Sir Henry Taylor
Alabama - Poem by Sir Henry Taylor
The whole wide world is but the same,
Tracked by those foemen, Care and Grief;
While every human hope would claim
The spot that cheered the Indian chief.
Yet where is that Elysian tide
Which saved the warriors of the West?
Where can we find the river's side
Where mortal fears say 'Here we rest?'
We often think that gold,-hard gold,
Will form the spot of dreamy joy;
But all we get, and all we hold,
Brings something with it of alloy.
Good does not always mate with Gain,
And wearied brow or cheerless breast,
Bends o'er a golden stream in vain;
Seeking the sweet words, 'Here we rest!'
We put our trust in robe or crown,-
In ribbon band or jewelled star:
Such things may gleam in Fortune's dream,
But dazzle most when seen afar.
Ambition's temple rarely yet
Let in a well-contented guest,-
Some spoil unwon, some deed undone,
Will choke the soft words, 'Here we rest!'
Some place their faith in safer creed,-
The wise, the God-directed few,
Who think a heart is what we need
To yield the peace that's pure and true;
And happy they who seek and find
A shelter in a kindred breast,
And, leaving foes and fears behind,
Say to some dear one, 'Here we rest!'
Go carve long epitaphs who will
On sculptured brass or marble wall;
The Indian's 'Alabama' still
Speaks with the fittest voice of all.
I ask no more than sod enough
To make the grasshopper a nest;
And that a stone bear but this one-
This only record-'Here we rest!'
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