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Poem by Samuel Rogers
Written in 1834
Well, when her day is over, be it said That, though a speck on the terrestrial globe, Found with long search and in a moment lost, She made herself a name--a name to live While science, eloquence, and song divine, And wisdom, in self-government displayed, And valour, such as only in the Free, Shall among men be honoured. Every sea Was covered with her sails, in every port Her language spoken; and, where'er you went, Exploring, to the east, or to the west, Even to the rising or the setting day, Her arts and laws and institutes were there, Moving with silent and majestic march, Onward and onward, where no pathway was; There her adventurous sons, like those of old, Founding vast empires - empires in their turn Destined to shine thro' many a distant age With sun-like splendour. Wondrous was her wealth, The world itself her willing tributary; yet, to accomplish what her soul desired, All was as nothing; and the mightiest kings, Each in his hour of strife exhausted, fallen, Drew strength from Her, their coffers from her own Filled to o'erflowing. When her fleets of war Had swept the main; when not an adverse prow, From pole to pole, far as the sea-bird flies, Ruffled the tide; and they themselves were gone, Gone from the eyes and from the minds of men, Their dreadful errands so entirely done - Up rose her armies; on the land they stood, Fearless, erect; and in an instant smote Him with his legions. Yet ere long 'twas here, Great as her triumphs, to eclipse them all, To do what none had done, none had conceived, An act how glorious, making joy in heaven! When, such her prodigality, condemned To toil and toil, alas, how hopelessly, Herself in bonds, for ages unredeemed - As with a god-like energy she sprung, All else forgot, and, burdened as she was, Ransomed the African.
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