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I was as repelled by the French as I was attracted by their country.

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What’s The French For Déjà Vu Anyway?

When I met you first
the price of being
THE HAPPY FAMILY”
was your un-happiness.

And although you were unwillingly willing...
...it was too high a price to pay.
I held on to all this
un-happiness

So that you could escape
into the freedom of being
happy
(hopefully with me)
You left me holding
this un-happiness like it was
the proverbial baby

...then you left me.
Now the price I pay
for your happiness
is
my un-happiness.
Baby...we’ve come a long way.
Sorry, what’s the French for deja vu
...or did you say.

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A Ballad Of The French Fleet. (Birds Of Passage. Flight The Fifth)

A fleet with flags arrayed
Sailed from the port of Brest,
And the Admiral's ship displayed
The signal: 'Steer southwest.'
For this Admiral D'Anville
Had sworn by cross and crown
To ravage with fire and steel
Our helpless Boston Town.

There were rumors in the street,
In the houses there was fear
Of the coming of the fleet,
And the danger hovering near.
And while from mouth to mouth
Spread the tidings of dismay,
I stood in the Old South,
Saying humbly: 'Let us pray!

'O Lord! we would not advise;
But if in thy Providence
A tempest should arise
To drive the French fleet hence,
And scatter it far and wide,
Or sink it in the sea,
We should be satisfied,
And thine the glory be.'

This was the prayer I made,
For my soul was all on flame,
And even as I prayed
The answering tempest came;
It came with a mighty power,
Shaking the windows and walls,
And tolling the bell in the tower,
As it tolls at funerals.

The lightning suddenly
Unsheathed its flaming sword,
And I cried: 'Stand still, and see
The salvation of the Lord!'
The heavens were black with cloud,
The sea was white with hail,
And ever more fierce and loud
Blew the October gale.

The fleet it overtook,
And the broad sails in the van
Like the tents of Cushan shook,
Or the curtains of Midian.
Down on the reeling decks
Crashed the o'erwhelming seas;
Ah, never were there wrecks
So pitiful as these!

Like a potter's vessel broke
The great ships of the line;
They were carried away as a smoke,
Or sank like lead in the brine.
O Lord! before thy path
They vanished and ceased to be,
When thou didst walk in wrath
With thine horses through the sea!

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The War Hero

He sat at the bar, drinking his Jack
Talking about the war, since he came back
It ruined his mind, and broke his spirit too
He had seen alot of death among his crew
He drank till he didn't have to think at all
He drank till he couldn't hear the bugal call
When not drinking, he was taking so many pills
Disabled now, his wife paying all the bills
His very soul was tortured all the time
From crawling in the jungle in the dirt and slime
Hearing the shots fired every where
He was shooting too, just a boy there
He lived the war over every night in his dreams
In his sleep he could still his buddies screams
The war took a young boy and ruined his life
But he was proud, he had served in all the strife
This good man died just a year ago
He fought for our freedom and we do owe
Our freedom takes the life of young men
They serve their country and most come home again
All their lives will never be the same
Some will return whole and some lame
I'm proud to be a citizen of the USA
Where we're strong and proud and will never sway!

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A Summary History of Lord Clive

About a hundred and fifty years ago,
History relates it happened so,
A big ship sailed from the shores of Britain
Bound for India across the raging main.

And many of the passengers did cry and moan
As they took the last look of their old home,
Which they were fast leaving far behind,
And which some of them would long bear in mind.

Among the passengers was a youth about seventeen years old,
Who had been a wild boy at home and very bold,
And by his conduct had filled his parent's hearts with woe,
Because to school he often refused to go.

And now that he was going so far away from home,
The thought thereof made him sigh and groan,
For he felt very sad and dejected were his looks,
And he often wished he had spent more time at his books.

And when he arrived in India he searched for work there,
And got to be a clerk in a merchant's office, but for it he didn't care;
The only pleasure he found was in reading books,
And while doing so, sad and forlorn were his looks.

One day while feeling unhappy he fired a pistol at his own head,
Expecting that he would kill himself dead;
But the pistol wouldn't go off although he tried every plan,
And he felt sorry, and resolved to become a better man.

So Clive left his desk and became a soldier brave,
And soon rose to be a captain and manfully did behave;
For he beat the French in every battle,
After all their foolish talk and prattle.

Then he thought he would take a voyage home to his friends,
And for his bad behaviour towards them he would make some amends;
For he hadn't seen them for many years,
And when he thought of them he shed briny tears.

And when he arrived in London
The people after him in crowds did run;
And they flocked to see him every minute,
Because they thought him the most famous man in it.

And all the greatest people in the land
Were proud to shake him by the hand;
And they gave him a beautiful sword because he had fought so well
And of his bravery the people to each other did tell.

And when his own friends saw him they to him ran,
And they hardly knew him, he looked so noble a man;
And his parents felt o'erjoyed when they saw him home again,
And when he left his parents again for India it caused them great pain.

But it was a good thing Clive returned to India again,
Because a wicked prince in his territory wouldn't allow the british to remain,
And he resolved to drive them off his land,
And marched upon them boldly with thousands of his band.

But the bad prince trembled when he heard that Clice had come,
Because the British at the charge of the bayonet made his army run;
And the bad prince was killed by one of his own band,
And the British fortunately got all his land.

And nearly all India now belongs to this country,
Which has been captured by land and by sea,
By some of the greatest men that ever did live,
But the greatest of them all was Robert Clive.

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Patrick White

The Nuns Are Sleeping On Graves With Their Pagan Lovers

The nuns are sleeping on graves with their pagan lovers.
The black walnut trees have shed their leaves
half way between feathers and scales
like arboreal dinosaurs that are learning to fly.
And the branches of the staghorn sumac
that went up in flames like the rest of the greenwood
now look like the ribs of a snake blanched in the ashes.

I tell the hard rocks chiselled down to the lake
as if they were animate, sapient, sentient life forms
I know just how they feel
when they're dreaming of Carrara marble
and someone steps on them
like a skull of a common cornerstone
you can take for granted, but the birds,
why is it always the birds that are the first
to be alert to things like this, tell me
not to deprive them of their extinction.
So I'm prone to keeping my words to myself
when I'm on a backwoods pilgrimage alone
with too many death masks hiding the face of the moon.

