Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FREEDOM, by CHARLES L. REASON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

FREEDOM, by                    
First Line: O freedom! Freedom! O! How oft
Last Line: Of britain, blew thy trumpet blast.
Subject(s): Clarkson, Thomas (1760-1846); Freedom; Switzerland - Wars; Tell, William; Liberty

O Freedom! Freedom! O! how oft
Thy loving children call on Thee!
In wailings loud, and breathings soft,
Beseeching God, Thy face to see.

With agonizing hearts we kneel,
While 'round us howls the oppressor's cry, --
And suppliant pray, that we may feel
The ennobling glances of Thine eye.

We think of Thee as once we saw
Thee, jeweled by Thy Father's hand,
Afar beside dark Egypt's shore,
Exulting with Thy ransom's brand.

We hear, as then, the thrilling song,
That hailed Thy passage through the sea, --
While distant echoes still prolong
The cymbaled anthem, sung to Thee.

And wafted yet, upon the gales
Borne pure and fresh from sunny skies,
Come startling words; that 'long the vales
Where Pelion and Ossa rise,

Were shouted by Thy own clear voice!
And Grecian hearts leaped at the call:
E'en as now Patriot souls rejoice,
To see invading tyrants fall.

We view Thy stately form, loom o'er
The topmost of the seven hills!
While 'round Thee glittering eagles soar --
The symboled rise of freeborn wills.

Down in the plains, we still behold
The circled forums built to Thee; --
Hear Tully's strains, and Brutus bold,
Call on his country to be free.

When from those groves of citron bloom,
And classic Helle's vine clad shore, --
Through countries hung in castled gloom,
Attending winds Thy chariot bore, --

We followed Thee o'er all the fields
Of Europe, crimson-dyed with blood;
Where broken spears, and buried shields,
Now mark the spots where Thou hast stood.

At Morgarten, through drifting snows,
That seemed to guard the Switzer's home! --
And where the walls of Sempach rose,
We saw the mail-clad Austrians comes.

Three times we saw Thee bear the shock
Of stalwart knight, and plunging steed; --
And crush their front, as does the rock
The waves, that 'against its bosom speed.

Yet, vainly striving, Thou, to part
That bristling sea of pikes had'st tried,
Till Underwalden's patriot heart
Bore down the foe, and glorious died.

Yes! Victory, as Arnold fell
Her white plumes waved from every peak, --
And ringing loud, the voice of Tell
Still greater triumphs bade thee seek.

With trophies from Thy conflicts decked,
(Allied by God to injured men,)
We saw Thy struggle at Utrecht,
At Zealand, Brabant, and Lutzen.

Wherever the sunbeams flashed, Thy shield
Lit up oppression's funeral pile;
And though overwhelmed on Calsgrave field,
And banished from Thy sea-girt isle;

Yet cheering on Thy gallant Poles,
From Slavon bondage to be free,
We see thy buried pace, as rolls
The alarm of danger over the sea.

Above the heaving mountain crest,
As to the isles of thought and song
Thou bad'st adieu, -- from out the west,
Were heard deep mutterings of wrong.

On many a frozen battle ground,
Opposing swords were gleaming bright;
While 'long the skies, the thundering sound
Of cannon woke the silent night.

Exulting in their mission high,
Columbia's sons had pledged Thy cause --
Thy first endeavor, -- "to unite
The cords of caste and slavish laws."

Long years rolled by, and still went on
The strife of man, against regal power;
Till, falsely, in Thy strength, was won,
Thy since, polluted, blood-stained dower.

We mourn for this! yet joyfully
O Freedom! we loud praises give,
That on Thine altar in the sea,
For us Thy holy fires live.

Oh! grant unto our parent home,
Thy constant presence and Thy shield!
That when again rude hirelings come,
Though scarred from every battlefield,

The spirit of the patriot true,
Toussaint, the "man of men," may ring
The shrill war cry the welkin through,
And plain to mount the echo sing.

But not 'mid trickling blood and smoke,
The wailings of the dying foe,
The bayonet thrust -- the saber stroke, --
Canst Thou alone great victories show.

Along thy pathway, glory shines:
And grateful wreaths before Thee fall: --
More worth than all Golconda's mines.
Or power, that twines in Coronal.

Thine is the mission, to subdue
The soul, encased in triple steel;
And so the world with love imbue,
That tyrants shall before Thee kneel.

When from the slave's crushed, aching heart,
The cry when up to Sabaoth's God, --
And man, with his immortal part,
Alike, were thrust beneath the sod,

We saw thee wield conviction's strength,
And heard thy blows fall thick and fast;
While loud and clear through all the length
Of Britain, blew Thy trumpet blast.

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