Let me make the songs for the people, Songs for the old and young; Songs to stir like a battle-cry Wherever they are sung. Not for the clashing of sabres, For carnage nor for strife; But songs to thrill the hearts of men With more abundant life. Let me make the songs for the weary, Amid life’s fever and fret, Till hearts shall relax their tension, And careworn brows forget. Let me sing for little children, Before their footsteps stray, Sweet anthems of love and duty, To float o’er life’s highway. I would sing for the poor and aged, When shadows dim their sight; Of the bright and restful mansions, Where there shall be no night. Our world, so worn and weary, Needs music, pure and strong, To hush the jangle and discords Of sorrow, pain, and wrong. Music to soothe all its sorrow, Till war and crime shall cease; And the hearts of men grown tender Girdle the world with peace.
A song is but a little thing, And yet what joy it is to sing! In hours of toil it gives me zest, And when at eve I long for rest; When cows come home along the bars, And in the fold I hear the bell, As Night, the shepherd, herds his stars, I sing my song, and all is well.
There are no ears to hear my lays, No lips to lift a word of praise; But still, with faith unfaltering, I live and laugh and love and sing. What matters yon unheeding throng? They cannot feel my spirit’s spell, Since life is sweet and love is long, I sing my song, and all is well.
My days are never days of ease; I till my ground and prune my trees. When ripened gold is all the plain, I put my sickle to the grain. I labor hard, and toil and sweat, While others dream within the dell; But even while my brow is wet, I sing my song, and all is well.
Sometimes the sun, unkindly hot, My garden makes a desert spot; Sometimes a blight upon the tree Takes all my fruit away from me; And then with throes of bitter pain Rebellious passions rise and swell; But—life is more than fruit or grain, And so I sing, and all is well.
HAIL, happy day, when, smiling like the morn, Fair Freedom rose New-England to adorn: The northern clime beneath her genial ray, Dartmouth, congratulates thy blissful sway: Elate with hope her race no longer mourns, Each soul expands, each grateful bosom burns, While in thine hand with pleasure we behold The silken reins, and Freedom’s charms unfold. Long lost to realms beneath the northern skies She shines supreme, while hated faction dies: Soon as appear’d the Goddess long desir’d, Sick at the view, she languish’d and expir’d; Thus from the splendors of the morning light The owl in sadness seeks the caves of night. No more, America, in mournful strain Of wrongs, and grievance unredress’d complain, No longer shalt thou dread the iron chain, Which wanton Tyranny with lawless hand Had made, and with it meant t’ enslave the land. Should you, my lord, while you peruse my song, Wonder from whence my love of Freedom sprung, Whence flow these wishes for the common good, By feeling hearts alone best understood, I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate Was snatch’d from Afric’s fancy’d happy seat: What pangs excruciating must molest, What sorrows labour in my parent’s breast? Steel’d was that soul and by no misery mov’d That from a father seiz’d his babe belov’d: Such, such my case. And can I then but pray Others may never feel tyrannic sway? For favours past, great Sir, our thanks are due, And thee we ask thy favours to renew, Since in thy pow’r, as in thy will before, To sooth the griefs, which thou did’st once deplore. May heav’nly grace the sacred sanction give To all thy works, and thou for ever live Not only on the wings of fleeting Fame, Though praise immortal crowns the patriot’s name, But to conduct to heav’ns refulgent fane, May fiery coursers sweep th’ ethereal plain, And bear thee upwards to that blest abode, Where, like the prophet, thou shalt find thy God.
Within this black hive to-night There swarm a million bees; Bees passing in and out the moon, Bees escaping out the moon, Bees returning through the moon, Silver bees intently buzzing, Silver honey dripping from the swarm of bees Earth is a waxen cell of the world comb, And I, a drone, Lying on my back, Lipping honey, Getting drunk with that silver honey, Wish that I might fly out past the moon And curl forever in some far-off farmyard flower.
If we must die — let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot. If we must die — oh, let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain; then even the monsters we defy Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe; Though far outnumbered, let us still be brave, And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow! What though before us lies the open grave? Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but — fighting back!
‘Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land, Taught my benighted soul to understand That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too: Once I redemption neither sought nor knew. Some view our sable race with scornful eye, “Their colour is a diabolic die.” Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain, May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.
Lift every voice and sing Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise High as the listening skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea. Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us, Facing the rising sun of our new day begun Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chastening rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, Out from the gloomy past, Till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who has brought us thus far on the way; Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray. Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee, Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee; Shadowed beneath Thy hand, May we forever stand. True to our God, True to our native land.
I am glad daylong for the gift of song, For time and change and sorrow; For the sunset wings and the world-end things Which hang on the edge of to-morrow. I am glad for my heart whose gates apart Are the entrance-place of wonders, Where dreams come in from the rush and din Like sheep from the rains and thunders.