Half the abandoned roads I've walked through life
have turned back in upon themselves
like an ingrown hair of a noose
in a claustrophic cul de sac,
like a thread of the mindstream
trying to close the eyelid of a needle that's dead.
But the other half of the labyrinth
on the dark side of seeing led me into clearings
in the middle of nowhere I ever expected to be startled by stars
that set my heart racing with mystic terror as if a partridge
just exploded out of the bushes in front of me
and enlightenment came to me for an hour or two
with such force of clarity I was breathing light not air.

And I didn't become one with everything.
How can anyone say they're one with everything
without resorting to the past tense the moment they say it?
I stood my ground beside unity like zero
because nothingness is the only way
of comprehending one without being excluded by it
like the exception that puts the lie to the whole,
and I amplified its immensity tenfold.

Ask any silo. There's no limit to what you can hold
when you're empty compared to what you can
when you're full. Even on upgraded hobby farms
where the wheat and the corn are stored
in more ample, lightning proof Euclidean storage spaces,
if you look over your shoulder in passing
at the old wooden siloes barely holding their ribs together
with rusting metal bands, cooper's barrels
abandoned closer to the road that's been widened since then,
their roofs blown off by the wind like the lids of garbage cans,

I've seen fully mature trees, rooted in the compost
at the bottom, rising up like green oil strikes toward the sky
or a clown like me being shot out of a cannon toward the stars
and landing in the safety nets of the laughing constellations
who weren't expecting to catch anything that night
but a few eyes out swimming too far, too deep from shore.

Just because it's a long shot, and your aim's off,
and your not quite as profound or sublimely targeted
as the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs,
doesn't mean you still can't make a big impact as a meteor
holding on to the flower in your hat for dear life
like a butterfly in a firestorm of dragons
with a childlike sense of humour marrowed
in the smooth bore barrels of their dusky funny bones.

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Patrick White

While The Ghosts Are Putting Make-up On Their Deathmasks In The Green Room

While the ghosts are putting make-up on their death masks in the green room
and looking for their false eyelashes like centipedes on the floor,
I'm out on stage apologizing for a power outage of the stars
that shouldn't be blamed on the windmills everybody's tilting at.

And even Mother Theresa is lining up with the mermaids
on the deck of the latest shipwreck to see if she can get a bunk for the night
without any bugs or bedsores. Crackhead, hillbilly, hippie rednecks
are pouring booze over the amps of the band, and the arsonist in the corner
who hasn't said a thing all night a lip reader could understand
is trying to short out his nerves to start a fire in the walls.
The underground circus is back in town like Cirque du Soleil in eclipse,
and as far as I can see, there are a lot of fire hydrants around
but no sacred clowns, and the audience is perched on a public trapeze
under a tent of starmaps that have never seen the Pleiades.

If you just got here, Edgar Allen Poe's already had it out with the raven,
but nobody cares much, since it should have happened a long time ago,
and besides, Nevermore's not much of a door to get out of
in case of a fire. Go ask the thief who left the moon in the window
and my reflection in the mirror when everything else disappeared.
He'll tell you about the cat burglar who fell off the seventh floor
and lived to go on tour with the tale when she got crazy enough
to be wise, and put on a golden parachute that was the same size as her skin.

Have you seen Rasputin? I'm looking for my bleeding heart,
and the last time I heard of him he was in a bag in a river
with a snake that was using a rooster as a fire to keep warm
while the toxins and the bullets took effect, though all the haemophiliacs
and worried assassins said when they pulled him out, he still wasn't dead.
Hey, you've got to give a man credit for not dying
when he was too innocent to float like a waterlily or an ice-berg
in a trial by ordeal that's more Germanic than Slavic
though he should have been more subtle in his approach
to a courtful of jesters and gleemen who hate
the sound of anyone's laughter in their midst but the king's and their own.

And even the high priest of the Wizard of Oz
with his police megaphone and his taser baton agrees
you can't learn the protocols of mythic inflation
unless you're on your knees. Though I suspect
there's a lot less behind that than at first glance appears
as Cygnus swan-dives sidereally into a pool the size of a tear
without a safety net of shattered mirrors in the land of lakes
to break its Icarian descent into the shallow end of the fools
who are watching with their third eyes closed,
and lens caps on their telescopes like the blindfolds of a firing squad
that don't look much like the hoods of hunting falcons
with a bola of bells around their legs,
and the crescents of the moon for a trinity of talons.

But by the end of the act, the ghost of Lady Nightshade comes forth
like a spiritual toxologist with a spiritual arrowhead in her hands
to make a Clovis point of flint-knapped obsidian as clearly as she can
by plunging it through everyone's heart like Jonestown
that's just run out of black cool aid to bring
everything down to ground zero again as the roof blows off
in an unexpected cyclone, and we're all left lying here
caught dead in our tracks like telescopes
and the standing targets of easels in the doe-glare
of the oncoming headlights of vehicles into roadkill
as if there were no more ripples or wavelengths in the rain
or tree rings anywhere in the petrified heartwood of the pain.

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The Priests of Ireland

YOU have waited, Priests of Ireland, until the hour was late:
You have stood with folded arms until 'twas asked—Why do they wait?
By the fever and the famine you have seen your flocks grow thin,
Till the whisper hissed through Ireland that your silence was a sin.
You have looked with tearless eyes on fleets of exile-laden ships,
And the hands that stretched toward Ireland brought no tremor to your lips;
In the sacred cause of freedom you have seen your people band,
And they looked to you for sympathy: you never stirred a hand;
But you stood upon the altar, with their blood within your veins,
And you bade the pale-faced people to be patient in their chains!
Ah, you told them—it was cruel—but you said they were not true
To the holy faith of Patrick, if they were not ruled by yon;
Yes, you told them from the altar—they, the vanguard of the Faith—
With your eyes like flint against them—that their banding was a death—
Was a death to something holy: till the heart-wrung people cried
That their priests had turned against them—that they bad no more a guide—
That the English gold had bought you—yes, they said it— but they lied!

