand up like men for Liberty and Law,
And free opinion. Check Corruption's pride,
Soothe the loud storm of fratricidal war,—
And the bright honors of your eventide
Shall share the glory which your morning saw;
The patriot's heart shall gladden at your name,
Ye shall be blessed with, and not ‘damned to fame’!
Album Verses.[Written in the album of May Pillsbury of West Newbury, in the fall of 1838, when Whittier was at home on a visit from Philadelphia, where he was engaged in editorial work.] Pardon a stranger hand that gives
Its impress to these gilded leaves. 
As one who graves in idle mood
An idler's name on rock or wood,
So in a careless hour I claim
A page to leave my humble name.
Accept it; and when o'er my head
A Pennsylvanian sky is spread,
And but in dreams my eye looks back
On broad and lovely Merrimac,
And on my ear no longer breaks
The murmuring music which it makes,
When but in dreams I look again
On Salisbury beach—Grasshopper plain—
Or Powow stream—or Amesbury mills,
Or old Crane neck, or Pipestave hills,
Think of me then as one who keeps,
Where Delaware's broad current sweeps,
And down its rugged limestone-bed
The Schuylkill's arrowy flight is sped,
Deep in his heart the scenes which grace
And glorify his ‘native place;’
Loves every spot to childhood dear,
And leaves his heart ‘untravelled’ here;
Longs, midst the Dutchman's kraut and greens,
For pumpkin-pie and pork and beans,
And sighs to think when, sweetly near,
The soft piano greets his ear,
That the fair hands which, small and white,
Glance on its ivory polished light,
Have ne'er an Indian pudding made,
Nor fashioned rye and Indian bread.
And oh! where'er his footsteps turn,
Whatever stars above him burn,
Though dwelling where a Yankee's name
Is coupled with reproach or shame,
Still true to his New England birth,
Still faithful to his home and hearth,
Even 'midst the scornful stranger band
His boast shall be of Yankee land.
What State Street said to South Carolina, and what South Carolina said to State Street.[Published in The National Era, May 22, 1851.] Muttering ‘fine upland staple,’ prime ‘Sea Island finer,’
With cotton bales pictured on either retina, 
‘Your pardon!’ said State Street to South Carolina;
“We feel and acknowledge your laws are diviner
Than any promulgated by the thunders of Sinai!
Sorely pricked in the sensitive conscience of business
We own and repent of our sins of remissness:
Our honor we've yielded, our words we have swallowed;
And quenching the lights which our forefathers followed,
And turning from graves by their memories hallowed,
With teeth on ball-cartridge, and finger on trigger,
Reversed Boston Notions, and sent back a nigger!”
‘Get away!’ cried the Chivalry, busy a-drumming,
And fifing and drilling, and such Quattle-bumming;
“With your April-fool slave hunt! Just wait till December
Shall see your new Senator stalk through the Chamber,
And Puritan heresy prove neither dumb nor
Blind in that pestilent Anakim, Sumner!”
A Fremont Campaign song.Sound now the trumpet warningly!
The storm is rolling nearer,
The hour is striking clearer,
In the dusky dome of sky.
If dark and wild the morning be,
A darker morn before us
Shall fling its shadows o'er us
If we let the hour go by.
Sound we then the trumpet chorus!
Sound the onset wild and high!
Country and Liberty!
Freedom and Victory!
These words shall be our cry,—
Fremont and Victory!
Sound, sound the trumpet fearlessly!
Each arm its vigor lending,
Bravely with wrong contending,
And shouting Freedom's cry!
The Kansas homes stand cheerlessly,
The sky with flame is ruddy,
The prairie turf is bloody,
Where the brave and gentle die.
Sound the trumpet stern and steady!
Sound the trumpet strong and high!
Country and Liberty!
Freedom and Victory! 
These words shall be our cry,—
Fremont and Victory!
Sound now the trumpet cheerily!
Nor dream of Heaven's forsaking
The issue of its making,
That Right with Wrong must try.
The cloud that hung so drearily
The Northern winds are breaking;
The Northern Lights are shaking
Their fire-flags in the sky.
Sound the signal of awaking;
Sound the onset wild and high!
Country and Liberty!
Freedom and Victory!
These words shall be our cry,—
Fremont and Victory!
The Quakers are out.[A campaign song written to be sung at a Republican mass meeting held in Newburyport, Mass., October 11, 1860.] Not vainly we waited and counted the hours,
The buds of our hope have all burst into flowers.
No room for misgiving—no loop-hole of doubt,—
We've heard from the Keystone! The Quakers are out.
The plot has exploded—we've found out the trick;
The bribe goes a-begging; the fusion won't stick.
When the Wide-awake lanterns are shining about,
The rogues stay at home, and the true men are out!
The good State has broken the cords for her spun;
Her oil-springs and water won't fuse into one;
The Dutchman has seasoned with Freedom his kraut,
And slow, late, but certain, the Quakers are out!
Give the flags to the winds! set the hills all aflame!
