Texas

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Texas
by John Greenleaf Whittier

Voice of New English[edit]

The five poems immediately following indicate the intense feeling of the friends of freedom in view of the annexation of Texas, with its vast territory sufficient, as was boasted, for six new slave States.


Up the hillside, down the glen,
Rouse the sleeping citizen;
Summon out the might of men!

Like a lion growling low,
Like a night-storm rising slow,
Like the tread of unseen foe;

It is coming, it is nigh!
Stand your homes and altars by;
On your own free thresholds die.

Clang the bells in all your spires;
On the gray hills of your sires
Fling to heaven your signal-fires.

From Wachuset, lone and bleak,
Unto Berkshire's tallest peak,
Let the flame-tongued heralds speak.

Oh, for God and duty stand,
Heart to heart and hand to hand,
Round the old graves of the land.

Whoso shrinks or falters now,
Whoso to the yoke would bow,
Brand the craven on his brow!

Freedom's soil hath only place
For a free and fearless race,
None for traitors false and base.

Perish party, perish clan;
Strike together while ye can,
Like the arm of one strong man.

Like that angel's voice sublime,
Heard above a world of crime,
Crying of the end of time;

With one heart and with one mouth,
Let the North unto the South
Speak the word befitting both.

"What though Issachar be strong
Ye may load his back with wrong
Overmuch and over long:

"Patience with her cup o'errun,
With her weary thread outspun,
Murmurs that her work is done.

"Make our Union-bond a chain,
Weak as tow in Freedom's strain
Link by link shall snap in twain.

"Vainly shall your sand-wrought rope
Bind the starry cluster up,
Shattered over heaven's blue cope!

"Give us bright though broken rays,
Rather than eternal haze,
Clouding o'er the full-orbed blaze.

"Take your land of sun and bloom;
Only leave to Freedom room
For her plough, and forge, and loom;

"Take your slavery-blackened vales;
Leave us but our own free gales,
Blowing on our thousand sails.

"Boldly, or with treacherous art,
Strike the blood-wrought chain apart;
Break the Union's mighty heart;

"Work the ruin, if ye will;
Pluck upon your heads an ill
Which shall grow and deepen still.

"With your bondman's right arm bare,
With his heart of black despair,
Stand alone, if stand ye dare!

"Onward with your fell design;
Dig the gulf and draw the line
Fire beneath your feet the mine!

"Deeply, when the wide abyss
Yawns between your land and this,
Shall ye feel your helplessness.

"By the hearth, and in the bed,
Shaken by a look or tread,
Ye shall own a guilty dread.

"And the curse of unpaid toil,
Downward through your generous soil
Like a fire shall burn and spoil.

"Our bleak hills shall bud and blow,
Vines our rocks shall overgrow,
Plenty in our valleys flow;--

"And when vengeance clouds your skies,
Hither shall ye turn your eyes,
As the lost on Paradise!

"We but ask our rocky strand,
Freedom's true and brother band,
Freedom's strong and honest hand;

"Valleys by the slave untrod,
And the Pilgrim's mountain sod,
Blessed of our fathers' God!"

To Faneuil Hall[edit]

Written in 1844, on reading a call by "a Massachusetts Freeman" for a meeting in Faneuil Hall of the citizens of Massachusetts, without distinction of party, opposed to the annexation of Texas, and the aggressions of South Carolina, and in favor of decisive action against slavery.


Men! if manhood still ye claim,
If the Northern pulse can thrill,
Roused by wrong or stung by shame,
Freely, strongly still;
Let the sounds of traffic die
Shut the mill-gate, leave the stall,
Fling the axe and hammer by;
Throng to Faneuil Hall!

Wrongs which freemen never brooked,
Dangers grim and fierce as they,
Which, like couching lions, looked
On your fathers' way;
These your instant zeal demand,
Shaking with their earthquake-call
Every rood of Pilgrim land,
Ho, to Faneuil Hall!

From your capes and sandy bars,
From your mountain-ridges cold,
Through whose pines the westering stars
Stoop their crowns of gold;
Come, and with your footsteps wake
Echoes from that holy wall;
Once again, for Freedom's sake,
Rock your fathers' hall!

Up, and tread beneath your feet
Every cord by party spun:
Let your hearts together beat
As the heart of one.
Banks and tariffs, stocks and trade,
Let them rise or let them fall:
Freedom asks your common aid,--
Up, to Faneuil Hall!

Up, and let each voice that speaks
Ring from thence to Southern plains,
Sharply as the blow which breaks
Prison-bolts and chains!
Speak as well becomes the free
Dreaded more than steel or ball,
Shall your calmest utterance be,
Heard from Faneuil Hall!

Have they wronged us? Let us then
Render back nor threats nor prayers;
Have they chained our free-born men?
Let us unchain theirs!
Up, your banner leads the van,
Blazoned, "Liberty for all!"

Finish what your sires began!
Up, to Faneuil Hall!

To Massachusetts[edit]

What though around thee blazes
No fiery rallying sign?
From all thy own high places,
Give heaven the light of thine!
What though unthrilled, unmoving,
The statesman stand apart,
And comes no warm approving
From Mammon's crowded mart?

Still, let the land be shaken
By a summons of thine own!
By all save truth forsaken,
Stand fast with that alone!
Shrink not from strife unequal!
With the best is always hope;
And ever in the sequel
God holds the right side up!

But when, with thine uniting,
Come voices long and loud,
And far-off hills are writing
Thy fire-words on the cloud;
When from Penobscot's fountains
A deep response is heard,
And across the Western mountains
Rolls back thy rallying word;

Shall thy line of battle falter,
With its allies just in view?
Oh, by hearth and holy altar,
My fatherland, be true!
Fling abroad thy scrolls of Freedom
Speed them onward far and fast
Over hill and valley speed them,
Like the sibyl's on the blast!

Lo! the Empire State is shaking
The shackles from her hand;
With the rugged North is waking
The level sunset land!
On they come, the free battalions
East and West and North they come,
And the heart-beat of the millions
Is the beat of Freedom's drum.

"To the tyrant's plot no favor
No heed to place-fed knaves!
Bar and bolt the door forever
Against the land of slaves!"
Hear it, mother Earth, and hear it,
The heavens above us spread!
The land is roused,--its spirit
Was sleeping, but not dead!

New Hampshire[edit]

God bless New Hampshire! from her granite peaks
Once more the voice of Stark and Langdon speaks.
The long-bound vassal of the exulting South
For very shame her self-forged chain has broken;
Torn the black seal of slavery from her mouth,
And in the clear tones of her old time spoken!
Oh, all undreamed-of, all unhoped-for changes
The tyrant's ally proves his sternest foe;
To all his biddings, from her mountain ranges,
New Hampshire thunders an indignant No!
Who is it now despairs? Oh, faint of heart,
Look upward to those Northern mountains cold,
Flouted by Freedom's victor-flag unrolled,
And gather strength to bear a manlier part
All is not lost. The angel of God's blessing
Encamps with Freedom on the field of fight;
Still to her banner, day by day, are pressing,
Unlooked-for allies, striking for the right
Courage, then, Northern hearts! Be firm, be true:
What one brave State hath done, can ye not also do?

The Pine-Tree.[edit]

Written on hearing that the Anti-Slavery Resolves of Stephen C. Phillips had been rejected by the Whig Convention in Faneuil Hall, in 1846.


Lift again the stately emblem on the Bay State's rusted shield,
Give to 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