Yea, they lied, they sinned, not knowing you—they had not gauged your love:
Heaven bless you, Priests of Ireland, for the wisdom from above,
For the strength that made you, loving them, crush back the tears that rose
When your country's heart was quiv'ring 'neath the statesman's muffled blows:
You saw clearer far than they did, and you grieved for Ireland's pain;
But you did not rouse the people—and your silence was their gain;
For too often has the peasant dared to dash his naked arm
'Gainst the saber of the soldier: but you shielded him from harm,
And your face was set against him—though your heart was with his hand
When it flung aside the plow to snatch a pike for fatherland!

O, God bless you, Priests of Ireland! You were waiting with a will,
Yon were waiting with a purpose when you bade your flocks be still;
And you preached from off your altars not alone the Word Sublime,
But your silence preached to Irishmen—'Be patient: bide your time!'
And they heard you. and obeyed, as well as outraged men could do:—
Only some, who loved poor Ireland, but who erred in doubting you,
Doubting yon, who could not tell them why you spake the strange behest—
You, who saw the day was coming when the moral strength was best—
You, whose hearts were sore with looking on your country's quick decay—
You, whose chapel seats were empty and your people fled away—
You, who marked amid the fields where once the peasant's cabin stood—
You, who saw your kith and kindred swell the emigration flood—
You, the soggarth in the famine, and the helper in the frost—
You, whose shadow was a sunshine when all other hope was lost—
Yes, they doubted—and you knew it—but you never said a word;
Only preached, ' Be still: be patient!'' and, thank God, your voice was heard.
Now, the day foreseen is breaking—it has dawned upon the land,
And the priests still preach in Ireland: do they bid their flocks disband!
Do they tell them still to suffer and be silent? No! their words
Flash from Dublin Bay to Connaught, brighter than the gleam of swords!
Flash from Donegal to Kerry, and from Waterford to Clare,
And the nationhood awaking thrills the sorrow-laden air.
Well they judged their time—they waited till the bar was glowing white,
Then they swung it on the anvil, striking down with earnest might,
And the burning sparks that scatter lose no luster on their way,
Till five million hearts in Ireland and ten millions faraway
Feel the first good blow, and answer; and they will not rest with one:
Now the first is struck, the anvil shows the labor well begun;
Swing them in with lusty sinew and the work will soon be done!
Let them sound from hoary Cashel; Kerry, Meath, and Ross stand forth;
Let them ring from Cloyne and Tuam and the Primate of the North;
Ask not class or creed: let 'Ireland! ' be the talismanic word;
Let the blessed sound of unity from North to South be heard;
Came the words: 'No creed distinctions!' on O'Connell's granite tomb,
And his dust will feel their meaning and rekindle in the gloom.
Priest to priest, to sound the summons—and the answer, man to man;
With the people round the standard, and the prelates in the van.
Let the heart of Ireland's hoping keep this golden rule of Cloyne
Till the Orange fades from Berry and the shadow from the Boyne.
Let the words be carried outward till the farthest lands they reach:
'After Christ, their country's freedom do the Irish prelates preach!'

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Ode XI: To The Country Gentlemen Of England

I.
Whither is Europe's ancient spirit fled?
Where are those valiant tenants of her shore,
Who from the warrior bow the strong dart sped,
Or with firm hand the rapid pole-ax bore?
Freeman and soldier was their common name.
Who late with reapers to the furrow came,
Now in the front of battle charg'd the foe:
Who taught the steer the wintry plough to indure,
Now in full councils check'd incroaching power,
And gave the guardian laws their majesty to know.

II.
But who are ye? from Ebro's loitering sons
To Tiber's pageants, to the sports of Seine;
From Rhine's frail palaces to Danube's thrones
And cities looking on the Cimbric main,
Ye lost, ye self-deserted? whose proud lords
Have baffled your tame hands, and given your swords
To slavish ruffians, hir'd for their command:
These, at some greedy monk's or harlot's nod,
See rifled nations crouch beneath their rod:
These are the public will, the reason of the land.

III.
Thou, heedless Albion, what, alas, the while
Dost thou presume? O inexpert in arms,
Yet vain of freedom, how dost thou beguile,
With dreams of hope, these near and loud alarms?
Thy splendid home, thy plan of laws renown'd,
The praise and envy of the nations round,
What care hast thou to guard from fortune's sway?
Amid the storms of war, how soon may all
The lofty pile from its foundations fall,
Of ages the proud toil, the ruin of a day!

IV.
No: thou art rich, thy streams and fertile vales
Add industry's wise gifts to nature's store:
And every port is crouded with thy sails,
And every wave throws treasure on thy shore.
What boots it? If luxurious plenty charm
Thy selfish heart from glory, if thy arm
Shrink at the frowns of danger and of pain,
Those gifts, that treasure is no longer thine.
Oh rather far be poor. Thy gold will shine
Tempting the eye of force, and deck thee to thy bane.

V.
But what hath force or war to do with thee?
Girt by the azure tide and thron'd sublime
Amid thy floating bulwarks, thou canst see,
With scorn, the fury of each hostile clime
Dash'd ere it reach thee. Sacred from the foe
Are thy fair fields. athwart thy guardian prow
No bold invader's foot shall tempt the strand—
Yet say, my country, will the waves and wind
Obey thee? Hast thou all thy hopes resign'd
To the sky's fickle faith? the pilot's wavering hand?

VI.
For oh may neither fear nor stronger love
(Love, by thy virtuous princes nobly won)
Thee, last of many wretched nations, move,
With mighty armies station'd round the throne
To trust thy safety. Then, farewell the claims
Of freedom! Her proud records to the flames
Then bear, an offering at ambition's shrine;
Whate'er thy ancient patriots dar'd demand
From furious John's, or faithless Charles's hand,
Or what great William seal'd for his adopted line.

VII.
But if thy sons be worthy of their name,
If liberal laws with liberal hearts they prize,
Let them from conquest, and from servile shame
In war's glad school their own protectors rise.
Ye chiefly, heirs of Albion's cultur'd plains,
Ye leaders of her bold and faithful swains,
Now not unequal to your birth be found:
The public voice bids arm your rural state,
Paternal hamlets for your ensigns wait,
And grange and fold prepare to pour their youth around.