Make way for the man with the Patriarch's name!
Away with misgiving—away with all doubt,
For Lincoln goes in, when the Quakers are out!
A Legend of the Lake.[This poem, originally printed in the Atlantic Monthly was withheld from publication in his volumes by Mr. Whittier, in deference to living relatives of the hero of the poem. Death finally removed the restriction.] Should you go to Centre Harbor,
As haply you sometime may,
Sailing up the Winnepesaukee
From the hills of Alton Bay,—
Into the heart of the highlands,
Into the north wind free,
Through the rising and vanishing islands,
Over the mountain sea,—
To the little hamlet lying
White in its mountain fold,
Asleep by the lake and dreaming
A dream that is never told,—
And in the Red Hill's shadow
Your pilgrim home you make,
Where the chambers open to sunrise,
The mountains, and the lake,—
If the pleasant picture wearies,
As the fairest sometimes will,
And the weight of the hills lies on you
And the water is all too still,—
If in vain the peaks of Gunstock
Redden with sunrise fire,
And the sky and the purple mountains
And the sunset islands tire,—
If you turn from in-door thrumming
And the clatter of bowls without,
And the folly that goes on its travels
Bearing the city about,—
And the cares you left behind you
Come hunting along your track, 
As Blue-Cap in German fable
Rode on the traveller's pack,—
Let me tell you a tender story
Of one who is now no more,
A tale to haunt like a spirit
The Winnepesaukee shore,—
Of one who was brave and gentle,
And strong for manly strife,
Riding with cheering and music
Into the tourney of life.
Faltering and failing midway
In the Tempter's subtle snare,
The chains of an evil habit
He bowed himself to bear.
Over his fresh young manhood
The bestial veil was flung,—
The curse of the wine of Circe,
The spell her weavers sung.
Yearly did hill and lakeside
Their summer idyls frame;
Alone in his darkened dwelling
He hid his face for shame.
The music of life's great marches
Sounded for him in vain;
The voices of human duty
Smete on his ear like pain.
In vain over island and water
The curtains of sunset swung;
In vain on the beautiful mountains
The pictures of God were hung.
The wretched years crept onward,
Each sadder than the last;
All the bloom of life fell from him,
All the freshness and greenness past.
But deep in his heart forever
And unprofaned he kept
The love of his saintly mother,
Who in the graveyard slept.
 His house had no pleasant pictures;
Its comfortless walls were bare:
But the riches of earth and ocean
Could not purchase his mother's chair.
The old chair, quaintly carven,
With oaken arms outspread,
Whereby, in the long gone twilights,
His childish prayers were said.
For thence in his long night watches,
By moon or starlight dim,
A face full of love and pity
And tenderness looked on him.
And oft, as the grieving presence
Sat in his mother's chair,
The groan of his self-upbraiding
Grew into wordless prayer.
At last, in the moonless midnight,
The summoning angel came,
Severe in his pity, touching
The house with fingers of flame.
The red light flashed from its windows
And flared from its sinking roof;
And baffled and awed before it
The villagers stood aloof.
They shrank from the falling rafters,
They turned from the furnace glare;
But its tenant cried, “God help me!
I must save my mother's chair.”
Under the blazing portal,
Over the floor of fire,
He seemed, in the terrible splendor,
A martyr on his pyre.
In his face the mad flames smote him,
And stung him on either side;
But he clung to the sacred relic,—
By his mother's chair he died!
O mother, with human yearnings!
O saint, by the altar stairs! 
Shall not the dear God give thee
The child of thy many prayers?
O Christ! by whom the loving,
Though erring, are forgiven,
Hast thou for him no refuge,
No quiet place in heaven?
Give palms to thy strong martyrs,
And crown thy saints with gold,
But let the mother welcome
Her lost one to thy fold!
Lines on leaving Appledore.
[sent in a letter to Celia Thaxter.]Under the shadow of a cloud, the light
Died out upon the waters, like a smile
Chased from a face by grief. Following the flight
Of a lone bird that, scudding with the breeze,
Dipped its crank wing in leaden-colored seas,
I saw in sunshine lifted, clear and bright,
On the horizon's rim the Fortunate Isle
That claims thee as its fair inhabitant,
And glad of heart I whispered, “Be to her,
Bird of the summer sea, my messenger;
Tell her, if Heaven a fervent prayer will grant,
This light that falls her island home above,
Making its slopes of rock and greenness gay,
A partial glory midst surrounding gray,
Shall prove an earnest of our Father's love,
More and more shining to the perfect day.”
Mrs. Choates House-Warming.[‘His washerwoman, Mrs. Choate, by industry and thrift had been enabled to build for her family a comfortable house. When it was ready for occupancy, there was a house-warming, attended by all the neighbors, who brought substantial tokens of their good-will, including all the furniture needed in her new parlor. Mr. Whittier's hand was to be seen in the whole movement; he was present at the festivity, and made a little speech, congratulating Mrs. Choate upon her well-deserved success in life, and said he would read a piece of machine poetry which had been intrusted to him for the occasion. These are the lines, which were, of course, of his own composition.’ —S. T. Pickard, Life and Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier.] Of rights and of wrongs
Let the feminine tongues
Talk on—none forbid it. 
