The Forlorn Hope (Hall)/Poems/The Covenanters

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2040717The Forlorn Hope — The Covenanters1836Samuel Carter Hall



It came from out the silent glen,
The mingled prayer of armed men;
Their swords in sheath for one calm day,
"And let us worship God," they say.
They met—in fear, but not of man;
In hope—but not of human aid;
In faith—that dreads no mortal ban;
In trust—mid perils undismayed.
As wearied travellers seek the brook,
They ask refreshment from "the Book!"
The fountain gives them strength for strife,
And Freedom will be bought with life.

No Temple made by human hands
Is that in which the Pastor stands;
Around him mighty mountains rise,
Pillars to yon vast roof, the skies;
But Freedom consecrates the glen;
And girlhood, boyhood, age, and youth,
Utter or breathe a stern "Amen"
To words that Reason stamps with Truth;
For God and Nature bade them be
All—like their free forefathers—free;
Such message yon good Pastor brings—
A message from the King of kings!

Say, grandsire—thou should'st know it best—
Say, matron, with the babe at breast;
Say, girl—thy lover still is near—
Can Patriot-passion banish fear?
Old man, what counsels thy grey hairs?
Mother, what dost thou tell thy son?
Boy, know'st thou what thy father dares?
Girl, say how must thy heart be won?
All answer, with a shout and sigh,
"Go strike for freedom—do, or die!
Nor let your children's children name
Old Scotland's mountain-men with shame!"

Thanks, Painter, for a lesson taught!
Thanks for a pictured store of thought!
Thus Art works out her great design,
Shapes the rough ore of Nature's mine;
Gives Beauty a perpetual youth;
Bids Virtue teach and never tire;
Shows that a halo shines round Truth;
Tells what to shun and what desire;
And makes Example hear to ages—
More forceful than a thousand pages—
Of good or ill, a painted story
To warn from shame, or win for glory.