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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


Boston in Lincolnshire

By Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham (1793–1870)

IT is not for what you are or do,

Or for any treasures rare,

That I turn my steps and heart to you,

But for the name you bear.

Ancestral name! that must cross the sea

Its farthest fame to know,

And to other soil transplanted be,

That its proudest branch might grow.

It is not that your minster-pile

Looks proudly toward the deep,—

The loftiest tower of Britain’s isle

In valley or on steep,—

But that beneath that lordly tower

A simple chapel stands,

Which binds with an atoning power

Two great and kindred lands.

In days long gone it caught the sound

Of Cotton’s earnest tongue;

Now freshly is his memory found

His wonted haunts among.

Prelatic England drove him forth

Beyond the Western main;

Free-thoughted England owns his worth,

And bids him back again.

Back in the name the chapel wears,—

Proscribed and then forgot.

That tablet’s face more than repairs

The honors of the spot.

For here from afar the inscription came

By our statesman-scholar sent,

Reading, “Lest longer such a name

Should stay in banishment.”

The brazen plate, so simply grand,

Is framed in Norman stone;

The characters from English land,

The writer from our own.

Stand of forgotten feuds a sign,

And the world’s brighter age!

Read on, long hence, thy filial line,

Thou quaintly graven page.

Say, that henceforth the soul’s full thought

Need not in silence die;

Nor one true man, all conscience-fraught,

Must suffer or must fly.

Say, that two sovereign powers unite,

Each on her ocean shore,

To keep Faith, Friendship, Freedom bright,

From this time evermore.

Hail and farewell, St. Butolph’s fane,

Seen in my thoughts so long!

They failed to span your broad domain,

And did your grandeur wrong.

Hail and farewell, St. Butolph’s town!

How dear that parent name!

And no ill-favored brow I crown

With that auspicious claim.