Our hostess best knew
What her hands found to do,
Asked no questions, but did it.
Here the lesson of work,
Which so many folks shirk,
Is so plain all may learn it;
Each brick in this dwelling,
Each timber is telling,
If you want a home, Earn it.
The question of labor
Is solved by our neighbor,
The old riddle guessed out:
The wisdom sore needed,
The truth long unheeded,
Her flat-iron's pressed out!
Thanks, then, to Kate Choate!
Let the idle take note
What their fingers were made for;
She, cheerful and jolly,
Worked on late and early,
And bought—what she paid for!
Never vainly repining,
Nor begging, nor whining;
The morning-star twinkles
On no heart that's lighter
As she makes the world whiter
And smoothes out its wrinkles.
So, long life to Kate!
May her heirs have to wait
Till they're gray in attendance;
And her flat-iron press on,
Still teaching its lesson
Of brave independence!
An Autograph.[Written for an old friend, Rev. S. H. Emery, of Quincy III., who revisited Whittier in 1868.] The years that since we met have flown
Leave as they found me, still alone: 
No wife, nor child, nor grandchild dear,
Are mine the heart of age to cheer.
More favored thou, with hair less gray
Than mine, canst let thy fancy stray
To where thy little Constance sees
The prairie ripple in the breeze;
For one like her to lisp thy name
Is better than the voice of fame.
A Farewell.[Written for Mr.Claflin and Mrs. Claflin as they were about to sail to Europe.] What shall I say, dear friends, to whom I owe
The choicest blessings, dropping from the hands
Of trustful love and friendship, as you go
Forth on your journey to those older lands,
By saint and sage and bard and hero trod?
Scarcely the simple farewell of the Friends
Sufficeth; after you my full heart sends
Such benediction as the pilgrim hears
Where the Greek faith its golden dome uprears,
From Crimea's roses to Archangel snows,
The fittest prayer of parting: ‘Go with God!’
On a Fly-leaf of Longfellow's Poems.
[written at the Asquam House in the summer of 1882.]Hushed now the sweet consoling tongue
Of him whose lyre the Muses strung;
His last low swan-song has been sung!
His last! And ours, dear friend, is near;
As clouds that rake the mountains here,
We too shall pass and disappear.
Yet howsoever changed or tost,
Not even a wreath of mist is lost,
No atom can itself exhaust.
So shall the soul's superior force
Live on and run its endless course
In God's unlimited universe.
And we, whose brief reflections seem
To fade like clouds from lake and stream,
Shall brighten in a holier beam.
 Anne Whitney, and placed in the Cary Library, Lexington, Mass., May, 1884.] Like that ancestral judge who bore his name,
Faithful to Freedom and to Truth, he gave,
When all the air was hot with wrath and blame,
His youth and manhood to the fettered slave.
And never Woman in her suffering saw
A helper tender, wise, and brave as he;
Lifting her burden of unrighteous law,
He shamed the boast of ancient chivalry.
Noiseless as light that melts the darkness is,
He wrought as duty led and honor bid,
No trumpet heralds victories like his,—
The unselfish worker in his work is hid.
Lines written in an Album.[The album belonged to the grandson of Whittier's lifelong friend, Theodore D. Weld, and the lines were written in April, 1884.] What shall I wish him? Strength and health
May be abused, and so may wealth.
Even fame itself may come to be
But wearying notoriety.
What better can I ask than this?—
A life of brave unselfishness,
Wisdom for council, eloquence
For Freedom's need, for Truth's defence,
The championship of all that's good,
The manliest faith in womanhood,
The steadfast friendship, changing not
With change of time or place or lot,
Hatred of sin, but not the less
A heart of pitying tenderness 
And charity, that, suffering long,
Shames the wrong-doer from his wrong:
One wish expresses all—that he
May even as his grandsire be!
A day's Journey.[Written in 1886 for the tenth anniversary of the wedding of his niece.] After your pleasant morning travel
You pause as at a wayside inn,
And take with grateful hearts your breakfast
Though served in dishes all of tin.
Then go, while years as hours are counted,
Until the dial's hand at noon
Invites you to a dinner table
Garnished with silver fork and spoon.
And when the vesper bell to supper
Is calling, and the day is old,
May love transmute the tin of morning
And noonday's silver into gold.
A fragment.[Found among Mr. Whittier's papers, ill his handwriting, but undated.] The dreadful burden of our sins we feel,
The pain of wounds which Thou alone canst heal,
To whom our weakness is our strong appeal.
From the black depths, the ashes, and the dross
Of our waste lives, we reach out to Thy cross,
And by its fullness measure all our loss!
That holy sign reveals Thee: throned above
No Moloch sits, no false, vindictive Jove—
Thou art our Father, and Thy name is Love!6