Suggestive programs for special day exercises/Our Nations Birthday/Independence Bell
There was tumult in the city,
In the quaint old Quaker town,
And the streets were rife with people
Pacing restless up and down,—
People gathering at corners,
Where they whispered each to each,
And the sweat stood on their temples
With the earnestness of speech.
“Will they do it?” “Dare they do it?”
“Who is speaking?” “What’s the news?”
“What of Adams?” “What of Sherman?”
“Oh, God grant they won’t refuse!”
“Make some way there!” “Let me nearer!“
“I am stifling!” “Stifle then!
When a nation's life’s at hazzard,
We’ve no time to think of men!”
So they beat against the portal,
Man and woman, maid and child;
And the July sun in heaven
On the scene looked down and smiled;
The same sun that saw the Spartan
Shed his patriot blood in vain,
Now beheld the soul of freedom,
All unconquered, rise again.
See! See! The dense crowd quivers
Through all its lengthy line,
As the boy beside the portal
Looks forth to give the sign!
With his little hands uplifted,
Breezes dallying with his hair,
Hark! with deep, clear intonation,
Breaks his young voice on the air.
Hushed the people’s swelling murmur,
List the boy’s exultant cry!
“Ring!” he shouts, “ring! grandpa,
Ring! oh, RING for LIBERTY!”
Quickly at the given signal
The old bell-man lifts his hand,
Forth he sends the good news, making
Iron music through the land.
How they shouted! What rejoicing!
How the old bell shook the air,
Till the clang of freedom ruffled
The calmly gliding Delaware!
How the bonfires and the torches
Lighted up the night’s repose,
And from the flames, like fabled Phoenix,
Our glorious liberty arose!
That Old State House bell is silent,
Hushed is now its clamorous tongue;
But the spirit it awakened,
Still is living—ever young;
And when we greet the smiling sunlight,
On the Fourth of each July,
We will ne'er forget the bell-man
Who, betwixt the earth and sky,
Rung out loudly, “Independence!”
Which, please God, shall never die!