John Greenleaf Whittier

(17 December 1807 – 7 September 1892 / Haverhill, Massachusetts)

To George B. Cheever


So spake Esaias: so, in words of flame,
Tekoa's prophet-herdsman smote with blame
The traffickers in men, and put to shame,
All earth and heaven before,
The sacerdotal robbers of the poor.

All the dread Scripture lives for thee again,
To smite like lightning on the hands profane
Lifted to bless the slave-whip and the chain.
Once more the old Hebrew tongue
Bends with the shafts of God a bow new-strung!

Take up the mantle which the prophets wore;
Warn with their warnings, show the Christ once more
Bound, scourged, and crucified in His blameless poor;
And shake above our land
The unquenched bolts that blazed in Hosea's hand!

Not vainly shalt thou cast upon our years
The solemn burdens of the Orient seers,
And smite with truth a guilty nation's ears.
Mightier was Luther's word
Than Seckingen's mailed arm or Hutton's sword!

Submitted: Tuesday, April 06, 2010

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