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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX. 1876–79.

South America: Brazil

Freedom in Brazil

By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)

WITH clearer light, Cross of the South, shine forth

In blue Brazilian skies;

And thou, O river, cleaving half the earth

From sunset to sunrise,

From the great mountains to the Atlantic waves

Thy joy’s long anthem pour.

Yet a few days (God make them less!) and slaves

Shall shame thy pride no more.

No fettered feet thy shaded margins press;

But all men shall walk free

Where thou, the high-priest of the wilderness,

Hast wedded sea to sea.

And thou, great-hearted ruler, through whose mouth

The word of God is said,

Once more, “Let there be light!”—Son of the South,

Lift up thy honored head,

Wear unashamed a crown by thy desert

More than by birth thy own,

Careless of watch and ward; thou art begirt

By grateful hearts alone.

The moated wall and battle-ship may fail,

But safe shall justice prove;

Stronger than greaves of brass or iron mail

The panoply of love.

Crowned doubly by man’s blessing and God’s grace,

Thy future is secure;

Who frees a people makes his statue’s place

In Time’s Valhalla sure.

Lo! from his Neva’s banks the Scythian Czar

Stretches to thee his hand,

Who, with the pencil of the Northern star,

Wrote freedom on his land.

And he whose grave is holy by our calm

And prairied Sangamon,

From his gaunt hand shall drop the martyr’s palm

To greet thee with “Well done!”

And thou, O Earth, with smiles thy face make sweet,

And let thy wail be stilled,

To hear the Muse of prophecy repeat

Her promise half fulfilled.

The Voice that spake at Nazareth speaks still,

No sound thereof hath died;

Alike thy hope and Heaven’s eternal will

Shall yet be satisfied.

The years are slow, the vision tarrieth long,

And far the end may be;

But, one by one, the fiends of ancient wrong

Go out and leave thee free.