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Fitz-Greene Halleck (Фиц-Грин Халлек)


--STILL her gray rocks tower above the sea
    That crouches at their feet, a conquered wave; 
'Tis a rough land of earth, and stone, and tree,
    Where breathes no castled lord or cabined slave; 
Where thoughts, and tongues, and hands, are bold and free,
    And friends will find a welcome, foes a grave; 
And where none kneel, save when to heaven they pray,
    Nor even then, unless in their own way.

Theirs is a pure republic, wild, yet strong,
    A "fierce democracie," where all are true 
To what themselves have voted--right or wrong--
    And to their laws denominated blue; 
(If red, they might to Draco's code belong;)
    A vestal state, which power could not subdue, 
Nor promise win--like her own eagle's nest,
    Sacred--the San Marino of the west.

A justice of the peace, for the time being,
    They bow to, but may turn him out next year; 
They reverence their priest, but disagreeing
    In price or creed, dismiss him without fear; 
They have a natural talent for foreseeing
    And knowing all things;--and should Park appear 
From his long tour in Africa, to show
    The Niger's source, they'd meet him with--we know.

They love their land, because it is their own,
    And scorn to give aught other reason why; 
Would shake hands with a king upon his throne,
    And think it kindness to his majesty; 
A stubborn race, fearing and flattering none.
    Such are they nurtured, such they live and die: 
All--but a few apostates, who are meddling
    With merchandise, pounds, shillings, pence and peddling;

Or wandering through the southern countries, teaching
    The A. B. C. from Webster's spelling-book; 
Gallant and godly, making love and preaching,
    And gaining, by what they call "hook and crook," 
And what the moralists call overreaching,
    A decent living. The Virginians look 
Upon them with as favourable eyes
    As Gabriel on the devil in paradise.

But these are but their outcasts. View them near
    At home, where all their worth and pride is placed; 
And there their hospitable fires burn clear,
    And there the lowliest farm-house hearth is graced 
With manly hearts, in piety sincere,
    Faithful in love, in honour stern and chaste, 
In friendship warm and true, in danger brave,
    Beloved in life, and sainted in the grave.

And minds have there been nurtured, whose control
    Is felt even in their nation's destiny; 
Men who swayed senates with a statesman's soul,
    And looked on armies with a leader's eye; 
Names that adorn and dignify the scroll,
    Whose leaves contain their country's history, 
And tales of love and war--listen to one,
    Of the Green-Mountaineer--the Stark of Bennington.

When on that field his band the Hessians fought,
    Briefly he spoke before the fight began-- 
"Soldiers! those German gentlemen are bought
    For four pounds eight and seven pence per man, 
By England's king--a bargain, as is thought.
Are we worth more? Let's prove it now we can--
    For we must beat them, boys, ere set of sun, 
Or Mary Stark's a widow."--It was done.

Hers are not Tempe's nor Arcadia's spring,
    Nor the long summer of Cathayan vales, 
The vines, the flowers, the air, the skies, that fling
    Such wild enchantment o'er Boccaccio's tales 
Of Florence and the Arno--yet the wing
    Of life's best angel, Health, is on her gales 
Through sun and snow--and in the autumn time
    Earth has no purer and no lovelier clime.

Her clear, warm heaven at noon,--the mist that shrouds
    Her twilight hills,--her cool and starry eves, 
The glorious splendour of her sunset clouds,
    The rainbow beauty of her forest leaves, 
Come o'er the eye, in solitude and crowds,
    Where'er his web of song her poet weaves; 
And his mind's brightest vision but displays
    The autumn scenery of his boyhood's days.

And when you dream of woman, and her love;
    Her truth, her tenderness, her gentle power; 
The maiden, listening in the moonlight grove,
    The mother smiling in her infant's bower; 
Forms, features, worshipped while we breathe or move,
    Be by some spirit of your dreaming hour 
Borne, like Loretto's chapel, through the air
    To the green land I sing, then wake, you'll find them there. 

Fitz-Greene Halleck's other poems:
  1. Marco Bozzaris
  2. On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake
  3. Twilight
  4. Alnwick Castle

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