July The Fourth, 1917 Poem by Edgar Albert Guest

July The Fourth, 1917

Time was the cry went round the world:
America for freedom speaks,
A new flag is to-day unfurled,
An eagle on the mountain shrieks,
A king is failing on his throne,
A race of men defies his power!
And no one could have guessed or known
The burden of that splendid hour.

A bell rang out that summer day
And men and women stood and heard;
That tongue of brass had more to say
Than could be spoken by a word.
It spoke the thoughts of honest men,
It whispered Destiny's intents
And rang a warning loudly then
To Kings of all the continents.

The old bell in its holy loft
Where pigeons nest, has ceased to swing
And yet through many a day and oft
A weary people hear it sing.
That hour long years ago, when first
America for freedom fought,
The bonds of slavery were burst:
That hour began the reign of thought.

Here comes another summer day:
America is on the sea,
America has dared to say
That other people shall be free.
No selfish stain her banner mars,
Her flag, for truth and right, unfurled,
With every stripe and all its stars
Still speaks its message to the world

Out where the soldiers fight for men,
Out where, for others, heroes die,
Out where they storm the Tyrant's den,
The Starry Banner lights the sky.
And once again the cry goes out
That brings the flush of hope to cheeks
Grown pale by bitter war and doubt:
'America for Freedom speaks.'

Edgar Albert Guest

Edgar Albert Guest

Birmingham / England
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