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.
 
Appendix I. Early and Uncollected Verses
Massachusetts
 
          Written on hearing that the Resolutions of the Legislature of Massachusetts on the subject of Slavery, presented by Hon. C. Cushing to the House of Representatives of the United States, had been laid on the table unread and unreferred, under the infamous rule of “Patton’s Resolution.”

AND have they spurned thy word,
    Thou of the old Thirteen!
Whose soil, where Freedom’s blood first poured,
    Hath yet a darker green?
To outworn patience suffering long        5
Is insult added to the wrong?
 
And have they closed thy mouth,
    And fixed the padlock fast?
Dumb as the black slave of the South!
    Is this thy fate at last?        10
Oh shame! thy honored seal and sign
Trod under hoofs so asinine!
 
Call from the Capitol
    Thy chosen ones again,
Unmeet for them the base control        15
    Of Slavery’s curbing rein!
Unmeet for men like them to feel
The spurring of a rider’s heel.
 
When votes are things of trade
    And force is argument,        20
Call back to Quincy’s shade
    Thy old man eloquent.
Why leave him longer striving thus
With the wild beasts of Ephesus!
 
Back from the Capital—        25
    It is no place for thee!
Beneath the arch of Heaven’s blue wall,
    Thy voice may still be free!
What power shall chain thy utterance there,
In God’s free sun and freer air?        30
 
A voice is calling thee,
    From all the martyr graves
Of those stern men, in death made free,
    Who could not live as slaves.
The slumberings of thy honored dead        35
Are for thy sake disquieted.
 
So let thy Faneuil Hall
    By freemen’s feet be trod,
And give the echoes of its wall
    Once more to Freedom’s God!        40
And in the midst unseen shall stand
The mighty fathers of thy land.
 
Thy gathered sons shall feel
    The soul of Adams near,
And Otis with his fiery zeal,        45
    And Warren’s onward cheer;
And heart to heart shall thrill as when
They moved and spake as living men.
 
Not on Potomac’s side,
    With treason in thy rear,        50
Can Freedom’s holy cause be tried:
    Not there, my State, but here.
Here must thy needed work be done,
The battle at thy hearth-stone won.
 
Proclaim a new crusade        55
    Against the foes within;
From bar and pulpit, press and trade,
    Cast out the shame and sin.
Then speak thy now-unheeded word,
Its lightest whisper shall be heard.        60
 
 
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