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

Danish America: Greenland

Greenland under the Influence of the Moravians

By William Cowper (1731–1800)

(From Hope)

FIRED with a zeal peculiar, they defy

The rage and rigor of a polar sky,

And plant successfully sweet Sharon’s rose

On icy plains and in eternal snows.

Oh, blest within the enclosure of your rocks,

Nor herds have ye to boast, nor bleating flocks;

No fertilizing streams your fields divide,

That show reversed the villas on their side;

No groves have ye; no cheerful sound of bird,

Or voice of turtle, in your land is heard;

Nor grateful eglantine regales the smell

Of those that walk at evening where ye dwell;

But Winter, armed with terrors here unknown,

Sits absolute on his unshaken throne;

Piles up his stores amidst the frozen waste,

And bids the mountains he has built stand fast;

Beckons the legions of his storms away

From happier scenes, to make your land a prey,

Proclaims the soil a conquest he has won,

And scorns to share it with the distant sun.

Yet Truth is yours, remote, unenvied isle!

And Peace, the genuine offspring of her smile;

The pride of lettered ignorance, that binds

In chains of error our accomplished minds,

That decks with all the splendor of the true

A false religion, is unknown to you.

Nature, indeed, vouchsafes for our delight

The sweet vicissitudes of day and night;

Soft airs and genial moisture feed and cheer

Field, fruit, and flower, and every creature here:

But brighter beams than his who fires the skies

Have risen at length on your admiring eyes,

That shoot into your darkest caves the day

From which our nicer optics turn away.