John Greenleaf Whittier

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

Kossuth - Poem by John Greenleaf Whittier

Type of two mighty continents!--combining
The strength of Europe with the warmth and glow
Of Asian song and prophecy,--the shining
Of Orient splendors over Northern snow!
Who shall receive him? Who, unblushing, speak
Welcome to him, who, while he strove to break
The Austrian yoke from Magyar necks, smote off
At the same blow the fetters of the serf,
Rearing the altar of his Fatherland
On the firm base of freedom, and thereby
Lifting to Heaven a patriot's stainless hand,
Mocked not the God of Justice with a lie!
Who shall be Freedom's mouthpiece? Who shall give
Her welcoming cheer to the great fugitive?
Not he who, all her sacred trusts betraying,
Is scourging back to slavery's hell of pain
The swarthy Kossuths of our land again!
Not he whose utterance now from lips designed
The bugle-march of Liberty to wind,
And call her hosts beneath the breaking light,
The keen reveille of her morn of fight,
Is but the hoarse note of the blood-hound's baying,
The wolf's long howl behind the bondman's flight!
Oh for the tongue of him who lies at rest
In Quincy's shade of patrimonial trees,
Last of the Puritan tribunes and the best,
To lend a voice to Freedom's sympathies,
And hail the coming of the noblest guest
The Old World's wrong has given the New World of the West!


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 6, 2010



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