Life may be given in many ways,
  And loyalty to Truth be sealed 
  As bravely in the cabinet as the field, 
So generous is Fate; But then to stand beside her 
  When craven churls deride her, 
  To front a lie in arms and not to yield — 
This shows, methinks, God’s plan 
And measure of a stalwart man. . .
Nature, they say, doth dote,
  And cannot make a man
  Save on some worn-out plan,
  Repeating us by rote;
For him her Old-World mold aside she threw,
  And, choosing sweet clay from the breast
  Of the unexhausted West,
With stuff untainted shaped a hero new,
Wise, steadfast in the strength of God, and true. . .
Nothing of Europe here,
  Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward still,
  Ere any names of Serf and Peer
  Could Nature’s equal scheme deface;
  And thwart her genial will;
Here was a type of the true elder race,
And one of Plutarch’s men talked with us face to face.
He knew to bide his time
  And can his fame abide,
  Still patient in his simple faith sublime,
  Till the wise years decide;
Great captains, with their guns and drums,
  Disturb our judgment for the hour;
  But at last silence comes;
  These all are gone, and, standing like a tower,
Our children shall behold his fame,
The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man,
Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame,
New birth of our new soil, the first American.
James Russell Lowell

Comments are closed.