Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

New England: Boston, Mass.


By Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

THE ROCKY nook with hill-tops three

Looked eastward from the farms,

And twice each day the flowing sea

Took Boston in its arms;

The men of yore were stout and poor,

And sailed for bread to every shore.

And where they went on trade intent

They did what freemen can,

Their dauntless ways did all men praise,

The merchant was a man.

The world was made for honest trade,—

To plant and eat be none afraid.

The waves that rocked them on the deep

To them their secret told:

Said the winds that sung the lads to sleep,

“Like us be free and bold!”

The honest waves refuse to slaves

The empire of the ocean caves.

Old Europe groans with palaces,

Has lords enough and more;—

We plant and build by foaming seas

A city of the poor;—

For day by day could Boston Bay

Their honest labor overpay.

We grant no dukedoms to the few,

We hold like rights and shall;—

Equal on Sunday in the pew,

On Monday in the mall.

For what avail the plough or sail,

Or land or life, if freedom fail?

The noble craftsman we promote,

Disown the knave and fool;

Each honest man shall have his vote,

Each child shall have his school.

A union then of honest men,

Or union nevermore again.