Suggestive programs for special day exercises/Washington and Lowell Day

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SongOde for Washington’s Birthday.
Singing by School—Columbia, The Gem of The Ocean.
RecitationLet Washington Sleep.
SongMt. Vernon Bells


Essay—Lowell, the Poet.
RecitationThe Heritage.
RecitationThe First Snowfall.
SongThe fountain.
RecitationTo the Dandelion.
Singing by School—Hail
Essay—Relation of Hero and Poet to Education.
SongWashington’s Birthday.


Modern history, oratory, and poetry are so replete with tributes to the memory of Washington, that the entire progress of the civilized world for more than a century has been shaped by the influence of his life and precepts. The memorial shaft at the National Capital, which is the loftiest of human structures and is inner faced by typical expressions of honor from nearly all nations, is a fit type of his surmounting merit. The ceremonies which attended the corner-stone consecration and signalized its completion, are not less an honor to the distinguished historian and statesman who voiced the acclamations of the American people than a perpetual testimonial worthy of the subject honored by the occasion and by the monument. When the world pays willing tribute (and the most ambitious monarch on earth would covet no higher plaudit than that he served his people as faithfully as Washington served America), it is difficult to fathom the depths of memorial sentiment and place in public view those which are the most worthy of study and appreciative respect. The national life itself throbs through his transmitted life, and the aroma of his grace is as consciously breathed by statesmen and citizens, today as the invisible atmosphere which secures physical vitality and force. Senator Z. B. Vance of North Carolina, thus earnestly commends to the youth of America the brightness and beauty of the great example:

“ Greater soldiers, more intellectual statesmen, and profounder sages have doubtless existed in the history of the English race, perhaps in our own country, but not one who, to great excellence in the threefold composition of man—the physical, intellectual and moral—has added such exalted integrity, such unaffected piety, such unsullied purity of soul, and such wondrous control of his own spirit. He illustrated and adorned the civilization of Christianity, and furnished an example of the wisdom and perfection of its teachings which the subtlest arguments of its enemies cannot impeach. That one grand, rounded life, full-orbed with intellectual and moral glory, is worth, as the product of Christianity, more than all the dogmas of all the teachers. The youth of America who aspire to promote their own and their country’s welfare should never cease to gaze upon his great example, or to remember that the brightest gems in the crown of his immortality, the qualities which uphold his fame on earth and plead for him in heaven, were those which characterized him as the patient, brave, Christian gentleman. In this respect he was a blessing to the whole human race no less than to his own countrymen, to the many millions who annually celebrate the day of his birth.”

Such sentiments fitly illustrate the controlling element of character which made the conduct of Washington so peerless in the field and in the chair of state. His first utterances upon assuming command of the American army before Boston, on the 2d of July, 1775, were a rebuke of religious bigotry and an impressive protest against gaming, swearing, and all immoral practices which might forfeit divine aid in the great struggle for National Independence. Succeeding orders,

preparatory to the battle of Long Island, in August, 1776, breathe the same spirit, that which transfused all his activities as with celestial fire, until he surrendered his commission with a devout and public recognition of Almighty God as the author of his success.


Welcome to the day returning,
Dearer still as ages flow.
While the torch of faith is burning,
Long as freedom’s altars glow!
See the hero whom it gave us
Slumbering on a mother’s breast.
For the arm he stretched to save us,
Be its morn forever blest.

Hear the tale of youthful glory,
While of Britain’s rescued band.
Friend and foe repeat the story,
Spread its fame o’er sea and land.
Where the red cross fondly streaming.
Flaps above the frigate’s deck.
Where the golden lilies, gleaming,
Star the watchtow’rs of Quebec.

Look! the shadow on the dial,
Marks the hour of deadlier strife;
Days of terror, years of trial,
Scourge a nation into life.
Lo, the youth, become her leader:
All her baffled tyrants yield;
Through his arm the Lord hath freed her;
Crown him on the tented field!

Vain is Empire’s mad temptation.
Not for him an earthly crown!
He whose sword has freed a nation.
Strikes the offered sceptre down.
See the throneless conqueror seated.
Ruler by a people’s choice;
See the Patriot’s task completed;
Hear the Father’s dying voice,—

“By the name that you inherit,
By the suff’rings you recall,
Cherish the fraternal spirit;
Love your country first of all!
Listen not to idle questions
If its bands may be untied;
Doubt the patriot whose suggestions
Strive a nation to divide!”

Father! we whose ears have tingled
With the discord notes of shame,
We, whose sires their blood have mingled
In the battle’s thunder flame,
Gath’ring while this holy morning
Lights the land from sea to sea,—
Hear thy counsel, heed thy warning;
Trust us, while we honor thee!

