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

Introductory to America

Our Country

By Julia Ward Howe (1819–1910)

ON primal rocks she wrote her name;

Her towers were reared on holy graves;

The golden seed that bore her came

Swift-winged with prayer o’er ocean waves.

The Forest bowed his solemn crest,

And open flung his sylvan doors;

Meek Rivers led the appointed guest

To clasp the wide-embracing shores;

Till, fold by fold, the broidered land

To swell her virgin vestments grew,

While sages, strong in heart and hand,

Her virtue’s fiery girdle drew.

O Exile of the wrath of kings!

O Pilgrim Ark of Liberty!

The refuge of divinest things,

Their record must abide in thee!

First in the glories of thy front

Let the crown-jewel, Truth, be found;

Thy right hand fling, with generous wont,

Love’s happy chain to farthest bound!

Let Justice, with the faultless scales,

Hold fast the worship of thy sons;

Thy Commerce spread her shining sails

Where no dark tide of rapine runs!

So link thy ways to those of God,

So follow firm the heavenly laws,

That stars may greet thee, warrior-browed,

And storm-sped angels hail thy cause!

O Land, the measure of our prayers,

Hope of the world in grief and wrong,

Be thine the tribute of the years,

The gift of Faith, the crown of Song!