An Ode Pronounced Before the Inhabitants of Boston, September the Seventeenth, 1830

Charles Sprague
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Title: An Ode Pronounced Before the Inhabitants of Boston, September the Seventeenth, 1830,
at the Centennial Celebration of the Settlement of the City
Author: Charles Sprague
Release Date: September 16, 2007 [EBook #22626]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII
Produced by Bryan Ness, David Wilson and the Online?Distributed Proofreading Team at
pronounced before the?INHABITANTS OF BOSTON,
September the seventeenth, 1830,
BOSTON:?John H. Eastburn ... City Printer.
In Common Council, September 17, 1830.
_Ordered_, That the Committee of Arrangements for the celebration of this day be, and they are hereby, directed to present the thanks of the City Council to CHARLES SPRAGUE, Esquire, for the elegant, interesting and instructive Poem, this day pronounced by him, and respectfully request a copy thereof for the press.
Sent up for Concurrence,?B. T. PICKMAN, _President_.
_In the Board of Aldermen, September 20, 1830._
Read and concurred.?H. G. OTIS, _Mayor_.
A true copy--Attest,?S. F. M'CLEARY, _City Clerk_.
_Boston, September 17, 1830._
Charles Sprague, Esq.
The Undersigned, the Committee of Arrangements for the Centennial Celebration of the Settlement of Boston, have the honor to enclose you an attested copy of a vote of the City Council, and respectfully ask your compliance with the request contained therein.
Harrison Gray Otis,?Benjamin Russell,?Winslow Lewis,?Benjamin T. Pickman,?Thomas Minns,?Joseph Eveleth,?John W. James,?John P. Bigelow,?Washington P. Gragg.
Not to the Pagan's mount I turn,?For inspiration now;?Olympus and its gods I spurn--?Pure One, be with me, Thou!?Thou, in whose awful name,?From suffering and from shame,?Our Fathers fled, and braved a pathless sea;
Thou, in whose holy fear,?They fixed an empire here,?And gave it to their Children and to Thee.
And You! ye bright ascended Dead,?Who scorned the bigot's yoke,?Come, round this place your influence shed;?Your spirits I invoke.?Come, as ye came of yore,?When on an unknown shore,?Your daring hands the flag of faith unfurled,
To float sublime,?Through future time,?The beacon-banner of another world.
Behold! they come--those sainted forms,?Unshaken through the strife of storms;?Heaven's winter cloud hangs coldly down,?And earth puts on its rudest frown;?But colder, ruder was the hand,?That drove them from their own fair land,?Their own fair land--refinement's chosen seat,?Art's trophied dwelling, learning's green retreat;?By valour guarded, and by victory crowned,?For all, but gentle charity, renowned.
With streaming eye, yet steadfast heart,?Even from that land they dared to part,?And burst each tender tie;?Haunts, where their sunny youth was passed,?Homes, where they fondly hoped at last?In peaceful age to die;?Friends, kindred, comfort, all they spurned--?Their fathers' hallowed graves;?And to a world of darkness turned,?Beyond a world of waves.
When Israel's race from bondage fled,?Signs from on high the wanderers led;?But here--Heaven hung no symbol here,?_Their_ steps to guide, _their_ souls to cheer;?They saw, thro' sorrow's lengthening night,?Nought but the fagot's guilty light;?The cloud they gazed at was the smoke,?That round their murdered brethren broke.?Nor power above, nor power below,?Sustained them in their hour of wo;?A fearful path they trod,?And dared a fearful doom;?To build an altar to their God,?And find a quiet tomb.
But not alone, not all unblessed,?The exile sought a place of rest;?ONE dared with him to burst the knot,?That bound her to her native spot;?Her low sweet voice in comfort spoke,?As round their bark the billows broke;?She through the midnight watch was there;?With him to bend her knees in prayer;?She trod the shore with girded heart,?Through good and ill to claim her part;?In life, in death, with him to seal?Her kindred love, her kindred zeal.
They come--that coming who shall tell??The eye may weep, the heart may swell,?But the poor tongue in vain essays?A fitting note for them to raise.?We hear the after-shout that rings?For them who smote the power of kings;?The swelling triumph all would share,?But who the dark defeat would dare,?And boldly meet the wrath and wo,?That wait the unsuccessful blow??It were an envied fate, we deem,?To live a land's recorded theme,?When we are in the tomb;?We, too, might yield the joys of home,?And waves of winter darkness roam,?And tread a shore of gloom--?Knew we those waves, through coming time,?Should roll our names to every clime;?Felt we that millions on that shore?Should stand, our memory to adore--?But no glad vision burst in light,?Upon the Pilgrims' aching sight;?Their hearts no proud hereafter swelled;?Deep shadows veiled the way they held;?The yell of vengeance was their trump of fame,?Their monument, a grave without a name.
Yet, strong in weakness, there they stand,?On yonder ice-bound rock,?Stern and
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