An Address To Brantford, 1853 - Poem by Thomas Cowherd
Hail, truly pleasant, fast increasing Town!
Thee I address, in rude but earnest strains.
My own adopted place! Some sixteen years
Have rolled fast o'er my head since first my eyes
Got sight of thee, from off yon Eastern hill.
How welcome was the sight! O, how cheering,
Grand and beautiful, to a mind like mine!
I oft had heard of thee before I came-
Had heard the name thy beauteous river bears;
As oft had wondered if I e'er should live
To cross the broad Atlantic's deep blue waves,
And reach the shores of that vast Continent,
Whose many wonders, in my boyish days,
I tried to sing, and still longed much to see.
As often tried to picture, in my mind,
The appearance thou presented to the view;
I fancied thee much less than what thou wert-
Consisting of a few small, straggling huts,
Both rude in shape, and ruder far in things
Which make home, what it always ought to be,
The dearest place that men possess on earth!
I next would paint thy river deep and broad
As great 'Saint Lawrence,' or the giant streams
That everywhere abound throughout this land!
In this I was deceived; its name misled
My loving fancy; for I surely thought
It must be great, indeed, beyond compare,
In such a country to receive such name.
[Footnote: The 'Grand River.']
This great mistake corrected; I have found
Some wonders rare, though of a different kind;
And often have I wandered on the banks
Of thee, sweet River! where maple, elm or oak
Have spread their boughs and verdant foliage,
And have felt the cool, refreshing breezes
Which blew from off thy stream in Summer's heat.
There I would indulge, awhile, my fancy;
Give her the reins, and let her soar aloft
Into the vast infinitude of space,
Or try to tie her down to earthly things;
Make her portray what now the prospects were,
That this fair Town had placed before her view.
Would she soon rise to eminent estate?
Or would she struggle vainly, for a while,
To reach to greatness, and so just remain-
A monument of ruin and decay?
As I have stood upon the pleasant hills
By which thou art encircled, I have cast
My eye from East to West, from North to South,
And often marked the vast extent of ground
Which thou may'st fill; laid out by God's own hand
To be a glorious city-and that soon!
Then 'put thy shoulder to the wheel!' Arise,
In all thy might, and let thy hardy sons
Put forth united efforts in the work.
Deepen thy Canal; let thy Railroads make
Both quick and certain progress; and neglect
No proper means to push the town ahead!
But, while thou strivest thus in temporal things,
Oh, forget not things of greater moment!
Strive to purge away all that's offensive
To true Virtue. Let the groggeries cease
To deal out liquid fire to kill thy sons!
Strengthen the hands of those who would maintain
Good wholesome laws. Give adequate support
To those who minister in holy things,
That they, unfettered, may aloud proclaim
Christ's great Salvation to a ruined World!
Let all true Christians in thy midst unite,
In holy efforts and God's strength, to stem
The torrent great of foul Iniquity.
Yes, fellow Christians, let our lives be such
As many commend the Truth which we believe,
Unto the consciences of all around.
Let those of us, especially, who claim
A parent's honored name, now boldly stand,
And show in bonds conjugal, faithfulness;
Still manifesting love and tenderness
Unto our partners; always aim to make
Our homes the scenes of happiness and peace!
Then will our children rise and call us blessed;
And generations yet unborn will tell-
That Brantford was determined to be great
In every thing which is both wise and good!
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