VIII.
Why are ye tardy? what inglorious care
Detains you from their head, your native post?
Who most their country's fame and fortune share,
'Tis theirs to share her toils, her perils most.
Each man his task in social life sustains.
With partial labours, with domestic gains
Let others dwell: to you indulgent heaven
By counsel and by arms the public cause
To serve for public love and love's applause,
The first imployment far, the noblest hire, hath given.

IX.
Have ye not heard of Lacedæmon's fame?
Of Attic chiefs in freedom's war divine?
Of Rome's dread generals? the Valerian name?
The Fabian sons? the Scipios, matchless line?
Your lot was theirs. the farmer and the swain
Met his lov'd patron's summons from the plain;
The legions gather'd; the bright eagles flew:
Barbarian monarchs in the triumph mourn'd;
The conquerors to their houshold gods return'd,
And fed Calabrian flocks, and steer'd the Sabine plough.

X.
Shall then this glory of the antique age,
This pride of men, be lost among mankind?
Shall war's heroic arts no more ingage
The unbought hand, the unsubjected mind?
Doth valour to the race no more belong?
No more with scorn of violence and wrong
Doth forming nature now her sons inspire,
That, like some mystery to few reveal'd,
The skill of arms abash'd and aw'd they yield,
And from their own defence with hopeless hearts retire?

XI.
O shame to human life, to human laws!
The loose adventurer, hireling of a day,
Who his fell sword without affection draws,
Whose God, whose country, is a tyrant's pay,
This man the lessons of the field can learn;
Can every palm, which decks a warrior, earn,
And every pledge of conquest: while in vain,
To guard your altars, your paternal lands,
Are social arms held out to your free hands:
Too arduous is the lore; too irksome were the pain.

XII.
Meantime by pleasure's lying tales allur'd,
From the bright sun and living breeze ye stray;
And deep in London's gloomy haunts immur'd,
Brood o'er your fortune's, freedom's, health's decay.
O blind of choice and to yourselves untrue!
The young grove shoots, their bloom the fields renew,
The mansion asks its lord, the swains their friend;
While he doth riot's orgies haply share,
Or tempt the gamester's dark, destroying snare,
Or at some courtly shrine with slavish incense bend.

XIII.
And yet full oft your anxious tongues complain
That lawless tumult prompts the rustic throng;
That the rude village-inmates now disdain
Those homely ties which rul'd their fathers long.
Alas, your fathers did by other arts
Draw those kind ties around their simple hearts,
And led in other paths their ductile will;
By succour, faithful counsel, courteous cheer,
Won them the ancient manners to revere,
To prize their country's peace and heaven's due rites fulfill.

XIV.
But mark rhe judgement of experienc'd Time,
Tutor of nations. Doth light discord tear
A state? and impotent sedition's crime?
The powers of warlike prudence dwell not there;
The powers who to command and to obey,
Instruct the valiant. There would civil sway
The rising race to manly concord tame?
Oft let the marshal'd field their steps unite,
And in glad splendor bring before their sight
One common cause and one hereditary fame.

XV.
Nor yet be aw'd, nor yet your task disown,
Though war's proud votaries look on severe;
Though secrets, taught erewhile to them alone,
They deem profan'd by your intruding ear.
Let them in vain, your martial hope to quell,
Of new refinements, fiercer weapons tell,
And mock the old simplicity, in vain:
To the time's warfare, simple or refin'd,
The time itself adapts the warrior's mind;
And equal prowess still shall equal palms obtain.

XVI.
Say then; if England's youth, in earlier days,
On glory's field with well-train'd armies vy'd,
Why shall they now renounce that generous praise?
Why dread the foreign mercenary's pride?
Though Valois brav'd young Edward's gentle hand,
And Albret rush'd on Henry's way-worn band,
With Europe's chosen sons in arms renown'd,
Yet not on Vere's bold archers long they look'd,
Nor Audley's squires nor Mowbray's yeomen brook'd:
They saw their standard fall, and left their monarch bound.

XVII.
Such were the laurels which your fathers won;
Such glory's dictates in their dauntless breast:
—Is there no voice that speaks to every son?
No nobler, holier call to You address'd?
O! by majestic freedom, righteous laws,
By heavenly truth's, by manly reason's cause,
Awake; attend; be indolent no more:
By friendship, social peace, domestic love,
Rise; arm; your country's living safety prove;
And train her valiant youth, and watch around her shore.

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The Pilgrim's Fathers

ONE righteous word for Law—the common will;
One living truth of Faith—God regnant still;
One primal test of Freedom—all combined;
One sacred Revolution—change of mind;
One trust unfailing for the night and need—
The tyrant-flower shall cast the freedom-seed.

So held they firm, the Fathers aye to be,
From Home to Holland, Holland to the sea—
Pilgrims for manhood, in their little ship,
Hope in each heart and prayer on every lip.
They could not live by king-made codes and creeds;
They chose the path where every footstep bleeds.
Protesting, not rebelling; scorned and banned;
Through pains and prisons harried from the land;
Through double exile,—till at last they stand
Apart from all,—unique, unworldly, true,
Selected grain to sow the earth anew;
A winnowed part—a saving remnant they;
Dreamers who work—adventurers who pray!
What vision led them? Can we test their prayers?
Who knows they saw no empire in the West?
The later Puritans sought land and gold,
And all the treasures that the Spaniard told;
What line divides the Pilgrims from the rest?

We know them by the exile that was theirs;
Their justice, faith, and fortitude attest;
And those long years in Holland, when their band
Sought humble living in a stranger's land.
They saw their England covered with a weed
Of flaunting lordship both in court and creed.
With helpless hands they watched the error grow,
Pride on the top and impotence below;
Indulgent nobles, privileged and strong,
A haughty crew to whom all rights belong;
The bishops arrogant, the courts impure,
The rich conspirators against the poor;
The peasant scorned, the artisan despised;
The all-supporting workers lowest prized.
They marked those evils deepen year by year:
The pensions grow, the freeholds disappear,
Till England meant but monarch, prelate, peer.
At last, the Conquest! Now they know the word:
The Saxon tenant and the Norman lord!
No longer Merrie England: now it meant
The payers and the takers of the rent;
And rent exacted not from lands alone—
All rights and hopes must centre in the throne:
Law-tithes for prayer—their souls were not their own!

