Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | July 19, 2009

POEM OF THE DAY: The Pine-Tree

by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 – 1892).

The Pine-Tree (1846)
 
Lift again the stately emblem on the Bay State’s rusted shield,
Give to our Northern winds the Pine-Tree on our banner’s tattered field.
Sons of men who sat in council with their Bibles round the board,
Answering England’s royal missive with a firm, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Rise again for home and freedom! set the battle in array!
What the fathers did of old time we their sons must do to-day.

Tell us not of banks and tariffs, cease your paltry pedler cries;
Shall the good State sink her honor that your gambling stocks may rise?
Would ye barter man for cotton? That your gains may sum up higher,
Must we kiss the feet of Moloch, pass our children through the fire?
Is the dollar only real? God and truth and right a dream?
Weighed against your lying ledgers must our manhood kick the beam?

O my God! for that free spirit, which of old in Boston town
Smote the Province House with terror, struck the crest of Andros down!
For another strong-voiced Adams in the city’s streets to cry,
“Up for God and Massachusetts! Set your feet on Mammon’s lie!
Perish banks and perish traffic, spin your cotton’s latest pound,
But in Heaven’s name keep your honor, keep the heart o’ the Bay State sound!”

Where’s the man for Massachusetts? Where’s the voice to speak her free?
Where’s the hand to light up bonfires from her mountains to the sea?
Beats her Pilgrim pulse no longer? Sits she dumb in her despair?
Has she none to break the silence? Has she none to do and dare?
O my God! for one right worthy to lift up her rusted shield,
And to plant again the Pine-Tree in her banner’s tattered field!

Notes:
Written on hearing that the Anti-Slavery Resolves of Stephen C. Phillips had been rejected by the Whig Convention in Faneuil Hall, in 1846.
http://www.johngreenleafwhittier.com/
http://www.nndb.com/people/214/000103902/

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