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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

To the Heirs of the Pilgrims

By Benjamin Church (1734–1778)

[Born in Newport, R. I., 1734. Lost at sea, 1778. The Times: a Poem, by an American. 1765.]

FAIR liberty, our soul’s most darling prize,

A bleeding victim flits before our eyes:

Was it for this our great forefathers rode

O’er a vast ocean to this bleak abode!

When liberty was into contest brought,

And loss of life was but a second thought;

By pious violence rejected thence,

To try the utmost stretch of providence;

The deep, unconscious of the furrowing keel,

Essayed the tempest to rebuke their zeal;

The tawny natives and inclement sky

Put on their terrors, and command to fly;

They mock at danger; what can those appall?

To whom fair liberty is all in all.

See the new world their purchase, blest domain,

Where lordly tyrants never forged the chain;

The prize of valor, and the gift of prayer,

Hear this and redden, each degenerate heir!

Is it for you their honor to betray,

And give the harvest of their blood away?

Look back with reverence, awed to just esteem,

Preserve the blessings handed down from them;

If not, look forward, look with deep despair,

And dread the curses of your beggared heir;

What bosom beats not, when such themes excite?

Be men, be gods, be stubborn in the right.