To The Reformers Of England

This poem was addressed to those who like Richard Cobden and John Bright

were seeking the reform of political evils in Great Britain by peaceful

and Christian means. It will be remembered that the Anti-Corn Law League

was in the midst of its labors at this time.

GOD bless ye, brothers! in the fight

Ye 're waging now, ye cannot fail,

For better is your sense of right

Than king-craft's triple mail.

Than tyrant's law, or bigot's ban,

More mighty is your simplest word;

The free heart of an honest man

Than crosier or the sword.

Go, let your blinded Church rehearse

The lesson it has learned so well;

It moves not with its prayer or curse

The gates of heaven or hell.

Let the State scaffold rise again;

Did Freedom die when Russell died?

Forget ye how the blood of Vane

From earth's green bosom cried?

The great hearts of your olden time

Are beating with you, full and strong;

All holy memories and sublime

And glorious round ye throng.

The bluff, bold men of Runnymede

Are with ye still in times like these;

The shades of England's mighty dead,

Your cloud of witnesses!

The truths ye urge are borne abroad

By every wind and every tide;

The voice of Nature and of God

Speaks out upon your side.

The weapons which your hands have found

Are those which Heaven itself has wrought,

Light, Truth, and Love; your battle-ground

The free, broad field of Thought.

No partial, selfish purpose breaks

The simple beauty of your plan,

Nor lie from throne or altar shakes

Your steady faith in man.

The languid pulse of England starts

And bounds beneath your words of power,

The beating of her million hearts

Is with you at this hour!

O ye who, with undoubting eyes,

Through present cloud and gathering storm,

Behold the span of Freedom's skies,

And sunshine soft and warm;

Press bravely onward! not in vain

Your generous trust in human-kind;

The good which bloodshed could not gain

Your peaceful zeal shall find.

Press on! the triumph shall be won

Of common rights and equal laws,

The glorious dream of Harrington,

And Sidney's good old cause.

Blessing the cotter and the crown,

Sweetening worn Labor's bitter cup;

And, plucking not the highest down,

Lifting the lowest up.

Press on! and we who may not share

The toil or glory of your fight

May ask, at least, in earnest prayer,

God's blessing on the right!


To The Memory Of Thomas Shipley To The Thirty-ninth Congress facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail