Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EXTRACTS FROM NEW-YEAR'S VERSES FOR 1825, by JOHN GARDINER CALKINS BRAINARD



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EXTRACTS FROM NEW-YEAR'S VERSES FOR 1825, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I love the 'universal yankee nation'
Last Line: And boast of such a sight in after years.
Subject(s): Holidays; New Year; United States; America


I LOVE the "Universal Yankee Nation,"
Where'er they are -- whatever they are about,
Whatever be their wealth, or rank, or station,
Their character or conduct. They are out
Upon parole, or sufferance, or probation,
On horse-back, or on foot -- and some, no doubt,
In coaches or in Congress!-- bless the land,
It is a thing I cannot understand.
By Yankee, I mean every man that's born
Within a tract of country, bounded East
By the Atlantic -- South, (not by Cape Horn)
But by Long Island Sound, and on the West
By New York State; northward by the forlorn
Hope of the British, (a poor rhyme at best)
Mountains and rocks and rivers far away,
That see six months of night, and six of day.
These Yankees are a scattered race -- each breeze
That sweeps a prairie, or that wakes a wave,
Is their acquaintance; forests, lakes, and seas
Know them-- adventurous, cunning, tough, and brave,
Shrewd and inquisitive; they know their P's
And Q's. They know to earn, and get, and save;
And if they break a thing, why, they can mend it:--
Their cash they get abroad, and then come home to spend it.
Plymouth and Bunker Hill are Yankee places,
And them I'll celebrate with pen and ink;
They are the themes of glory -- and the traces
Of blood and prayer are on their brow and brink;
And every reverential thought which graces
The Yankee heart, that will but stop and think
Of what those fathers were, is like the tear
Which children shed upon a parent's bier.
That silent, moonlight march to Bunker Hill,
With spades, and swords, bold hearts, and ready hands,
That Spartan step without their flutes --that still,
Hushed, solemn music of the heart, commands
More than the trumpet's echo -- 't is the thrill
That thoughts of well-loved homes, and streams, and lands,
Awaken when men go into the fight,
As did the men at Bunker Hill that night.
And blessed be that ever-coming wave,
That wets the rock where the old Pilgrims landed;
Thrice blessed be that foothold of the brave,
Where Freedom stood, and Tyranny was stranded;
Where Persecution, baffled, found its grave,
And naked Liberty -- there -- single handed,
Met foe and famine, pestilence and wrath,
And stayed till nought was left to cross her path.
Such themes are far too eloquent for me,
And few or none can do them justice; yet
'T would be a proud day in one's life to see
The look of Webster--or to hear Fayette
Give his last blessing to that Hill, and be
Near the brave spot with Warren's life-blood wet --
-- That glorious lachrymal of patriot's tears --
And boast of such a sight in after years.






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