(Music for this can be found in Riverside Song Book.)




Land of the West! though passing brief
The record, of thine age,
Thou hast a name that darkens all
On history's wide page.
Let all the blasts of Fame ring out,
Thine shall be loudest far;
Let others boast their satellites,
Thou hast the planet star.

Thou hast a name whose characters
Of light shall ne'er depart;
'Tis stamped upon the dullest brain
And warms the coldest heart;
A war cry fit for any land
Where freedom's to be won;
Land of the West! it stands alone,
It is thy Washington!

Rome had its Cæsar, great and brave,
But stain was on his wreath;
He lived the heartless conqueror.
And died the tyrant's death,
Prance had its eagle, but his wings.
Though lofty they might soar.
Were spread in false ambition's flight.
And dipped in murder's gore.

Those hero-gods, whose mighty sway
Would fain have claimed the waves,
Who flashed their blades with tiger zeal
To make a world of slaves;
Who, though their kindred barred the path,
Still fiercely waded on,
Oh, where appears their "glory" now
Beside a Washington!

He fought, but not with love of strife;
He struck but to defend;
And ere he turned a people's foe.
He sought to be a friend.
He strove to keep his country's right
By reason's gentle word.
And sighed when all injustice threw
The challenge sword to sword.

He stood, the firm, the grand, the wise,
The patriot and the sage;
He showed no deep, avenging hate,
No burst of despot rage.
He stood for Liberty and Truth,
And daringly led on,
Till shouts of victory gave forth
The name of Washington.


The glorious roll of the American drum
Proclaimed to the world that Freedom had come.
And first brought the gleam of Liberty's ray
To drive the dark clouds of oppression away.
'Twas then, for the first, a drum for freedom had rolled,—
No wonder its rattle had a new valor told!
'Twas equal rights speaking with invincible voice,
And bidding earth's millions in a new hope rejoice.
The eagle-eyed drummer was steel-nerved in his arm.
Inspiring the heroes to defy war's alarm;
The valorous son, with eyes spell-bound on his sire.
His strokes re-inforcing, reproducing his fire;
Both joining the fifer, with blood staining his brow.
True liberty sounding—the American vow.
While thickly around it clouds of battle smoke curled.
Aloft in its beauty was Old Glory unfurled.
As head of the column with fixed bayonets appears.
The wounded and dying lifted proud voice in cheers.
The spirit our fathers—led by George Washington—
Displayed for our banner, thrills to-day every one;
To God and our Country heads and hearts we will give,
For one country, one language, and one flag to live.

(The conclusion of this recitation could be made very effective by an adaptation of the flag salute, the entire school joining in last two lines.)


Disturb not his slumber, let Washington sleep,
’Neath the boughs of the willow that over him weep;
His arm is unnerved, but his deeds remain bright.
As the stars in the dark vaulted heavens at night.
Oh! wake not the hero, his battles are o’er.
Let him rest undisturbed on Potomac’s fair shore;
On the river’s green border with rich flowers dressed,
With the hearts he loved fondly, let Washington rest.

Awake not his slumbers, tread lightly around;
’Tis the grave of a freeman,—’tis liberty’s mound;
Thy name is immortal—our freedom it won—
Brave sire of Columbia, our own Washington.
Oh! wake not the hero, his battles are o’er,
Let him rest, calmly rest, on his dear native shore;
While the stars and the stripes of our country shall wave
O’er the land that can boast of a Washington’s grave.


The defender of his country,—the founder of liberty,
The friend of man.
History and tradition are explored in vain
For a parallel to his character.
In the annals of modern greatness
He stands alone.
And the noblest names of Antiquity
Lose their luster in his presence.
Born the benefactor of mankind,
He united all the greatness necessary
To an illustrious career.
Nature made him great,
He made himself virtuous.
Called by his Country to the defense of her Liberties,
He triumphantly vindicated the rights of humanity.
And, on the pillars of National Independence,
Laid the foundation of a great Republic.

Twice invested with Supreme Magistracy
By the unanimous vote of a free people.
He surpassed, in the Cabinet,
The glories of the field.
And, voluntarily resigning the scepter and the sword.
Retired to the shades of private life;
A spectacle so new, and so sublime.
Was contemplated with profoundest admiration;
And the name of Washington,
Adding new luster to humanity.
Resounded to the remotest regions of the earth.
Magnanimous in youth.
Glorious through life,
Great in death;
His highest ambition,—the happiness of mankind,
His noblest victory,—the conquest of himself.
Bequeathing to posterity the inheritance of his fame.
And building his monument in the hearts of his countrymen,
He lived— the ornament of the Eighteenth Century;
He died, regretted by a mourning world.

