Poems (1898)/The Liberty-Bell

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THE LIBERTY-BELL

(SENT FROM PHILADELPHIA TO ATLANTA, OCTOBER 4, 1895)

With pomp attendant, and in garlands drest,
I journey from my sacred home once more;
Not this time to the new, triumphant West,
But to a land more dear to me of yore:
A land in memory sweet as the perfume
Of twining jasmine and magnolia bloom.


Though old and broken, for that memory's sake—
The memory of honored things gone by,
I will forget my length of years, and make
This pilgrimage unto her Southern sky,
So Georgia's children, too, my face may know,
And wreathe me proudly with their mistletoe.


Their fathers knew me, and in that great hour
When in the Hall of Freedom, since my home,
They signed the Charter, born of love and power,
That made them one, I, from the lofty dome
Above them, loudly rang the brave command,
Proclaiming Liberty throughout the land!


Men pass away, but I do not forget;
And though, alas, I have been silent long,
The echoes of my ringing vibrate yet,
From pole to pole, in every freeman's song;
And she who shared my May, in my December
Shall gaze upon my face, and will remember!


Georgia, to thee I come as to my own,
Undying laurels for thy heroes bringing,
Who sacrificed themselves to right alone,
Who signed for Liberty, and set me ringing.
The word they witnessed then, I bear to all,—
We stand, united; we, divided, fall!


O Georgia! land of Gwynnett, Walton, Hall!
Whose star was one of the sublime Thirteen,—
A pledge of hope and happiness to all,
A sign of victory, wherever seen,—
That vow the Fathers made, their sons fulfill,
The stars they joined shine on, united still!