Then o'er the brim the bitter waters welled;
The mind protested and the soul rebelled.
And yet, how deep the bowl, how slight the flow!
A few brave exiles from their country go;
A few strong souls whose rich affections cling,
Though cursed by clerics, hunted by the king.
Their last sad vision on the Grimsby strand
Their wives and children kneeling on the sand.

Then twelve slow years in Holland—changing years—
Strange ways of life—strange voices in their ears;
The growing children learning foreign speech;
And growing, too, within the heart of each
A thought of further exile—of a home
In some far land—a home for life and death
By their hands built, in equity and faith.

And then the preparation—the heart-beat
Of wayfarers who may not rest their feet;
Their Pastor's blessing—the farewells of some
'Who stayed in Leyden. Then the sea's wide blue!—
'They sailed,' writ one,' and as they sailed they knew
That they were Pilgrims!'

On the wintry main
Grod flings their lives as farmers scatter grain.
His breath propels the winged seed afloat;
His tempests swerve to spare the fragile boat;
Before His prompting terrors disappear;
He points the way while patient seamen steer;
Till port is reached, nor North, nor South, but HERE!

Here, where the shore was rugged as the waves,
'Where frozen nature dumb and leafless lay,
And no rich meadows bade the Pilgrims stay,
'Was spread the symbol of the life that saves:
To conquer first the outer things; to make
Their own advantage, unallied, unbound;
Their blood the mortar, building from the ground;
Their cares the statutes, making all anew;
To learn to trust the many, not the few;
To bend the mind to discipline; to break
The bonds of old convention, and forget
The claims and barriers of class; to face
A desert land, a strange and hostile race,
And conquer both to friendship by the debt
That Nature pays to justice, love, and toil.

Here, on this rock, and on this sterile soil,
Began the kingdom not of kings, but men:
Began the making of the world again.
Here centuries sank, and from the hither brink
A new world reached and raised an old-world link,
When English hands, by wider vision taught,
Threw down the feudal bars the Normans brought,
And here revived, in spite of sword and stake,
Their ancient freedom of the Wapentake!
Here struck the seed—the Pilgrims' roofless town,
Where equal rights and equal bonds were set,
Where all the people equal-franchised met;
Where doom was writ of privilege and crown;
Where human breath blew all the idols down;
Where crests were nought, where vulture flags were furled,
And common men began to own the world!

All praise to others of the vanguard then!
To Spain, to France; to Baltimore and Penn;
To Jesuit, Quaker,—Puritan and Priest;
Their toil be crowned—their honors be increased!
We slight no true devotion, steal no fame
From other shrines to gild the Pilgrims' name.
As time selects, we judge their treasures heaped;
Their deep foundations laid; their harvests reaped;
Their primal mode of liberty; their rules
Of civil right; their churches, courts, and schools;
Their freedom's very secret here laid down,—
The spring of government is the little town!
They knew that streams must follow to a spring;
And no stream flows from township to a king.
Give praise to others, early-come or late,
For love and labor on our ship of state;
But this must stand, above all fame and zeal:
The Pilgrim Fathers laid the ribs and keel.
On their strong lines we base our social health,—
The man—the home—the town—the commonwealth!

Unconscious builders? Yea: the conscious fail!
Design is impotent if Nature frown.
No deathless pile has grown from intellect.
Immortal things have God for architect,
And men are but the granite He lays down.
Unconscious? Yea! They thought it might avail
To build a gloomy creed about their lives,
To shut out all dissent; but naught survives
Of their poor structure; and we know to-day
Their mission was less pastoral than lay—
More Nation-seed than Gospel-seed were they!

The Faith was theirs: the time had other needs.
The salt they bore must sweeten worldly deeds.
There was a meaning in the very wind
That blew them here so few, so poor, so strong,
To grapple concrete work, not abstract wrong.
Their saintly Robinson was left behind
To teach by gentle memory; to shame
The bigot spirit and the word of flame;
To write dear mercy in the Pilgrims' law;
To lead to that wide faith his soul foresaw,—
That no rejected race in darkness delves;
There are no Gentiles, but they make themselves;
That men are one of blood and one of spirit;
That one is as the whole, and all inherit!

On all the story of a life or race,
The blessing of a good man leaves its trace.
Their Pastor's word at Leyden here sufficed:
'But follow me as I have followed Christ!'
And, 'I believe there is more truth to come!'
O gentle soul, what future age shall sum
The sweet incentive of thy tender word!
Thy sigh to hear of conquest by the sword:
'How happy to convert, and not to slay! '
When valiant Standish killed the chief at bay.
To such as thee the Fathers owe their fame;
The Nation owes a temple to thy name.
Thy teaching made the Pilgrims kindly, free,—
All that the later Puritans should be.
Thy pious instinct marks their destiny.
Thy love won more than force or arts adroit—
It writ and kept the deed with Massasoit;
It earned the welcome Samoset expressed;
It lived again in Eliot's loving breast;
It filled the Compact which the Pilgrims signed—
Immortal scroll! the first where men combined
From one deep lake of common blood to draw
All rulers, rights, and potencies of law.

When waves of ages have their motive spent
Thy sermon preaches in this Monument,
Where Virtue, Courage, Law, and Learning sit;
Calm Faith above them, grasping Holy Writ;
White hand upraised o'er beauteous, trusting eyes,
And pleading finger pointing to the skies!

The past is theirs—the future ours; and we
Must learn and teach. Oh, may our record be
Like theirs, a glory, symbolled in a stone,
To speak as this speaks, of our labors done.
They had no model; but they left us one.