Note—The above beautiful epitaph was discovered on the back of a portrait of Washington, sent to the family from England. It was copied from a transcript in the handwriting of Judge Washington.


[Air:—Massa ’s in de Cold, Cold Ground.]

(From Song Knapsack.)

Where Potomac’s stream is flowing,
Virginia’s border through;
Where the white-sailed ships are going,
Sailing to the ocean blue;
Hushed the sound of mirth and singing—
Silent every one—
While the solemn bells are ringing
By the tomb of Washington.

Chorus:—Tolling and knelling.
With a sad, sweet sound;
O’er the waves the tones are swelling.
By Mount Vernon’s sacred ground.

Long ago the warrior slumbered’
Our country’s father slept;
Long among the angels numbered—
They the hero-soul have kept.
But the children’s children love him
And his name revere;
So, where willows wave above him,
Sweetly, still, his knell, you hear.
Sail, Oh ships, across the billows,
And bear the story far,
How he sleeps beneath the willows,—
“ First in peace and first in war.”
Tell, while sweet adieus are swelling,
Till you come again.
He within the hearts is dwelling
Of his loving countrymen.


The snow had begun in the gloaming.
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fur and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
Came chanticleer’s muffled crow;
The stiff rails softened to swan’s-down
And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window
The noiseless work of the sky.
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds.
Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently.
As did robins the babes in the wood .

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, “ Father, who makes it snow?
And I told of the good All-father
Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snow-fall
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow.
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar that renewed our woe.

And again to the child I whispered.
“The snow that husheth all.
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall!”

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow


The rich man’s son inherits lands,
And piles of brick and stone, and gold;
And he inherits soft white hands
And tender flesh that fears the cold.
Nor dares to wear a garment old:
A heritage, it seems to me,
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.

The rich man’s son inherits cares,—
The bank may break, the factory burn,
A breath may burst his bubble shares;
And soft white hands could hardly earn
A living that would serve his turn:
A heritage, it seems to me,
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
The rich man’s son inherits wants.
His stomach craves for dainty fare;
With sated heart, he hears the pants
Of toiling hinds with brown arms bare,
And wearies in his easy-chair;
A heritage, it seems to me.
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
What doth the poor man’s son inherit?
Stout muscles and a sinewy heart,
A hardy frame, a hardier spirit;
King of two hands, he does his part
In every useful toil and art:
A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee.

What doth the poor man’s son inherit?
Wishes o’erjoyed with humble things,
A rank adjudged by toil-won merit,
Content that from employment springs,
A heart that in his labor sings:
A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee.
What doth the poor man’s son inherit?
A patience learned of being poor,
Courage, if sorrow come, to bear it,
A fellow-feeling that is sure
To make the outcast bless his door:
A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee.

O rich man’s son! there is a toil
That with all others level stands;
Large charity doth never soil,
But only whiten, soft white hands;
This is the best crop from thy lands:
A heritage, it seems to me.
Worth being rich to hold in fee.

O poor man’s son! scorn not thy state;
There is worse weariness than thine,
In merely being rich and" great;
Toil only gives the soul to shine.
And makes rest fragrant and benign:
A heritage, it seems to me.
Worth being poor to hold in fee.

Both, heirs to some six feet of sod,
Are equal in the earth at last;
Both, children of the same dear God,
Prove title to your heirship vast
By record of a well-filled past:
A heritage, it seems to me.
Well worth a life to hold in fee.


I do not believe in violent changes, nor do I expect them. Things in possession have a very firm grip. One of the strongest cements of society is the conviction of mankind that the state of things into which they are born is a part of the order of the universe, as natural, let us say, as that the sun should go round the earth. It is a conviction that they will not surrender except on compulsion, and a wise society should look to it that this compulsion be not put upon them. For the individual man there is no radical cure, outside of human nature itself, for the evils to which human nature is heir. The rule will always hold good that you must

“ Be your own palace or the world’s your gaol.”

But for artificial evils, for evils that spring from want of thought, thought must find a remedy somewhere. There has been no period of time in which wealth has been more sensible of its duties than now; it builds hospitals, it establishes missions among the poor, it endows schools. It is one of the advantages of accumulated wealth and of the leisure it renders possible, that people have time to think of the grants and sorrows of their fellows; but all these remedies are partial and palliative

merely. It is as if we should apply plasters to a single pustule of the small-pox with a view of driving out the disease. The true way is to discover and to extirpate the germs. As society is now constituted, these are in the air it breathes, in the water it drinks, in things that seem and which it has always believed to be the most innocent and healthful. The evil elements it neglects corrupt these in their springs and pollute them in their courses.

