Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Personal Poems
Kossuth
 
          It can scarcely be necessary to say that there are elements in the character and passages in the history of the great Hungarian statesman and orator, which necessarily command the admiration of those, even, who believe that no political revolution was ever worth the price of human blood.

TYPE of two mighty continents!—combining
  The strength of Europe with the warmth and glow
Of Asian song and prophecy,—the shining
  Of Orient splendors over Northern snow!
Who shall receive him? Who, unblushing, speak        5
Welcome to him, who, while he strove to break
The Austrian yoke from Magyar necks, smote off
At the same blow the fetters of the serf,
Rearing the altar of his Fatherland
  On the firm base of freedom, and thereby        10
Lifting to Heaven a patriot’s stainless hand,
  Mocked not the God of Justice with a lie!
Who shall be Freedom’s mouthpiece? Who shall give
Her welcoming cheer to the great fugitive?
Not he who, all her sacred trusts betraying,        15
  Is scourging back to slavery’s hell of pain
  The swarthy Kossuths of our land again!
Not he whose utterance now from lips designed
The bugle-march of Liberty to wind,
And call her hosts beneath the breaking light,        20
The keen reveille of her morn of fight,
  Is but the hoarse note of the blood-hound’s baying,
The wolf’s long howl behind the bondman’s flight!
Oh for the tongue of him who lies at rest
  In Quincy’s shade of patrimonial trees,        25
Last of the Puritan tribunes and the best,
  To lend a voice to Freedom’s sympathies,
And hail the coming of the noblest guest
The Old World’s wrong has given the New World of the West!

  1851.
 
 
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