Severe they were; but let him cast the stone
Who Christ's dear love dare measure with his own.
Their strict professions were not cant nor pride.
Who calls them narrow, let his soul be wide!
Austere, exclusive—ay, but with their faults,
Their golden probity mankind exalts,
They never lied in practice, peace, or strife;
They were no hypocrites; their faith was clear;
They feared too much some sins men ought to fear:
The lordly arrogance and avarice,
And vain frivolity's besotting vice;
The stern enthusiasm of their life
Impelled too far, and weighed poor nature down;
They missed God's smile, perhaps, to watch His frown.
But he who digs for faults shall resurrect
Their manly virtues born of self-respect.
How sum their merits? They were true and brave;
They broke no compact and they owned no slave;
They had no servile order, no- dumb throat;
They trusted first the universal vote;
The first were they to practice and. instill
The rule of law and not the rule of will;
They lived one noble test: who would be freed
Must give up all to follow duty's lead.
They made no revolution based on blows,
But taught one truth that all the planet knows,
That all men think of, looking on a throne—
The people may be trusted with their own!

In every land wherever might holds sway
The Pilgrims' leaven is at work to-day.
The Mayflower's cabin was the chosen womb
Of light predestined for the nations' gloom.
God grant that those who tend the sacred flame
May worthy prove of their Forefathers' name.
More light has come,—more dangers, too, perplex:
New prides, new greeds, our high condition vex.
The Fathers fled from feudal lords,, and made
A freehold state; may we not retrograde
To lucre-lords and hierarchs of trade.
May we, as they did, teach in court and school,
There must be classes, but no class shall rule:
The sea is sweet, and rots not like the pool.
Though vast the token of our future glory,
Though tongue of man hath told not such a story,—
Surpassing Plato's dream, More's phantasy,—still we
Have no new principles to keep us free.
As Nature works with changeless grain on grain,
The truths the Fathers taught we need again.
Depart from this, though we may crowd our shelves,
With codes and precepts for each lapse and flaw,
And patch our moral leaks with statute law,
We cannot be protected from ourselves!
Still must we keep in every stroke and vote
The law of conscience that the Pilgrims wrote;
Our seal their secret: LIBERTY CAN BE;
THE STATE IS FREEDOM IF THE TOWN IS FREE.
The death of nations in their work began;
They sowed the seed of federated Man.
Dead nations were but robber-holds; and we
The first battalion of Humanity!
All living nations, while our eagles shine,
One after one, shall swing into our line;
Our freeborn heritage shall be the guide
And bloodless order of their regicide;
The sea shall join, not limit; mountains stand
Dividing farm from farm, not land from land.

O People's Voice! when farthest thrones shall hear;
When teachers own; when thoughtful rabbis know;
When artist minds in world-wide symbol show;
When serfs and soldiers their mute faces raise;
When priests on grand cathedral altars praise;
When pride and arrogance shall disappear,
The Pilgrims' Vision is accomplished here!

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The Emigrants: Book I

Scene, on the Cliffs to the Eastward of the Town of
Brighthelmstone in Sussex. Time, a Morning in November, 1792.