Let us be of good cheer, however, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never come. The world has outlived much and will outlive a great deal more, and men have contrived to be happy in it. It has shown the strength of its constitution in nothing more than in surviving the quack medicines it has tried. In the scales of the destinies brawn will never weigh so much as brain. Our healing is not in the storm or in the whirlwind, it is not in monarchies or aristocracies or democracies, but will be revealed by the still small voice that speaks to the conscience and the heart, prompting us to a wider and wiser humanity.—Lowell.


Dear common flower, that grow’st beside the way,
Fringing the dusty road with harmless gold,
First pledge of blithesome May,
Which children pluck and, full of pride, uphold,
High-hearted buccaneers, o’erjoyed that they
An Eldorado in the grass have found,
Which not the rich earth’s ample round
May match in wealth—thou art more dear to me
Than all the prouder summer-blooms may be.
Gold such as thine ne’er drew the Spanish prow
Through the primeval hush of Indian seas,
Nor wrinkled the lean brow
Of age, to rob the lover’s heart of ease;
’T is the Spring’s largess, which she scatters now
To rich and poor alike, with lavish hand,
Though most hearts never understand
To take it at God’s value, but pass by
The offered wealth with unrewarded eye.


My childhood’s earliest thoughts are linked with thee; —
The sight of thee calls back the robin's song,
Who, from the dark old tree
Beside the door, sang clearly all day long;
And I, secure in childish piety,
Listened as if I heard an angel sing
With news from heaven, which he could bring
Fresh every day to my untainted ears,
When birds and flowers and I were happy peers.

How like a prodigal doth nature seem,
When thou, for all thy gold, so common art!
Thou teachest me to deem
More sacredly of every human heart,
Since each reflects in joy its scanty gleam
Of heaven, and could some wondrous secret show,
Did we but pay the love we owe,
And with a child’s undoubting wisdom look
On all these living pages of God’s book.



[Air:—“ America.”]

Welcome thou festal morn!
Never be passed in scorn
Thy rising sun;
Thou day forever bright
With freedom's holy light,
That gave the world the sight
Of Washington.

Unshaken ’mid the storm,
Behold that noble form,
That peerless one,—
With his protecting hand,
Like Freedom’s angel, stand,
The guardian of our land.
Our Washington.

Now the true patriot see.
The foremost of the free.
The vict’ry won;
In freedom's presence bow.
While sweetly smiling now.
She wreathes the spotless brow
Of Washington.

Then, with each coming year,
Whenever shall appear
That natal sun;
Will we attest the worth
Of one true man to earth,
And celebrate the birth
Of Washington.

Traced there in lines of light,
Where all pure rays unite,
Obscured by none;
Brightest on history’s page.
Of any clime or age,
As chieftain, man, and sage,
Stands Washington.

Name at which tyrants pale.
And their proud legions quail.
Their boasting done;
While Freedom lifts her head,
No longer filled with dread.
Her sons to vict’ry led
By Washington.


[Air:—Buy a Broom.]

Into the sunshine,
Full of the light.
Leaping and flashing
From morn till night;

Into the moonlight,
Whiter than snow.
Waving so flower-like
When the winds blow;

Into the starlight
Rushing in spray,
Happy at midnight,
Happy by day;

Ever in motion.
Blithesome and cheery.
Still climbing heavenward.
Never aweary;

Glad of all weathers.
Still seeming best.
Upward or downward,
Motion thy rest;

Full of a nature
Nothing can tame.
Changed every moment.
Ever the same;

Ceaseless aspiring.
Ceaseless content.
Darkness or sunshine
Thy element;

Glorious fountain,
Let my heart be
Fresh, changeful, constant,
Upward, like thee!

(This poem is set to music in Riverside Song Book.)


This tree still stands at Cambridge, Mass. It is on Garden street, a short distance from the colleges, and is a large, well-preserved tree! An iron fence is built around it, and on a stone in front is the following inscription: “ Under this tree George Washington took command of the American Army, July 3, 1775.”

Beneath our consecrated elm
A century ago he stood
Famed vaguely for that old fight in the wood
Whose red surge sought, but could not overwhelm
The life foredoomed to wield our rough-hewn helm:

Firmly erect, he towered above them all,
The incarnate discipline that was to free
With iron curb that armed democracy.

Lowell—“ Under the Old Elm. ”

Gratefully cherish our Washington’s name.
Grand is the tribute ensured him by Fame.

George Washington-Suggestive Programs-0024.jpg

This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.