Martin Farquhar Tupper

(July 17, 1810 - November 1889 / London)

To Brother Jonathan


Ho! Brother, I'm a Britisher,
A chip of heart of oak,
That wouldn't warp or swerve or stir
From what I thought or spoke,-
And you - a blunt and honest man,
Straightforward, kind, and true,
I tell you, Brother Jonathan,
That you're a Briton too.

I know your heart, an open heart,
I read your mind and will,
A greyhound ever on the start
To run for honour still;
And shrewd to scheme a likely plan,
And stout to see it done,
I tell you, Brother Jonathan,
That you and I are one.

There may be jealousies and strife,
For men have selfish ends,
But petty quarrels ginger life,
And help to season friends;
And pundits who, with solemn scan,
Judge humans most aright,
Decide it, testy Jonathan,
That brothers always fight.

Two fledgling sparrows in one nest
Will chirp about a worm,
Then how should eaglets meekly rest,
The children of the storm!
No! while their rustled pinions fan
The eyrie's dizzy side,
Like you and me, my Jonathan,
It's all for Love and Pride!

'God save the Queen' delights you still,
And 'British Grenadiers,'
The good old strains your heartstrings thrill,
And catch you by both ears;
And we,- Oh hate us if you can,
For we are proud of you,
We like you, Brother Jonathan,
And 'Yankee Doodle' too!

There's nothing foreign in your face,
Nor strange upon your tongue,
You come not of another race
From baser lineage sprung;
No, brother! though away you ran,
As truant boys will do,
Still true it is, young Jonathan,
My fathers father'd you.

Time was,- it wasn't long ago,
Your grandsire went with mine
To battle traitors, blow for blow,
For England's royal line;
Or tripp'd to court to kiss Queen Anne,
Or worship mighty Bess,
And you and I, good Jonathan,
Went with them then, I guess.

Together both - 'twas long ago -
Among the Roses fought;
Or charging fierce the Paynim foe
Did all knight-errants ought:
As Cavalier or Puritan
Together pray'd or swore,-
For John's own Brother Jonathan,
Was only John of yore!

There lived a man, a man of men,
A King on fancy's throne,
We ne'er shall see his like again,
The globe is all his own;
And, if we claim him of our clan,
He half belongs to you,
For Shakspeare, happy Jonathan,
Is your's and Britain's too!

There was another glorious name,
A poet for all time,
Who gain'd the double-first of Fame,
The beautiful-sublime,
And let us hide him as we can,
More miserly than pelf,
Our Yankee brother Jonathan
Cries halves in Milton's self!

Well, well: and every praise of old,
That makes us famous still,
You would be just, and may be bold
To share it if you will,-
Since England's glory first began,
Till - just the other day,
The half is yours! but, Jonathan,
Why did you run away?

O Brother, could we both be one
In nation and in name,
How gladly would the very sun
Lie basking in our fame!
In either world to lead the van
And go a-head for good,
While earth to John and Jonathan
Yields tribute gratitude.

Let us two bless where others ban,
And love when others hate,
And so, my cordial Jonathan,
We'll fit, I calculate.

What more? I touch not holier strings
A loftier strain to win,
Nor glance at prophets, priests, and kings,
Or heavenly kith or kin;
As friend with friend, and man with man,
Oh let our hearts be thus,
As David's love to Jonathan,
Be Jonathan's to us!

Submitted: Thursday, September 23, 2010

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