Slow in the Wintry Morn, the struggling light
Throws a faint gleam upon the troubled waves;
Their foaming tops, as they approach the shore
And the broad surf that never ceasing breaks
On the innumerous pebbles, catch the beams
Of the pale Sun, that with reluctance gives
To this cold northern Isle, its shorten'd day.
Alas! how few the morning wakes to joy!
How many murmur at oblivious night
For leaving them so soon; for bearing thus
Their fancied bliss (the only bliss they taste!),
On her black wings away!--Changing the dreams
That sooth'd their sorrows, for calamities
(And every day brings its own sad proportion)
For doubts, diseases, abject dread of Death,
And faithless friends, and fame and fortune lost;
Fancied or real wants; and wounded pride,
That views the day star, but to curse his beams.
Yet He, whose Spirit into being call'd
This wond'rous World of Waters; He who bids
The wild wind lift them till they dash the clouds,
And speaks to them in thunder; or whose breath,
Low murmuring, o'er the gently heaving tides,
When the fair Moon, in summer night serene,
Irradiates with long trembling lines of light
Their undulating surface; that great Power,
Who, governing the Planets, also knows
If but a Sea-Mew falls, whose nest is hid
In these incumbent cliffs; He surely means
To us, his reasoning Creatures, whom He bids
Acknowledge and revere his awful hand,
Nothing but good: Yet Man, misguided Man,
Mars the fair work that he was bid enjoy,
And makes himself the evil he deplores.
How often, when my weary soul recoils
From proud oppression, and from legal crimes
(For such are in this Land, where the vain boast
Of equal Law is mockery, while the cost
Of seeking for redress is sure to plunge
Th' already injur'd to more certain ruin
And the wretch starves, before his Counsel pleads)
How often do I half abjure Society,
And sigh for some lone Cottage, deep embower'd
In the green woods, that these steep chalky Hills
Guard from the strong South West; where round their base
The Beach wide flourishes, and the light Ash
With slender leaf half hides the thymy turf!--
There do I wish to hide me; well content
If on the short grass, strewn with fairy flowers,
I might repose thus shelter'd; or when Eve
In Orient crimson lingers in the west,
Gain the high mound, and mark these waves remote
(Lucid tho' distant), blushing with the rays
Of the far-flaming Orb, that sinks beneath them;
For I have thought, that I should then behold
The beauteous works of God, unspoil'd by Man
And less affected then, by human woes
I witness'd not; might better learn to bear
Those that injustice, and duplicity
And faithlessness and folly, fix on me:
For never yet could I derive relief,
When my swol'n heart was bursting with its sorrows,
From the sad thought, that others like myself
Live but to swell affliction's countless tribes!
--Tranquil seclusion I have vainly sought;
Peace, who delights solitary shade,
No more will spread for me her downy wings,
But, like the fabled Danaïds--or the wretch,
Who ceaseless, up the steep acclivity,
Was doom'd to heave the still rebounding rock,
Onward I labour; as the baffled wave,
Which yon rough beach repulses, that returns
With the next breath of wind, to fail again.--
Ah! Mourner--cease these wailings: cease and learn,
That not the Cot sequester'd, where the briar
And wood-bine wild, embrace the mossy thatch,
(Scarce seen amid the forest gloom obscure!)
Or more substantial farm, well fenced and warm,
Where the full barn, and cattle fodder'd round
Speak rustic plenty; nor the statelier dome
By dark firs shaded, or the aspiring pine,
Close by the village Church (with care conceal'd
By verdant foliage, lest the poor man's grave
Should mar the smiling prospect of his Lord),
Where offices well rang'd, or dove-cote stock'd,
Declare manorial residence; not these
Or any of the buildings, new and trim
With windows circling towards the restless Sea,
Which ranged in rows, now terminate my walk,
Can shut out for an hour the spectre Care,
That from the dawn of reason, follows still
Unhappy Mortals, 'till the friendly grave
(Our sole secure asylum) "ends the chace 1 ."
Behold, in witness of this mournful truth,
A group approach me, whose dejected looks,
Sad Heralds of distress! proclaim them Men
Banish'd for ever and for conscience sake
From their distracted Country, whence the name
Of Freedom misapplied, and much abus'd
By lawless Anarchy, has driven them far
To wander; with the prejudice they learn'd
From Bigotry (the Tut'ress of the blind),
Thro' the wide World unshelter'd; their sole hope,
That German spoilers, thro' that pleasant land
May carry wide the desolating scourge
Of War and Vengeance; yet unhappy Men,
Whate'er your errors, I lament your fate:
And, as disconsolate and sad ye hang
Upon the barrier of the rock, and seem
To murmur your despondence, waiting long
Some fortunate reverse that never comes;
Methinks in each expressive face, I see
Discriminated anguish; there droops one,
Who in a moping cloister long consum'd
This life inactive, to obtain a better,
And thought that meagre abstinence, to wake
From his hard pallet with the midnight bell,
To live on eleemosynary bread,
And to renounce God's works, would please that God.
And now the poor pale wretch receives, amaz'd,
The pity, strangers give to his distress,
Because these Strangers are, by his dark creed,
Condemn'd as Heretics--and with sick heart
Regrets 2 his pious prison, and his beads.--
Another, of more haughty port, declines
The aid he needs not; while in mute despair
His high indignant thoughts go back to France,
Dwelling on all he lost--the Gothic dome,
That vied with splendid palaces 3 ; the beds
Of silk and down, the silver chalices,
Vestments with gold enwrought for blazing altars;
Where, amid clouds of incense, he held forth
To kneeling crowds the imaginary bones
Of Saints suppos'd, in pearl and gold enchas'd,
And still with more than living Monarchs' pomp
Surrounded; was believ'd by mumbling bigots
To hold the keys of Heaven, and to admit
Whom he thought good to share it--Now alas!
He, to whose daring soul and high ambition
The World seem'd circumscrib'd; who, wont to dream,
Of Fleuri, Richelieu, Alberoni, men
Who trod on Empire, and whose politics
Were not beyond the grasp of his vast mind,
Is, in a Land once hostile, still prophan'd
By disbelief, and rites un-orthodox,
The object of compassion--At his side,
Lighter of heart than these, but heavier far
Than he was wont, another victim comes,
An Abbé--who with less contracted brow
Still smiles and flatters, and still talks of Hope;
Which, sanguine as he is, he does not feel,
And so he cheats the sad and weighty pressure
Of evils present;---- Still, as Men misled
By early prejudice (so hard to break),
I mourn your sorrows; for I too have known
Involuntary exile; and while yet
England had charms for me, have felt how sad
It is to look across the dim cold sea,
That melancholy rolls its refluent tides
Between us and the dear regretted land
We call our own--as now ye pensive wait
On this bleak morning, gazing on the waves
That seem to leave your shore; from whence the wind
Is loaded to your ears, with the deep groans
Of martyr'd Saints and suffering Royalty,
While to your eyes the avenging power of Heaven
Appears in aweful anger to prepare
The storm of vengeance, fraught with plagues and death.
Even he of milder heart, who was indeed
The simple shepherd in a rustic scene,
And, 'mid the vine-clad hills of Languedoc,
Taught to the bare-foot peasant, whose hard hands
Produc'd 4 the nectar he could seldom taste,
Submission to the Lord for whom he toil'd;
He, or his brethren, who to Neustria's sons
Enforc'd religious patience, when, at times,
On their indignant hearts Power's iron hand
Too strongly struck; eliciting some sparks
Of the bold spirit of their native North;
Even these Parochial Priests, these humbled men;
Whose lowly undistinguish'd cottages
Witness'd a life of purest piety,
While the meek tenants were, perhaps, unknown
Each to the haughty Lord of his domain,
Who mark'd them not; the Noble scorning still
The poor and pious Priest, as with slow pace
He glided thro' the dim arch'd avenue
