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You ask me, why, though ill at ease,
And languish for the purple seas?
It is the land that freemen till,
That sober-suited Freedom chose,
The land where, girt with friends or foes,
A man may speak the thing he will;
A land of settled government,
A land of just and old renown,
From precedent to precedent:
Where faction seldom gathers head,
Hath time and space to work and spread.
Should banded unions persecute
And individual freedom mute;
Though Power should make from land to land The name of Britain trebly great— Though every channel of the State
Should almost choke with golden sand —
Yet waft me from the harbor-mouth, Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky, And I will see before I die
The palms and temples of the South. i. 14
Of old sat Freedom on the heights,
The thunders breaking at her feet:
Above her shook the starry lights:
Within her place she did rejoice,
Self-gathered in her prophet-mind, But fragments of her mighty voice Came rolling on the wind.
Then stept she down through town and field
And part by part to men revealed
Grave mother of majestic works,
From her isle-altar gazing down,
Who, God-like, grasps the triple forks,
Her open eyes desire the truth.
The wisdom of a thousand years Is in them. May perpetual youth
Keep dry their light from tears;
That her fair form may stand and shine,
Make bright our days and light our dreams,
Turning to scorn with lips divine
Love thou thy land, with love far brought From out the storied Past, and used Within the Present, but transfused
Through future time by power of thought.
True love turned round on fixed poles,
Thy brothers and immortal souls.
But pamper not a hasty time,
That every sophister can lime.
Deliver not the tasks of might
Though sitting girt with doubtful light.