John Grosvenor Wilson


Lyrics Of Life

by John Grosvenor Wilson

Hope and Courage rigged his spars,
Genius winged him for the quest,
New-born science of the stars
Led him ever straightly west,
Till, before all eyes intent,
Lo, the new-found Continent!

Then the human rivers rolled,
Some in gladness, some in tears,
Puritans of sternest mould,
High-born brilliant cavaliers,
Filled with valiant deep unrest --
Flower of England's sturdiest.

Frenchmen waved their oriflamme,
Stately Señors sailed from Spain,
Sober men of Amsterdam
Swelled the universal strain,
Shores redeemed from isolation
Be the cradle of a Nation!

Years of childhood come and go,
Lo, the lusty, youthful giant
Feels the blood of manhood glow,
Leaps erect with shout defiant!
Vague delight the peoples stirred --
Kings and priests affrighted heard --

Heard the guns of Lexington!
Heard the cannons' deadly roar!
Many moons waxed full and shone
Crimson in the blaze of war.
On the virgin continent
Freedom pitched her ample tent;

Called, and waved her snowy wand,
Open flew the airy portals --
Ah! the plains that stretched beyond,
Canaan for all toiling mortals;
Sweet the summons, clear the voice,
Happy world, rejoice, rejoice!

Swiftly speed the pregnant years,
Comes the virile age of steam,
Axes bright of pioneers
Through the falling forests gleam --
Ever westward with the sun
Still the human rivers run.

From the German Fatherland,
From the Green Isle's mournful dales,
From the Scandinavian strand,
From Italia's ancient vales,
Haste they to the larger life
Eager for the splendid strife.

But a sudden, sombre shock
Makes the very heavens rattle!
Freedom's symbols reel and rock
In the whirlwind of the battle!
Vague affright the peoples stirred --
Kings and priests delighted heard --

Heard the guns of Sumter boom!
Heard the vows of peace derided!
War's huge death's-head through the gloom
Grinned upon a land divided --
Life in death, or death in life,
O Republic, thine the strife!

But the last sad fight is fought,
Freedom still maintains her sway,
Southern valor goes for naught,
Yet -- O rapture! -- strange to say --
They, the vanquished, from defeat
Pluck the fruits of victory sweet.

For in wild Atlantic breeze
See the blowing banners curled!
By the far Pacific seas,
Mark the blended stars unfurled!
While between, a giant band,
Mighty States clasp hand in hand.

Hand in hand, in union blent,
Making one great royal Nation!
Single as the firmament,
Set supreme in sovereign station!
Law's upholder! Freedom's home!
Of the world the glorious dome!

On Republic! strive, nor pause,
Freedom guard in all thy lands,
Such as seek to wreck thy laws
Crush with thy majestic hands --
And thy future thou shalt find
Bright with hope for all mankind.


Lyrics Of Life
Copyright 1886
Caxton Book Concern, Limited, New York