Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in New England
The breaking waves dash'd high On a stern and rock-bound coast, And the woods against a stormy sky Their giant branches toss'd;
And the heavy night hung dark The hills and waters o'er, When a band of exiles moor'd their bark On the wild New England shore.
Not as the conqueror comes, They, the true-hearted, came; Not with the roll of the stirring drums, And the trumpet that sings of fame;
Not as the flying come, In silence and in fear;-- They shook the depths of the desert gloom With their hymns of lofty cheer.
Amidst the storm they sang, And the stars heard and the sea; And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang To the anthem of the free!
The ocean eagle soar'd From his nest by the white wave's foam; And the rocking pines of the forest roar'd-- This was their welcome home!
There were men with hoary hair Amidst that pilgrim band;-- Why had _they_ come to wither there, Away from their childhood's land?
There was woman's fearless eye, Lit by her deep love's truth; There was manhood's brow serenely high, And the fiery heart of youth.
What sought they thus afar?-- Bright jewels of the mine? The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?-- They sought a faith's pure shrine!
Ay, call it holy ground, The soil where first they trod. They have left unstain'd what there they found-- Freedom to worship God.
_--Felicia Browne Hemans_