They who maintained their rights,Through storm and stress,And walked in all the waysThat God made known,Led by no wandering lights,And by no guess,Through dark and desolate daysOf trial and moan:Here let their monumentRise, like a wordIn rock commemorativeOf our Land's youth;Of ways the Puritan went,With soul love-spurredTo suffer, die, and liveFor faith and truth.Here they the corner-stoneOf Freedom laid;Here in their hearts' distressThey lit the lightsOf Liberty alone;Here, with God's aid,Conquered the wilderness,Secured their rights.Not men, but giants, they,Who wrought with toilAnd sweat of brawn and brainTheir freehold here;Who, with their blood, each dayHallowed the soil.And left it without stainAnd without fear.
Yea; here, from men like these,Our country had its stanch beginning;Hence sprang she with the ocean breezeAnd pine scent in her hair;Deep in her eyes the winning,The far-off winning of the unmeasured West;And in her heart the care,The young unrest,Of all that she must dare,Ere as a mighty Nation she should standTowering from sea to sea,From land to mountained land,One with the imperishable beauty of the starsIn absolute destiny;Part of that cosmic law, no shadow mars,To which all freedom runs,That wheels the circles of the worlds and sunsAlong their courses through the vasty night,Irrevocable and eternal as is Light.
What people has to-daySuch faith as launched and sped,With psalm and prayer, the Mayflower on its way?—Such faith as ledThe Dorchester fishers to this sea-washed point,This granite headland of Cape Ann?Where first they made their bed,Salt-blown and wet with brine,In cold and hunger, where the storm-wrenched pineClung to the rock with desperate footing. They,With hearts courageous whom hope did anoint,Despite their tar and tan,Worn of the wind and spray,Seem more to me than man,With their unconquerable spirits.—Mountains maySuccumb to men like these, to wills like theirs,—The Puritan's tenacity to do;The stubbornness of genius;—holding toTheir purpose to the end,No New-World hardship could deflect or bend;—That never doubted in their worst despairs,But steadily on their wayHeld to the last, trusting in God, who filledTheir souls with fire of faith that helped them buildA country, greater than had ever thrilledMan's wildest dreams, or entered inHis highest hopes. 'Twas this that helped them winIn spite of danger and distress,Through darkness and the dinOf winds and waves, unto a wilderness,Savage, unbounded, pathless as the sea,That said, "Behold me! I am free!"Giving itself to them for greater thingsThan filled their souls with dim imaginings.
Let History record their stalwart names,And catalogue their fortitude, whence grew,Swiftly as running flames,Cities and civilization:How from a meeting-house and school,A few log-huddled cabins, Freedom drewHer rude beginnings. Every pioneer station,Each settlement, though primitive of tool,Had in it then the making of a Nation;Had in it then the roofing of the plainsWith traffic; and the piercing through and throughOf forests with the iron veinsOf industry.Would I could make you seeHow these, laboriously,These founders of New England, every hourFaced danger, death, and misery,Conquering the wilderness;With supernatural powerChanging its features; all its savage glowerOf wild barbarity, fierce hate, duress,To something human, something that could blessMankind with peace and lift its heart's elation;Something at last that stoodFor universal brotherhood,Astonishing the world, a mighty Nation,Hewn from the solitude.—Iron of purpose as of faith and daring,And of indomitable will,With axe and hymn-book still I see them faring,The Saxon Spirit of Conquest at their sideWith sword and flintlock; still I see them stride,As to some Roundhead rhyme,Adown the aisles of Time....