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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Centennial Hymn

By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)

[From Poetical Works. 1886.]

OUR fathers’ God! from out whose hand

The centuries fall like grains of sand,

We meet to-day, united, free,

And loyal to our land and Thee,

To thank Thee for the era done,

And trust Thee for the opening one.

Here, where of old, by Thy design,

The fathers spake that word of Thine

Whose echo is the glad refrain

Of rended bolt and falling chain,

To grace our festal time, from all

The zones of earth our guests we call.

Be with us while the New World greets

The Old World thronging all its streets,

Unveiling all the triumphs won

By art or toil beneath the sun;

And unto common good ordain

This rivalship of hand and brain.

Thou, who hast here in concord furled

The war-flags of a gathered world,

Beneath our Western skies fulfil

The Orient’s mission of good-will,

And, freighted with love’s Golden Fleece,

Send back its Argonauts of peace.

For art and labor met in truce,

For beauty made the bride of use,

We thank Thee; but, withal, we crave

The austere virtues strong to save,

The honor proof to place or gold,

The manhood never bought nor sold!

Oh make Thou us, through centuries long,

In peace secure, in justice strong;

Around our gift of freedom draw

The safeguards of Thy righteous law;

And, cast in some diviner mould,

Let the new cycle shame the old!

4 July, 1876.