Which to the Castle led; hoping to cheer
The last sad hour of some laborious life
That hasten'd to its close--even such a Man
Becomes an exile; staying not to try
By temperate zeal to check his madd'ning flock,
Who, at the novel sound of Liberty
(Ah! most intoxicating sound to slaves!),
Start into licence--Lo! dejected now,
The wandering Pastor mourns, with bleeding heart,
His erring people, weeps and prays for them,
And trembles for the account that he must give
To Heaven for souls entrusted to his care.--
Where the cliff, hollow'd by the wintry storm,
Affords a seat with matted sea-weed strewn,
A softer form reclines; around her run,
On the rough shingles, or the chalky bourn,
Her gay unconscious children, soon amus'd;
Who pick the fretted stone, or glossy shell,
Or crimson plant marine: or they contrive
The fairy vessel, with its ribband sail
And gilded paper pennant: in the pool,
Left by the salt wave on the yielding sands,
They launch the mimic navy--Happy age!
Unmindful of the miseries of Man!--
Alas! too long a victim to distress,
Their Mother, lost in melancholy thought,
Lull'd for a moment by the murmurs low
Of sullen billows, wearied by the task
Of having here, with swol'n and aching eyes
Fix'd on the grey horizon, since the dawn
Solicitously watch'd the weekly sail
From her dear native land, now yields awhile
To kind forgetfulness, while Fancy brings,
In waking dreams, that native land again!
Versailles appears--its painted galleries,
And rooms of regal splendour, rich with gold,
Where, by long mirrors multiply'd, the crowd
Paid willing homage--and, united there,
Beauty gave charms to empire--Ah! too soon
From the gay visionary pageant rous'd,
See the sad mourner start!--and, drooping, look
With tearful eyes and heaving bosom round
On drear reality--where dark'ning waves,
Urg'd by the rising wind, unheeded foam
Near her cold rugged seat:--To call her thence
A fellow-sufferer comes: dejection deep
Checks, but conceals not quite, the martial air,
And that high consciousness of noble blood,
Which he has learn'd from infancy to think
Exalts him o'er the race of common men:
Nurs'd in the velvet lap of luxury,
And fed by adulation--could he learn,
That worth alone is true Nobility?
And that the peasant who, "amid 5 the sons
"Of Reason, Valour, Liberty, and Virtue,
"Displays distinguish'd merit, is a Noble
"Of Nature's own creation!"--If even here,
If in this land of highly vaunted Freedom,
Even Britons controvert the unwelcome truth,
Can it be relish'd by the sons of France?
Men, who derive their boasted ancestry
From the fierce leaders of religious wars,
The first in Chivalry's emblazon'd page;
Who reckon Gueslin, Bayard, or De Foix,
Among their brave Progenitors? Their eyes,
Accustom'd to regard the splendid trophies
Of Heraldry (that with fantastic hand
Mingles, like images in feverish dreams,
"Gorgons and Hydras, and Chimeras dire,"
With painted puns, and visionary shapes;),
See not the simple dignity of Virtue,
But hold all base, whom honours such as these
Exalt not from the crowd 6 --As one, who long
Has dwelt amid the artificial scenes
Of populous City, deems that splendid shows,
The Theatre, and pageant pomp of Courts,
Are only worth regard; forgets all taste
For Nature's genuine beauty; in the lapse
Of gushing waters hears no soothing sound,
Nor listens with delight to sighing winds,
That, on their fragrant pinions, waft the notes
Of birds rejoicing in the trangled copse;
Nor gazes pleas'd on Ocean's silver breast,
While lightly o'er it sails the summer clouds
Reflected in the wave, that, hardly heard,
Flows on the yellow sands: so to his mind,
That long has liv'd where Despotism hides
His features harsh, beneath the diadem
Of worldly grandeur, abject Slavery seems,
If by that power impos'd, slavery no more:
For luxury wreathes with silk the iron bonds,
And hides the ugly rivets with her flowers,
Till the degenerate triflers, while they love
The glitter of the chains, forget their weight.
But more the Men, whose ill acquir'd wealth
Was wrung from plunder'd myriads, by the means
Too often legaliz'd by power abus'd,
Feel all the horrors of the fatal change,
When their ephemeral greatness, marr'd at once
(As a vain toy that Fortune's childish hand
Equally joy'd to fashion or to crush),
Leaves them expos'd to universal scorn
For having nothing else; not even the claim
To honour, which respect for Heroes past
Allows to ancient titles; Men, like these,
Sink even beneath the level, whence base arts
Alone had rais'd them;--unlamented sink,
And know that they deserve the woes they feel.
Poor wand'ring wretches! whosoe'er ye are,
That hopeless, houseless, friendless, travel wide
O'er these bleak russet downs; where, dimly seen,
The solitary Shepherd shiv'ring tends
His dun discolour'd flock (Shepherd, unlike
Him, whom in song the Poet's fancy crowns
With garlands, and his crook with vi'lets binds);
Poor vagrant wretches! outcasts of the world!
Whom no abode receives, no parish owns;
Roving, like Nature's commoners, the land
That boasts such general plenty: if the sight
Of wide-extended misery softens yours
Awhile, suspend your murmurs!--here behold
The strange vicissitudes of fate--while thus
The exil'd Nobles, from their country driven,
Whose richest luxuries were their's, must feel
More poignant anguish, than the lowest poor,
Who, born to indigence, have learn'd to brave
Rigid Adversity's depressing breath!--
Ah! rather Fortune's worthless favourites!
Who feed on England's vitals--Pensioners
Of base corruption, who, in quick ascent
To opulence unmerited, become
Giddy with pride, and as ye rise, forgetting
The dust ye lately left, with scorn look down
On those beneath ye (tho' your equals once
In fortune , and in worth superior still ,
They view the eminence, on which ye stand,
With wonder, not with envy; for they know
The means, by which ye reach'd it, have been such
As, in all honest eyes, degrade ye far
Beneath the poor dependent, whose sad heart
Reluctant pleads for what your pride denies);
Ye venal, worthless hirelings of a Court!
Ye pamper'd Parasites! whom Britons pay
For forging fetters for them; rather here
Study a lesson that concerns ye much;
And, trembling, learn, that if oppress'd too long,
The raging multitude, to madness stung,
Will turn on their oppressors; and, no more
By sounding titles and parading forms
Bound like tame victims, will redress themselves!
Then swept away by the resistless torrent,
Not only all your pomp may disappear,
But, in the tempest lost, fair Order sink
Her decent head, and lawless Anarchy
O'erturn celestial Freedom's radiant throne;--
As now in Gallia; where Confusion, born
Of party rage and selfish love of rule,
Sully the noblest cause that ever warm'd
The heart of Patriot Virtue 8 --There arise
The infernal passions; Vengeance, seeking blood,
And Avarice; and Envy's harpy fangs
Pollute the immortal shrine of Liberty,
Dismay her votaries, and disgrace her name.
Respect is due to principle; and they,
Who suffer for their conscience, have a claim,
Whate'er that principle may be, to praise.
These ill-starr'd Exiles then, who, bound by ties,
To them the bonds of honour; who resign'd
Their country to preserve them, and now seek
In England an asylum--well deserve
To find that (every prejudice forgot,
Which pride and ignorance teaches), we for them
Feel as our brethren; and that English hearts,
Of just compassion ever own the sway,
As truly as our element, the deep,
Obeys the mild dominion of the Moon--
This they have found; and may they find it still!
Thus may'st thou, Britain, triumph!--May thy foes,
By Reason's gen'rous potency subdued,
Learn, that the God thou worshippest, delights
In acts of pure humanity!--May thine
Be still such bloodless laurels! nobler far
Than those acquir'd at Cressy or Poictiers,
Or of more recent growth, those well bestow'd
On him who stood on Calpe's blazing height
Amid the thunder of a warring world,
Illustrious rather from the crowds he sav'd
From flood and fire, than from the ranks who fell
Beneath his valour!--Actions such as these,
Like incense rising to the Throne of Heaven,
Far better justify the pride, that swells
In British bosoms, than the deafening roar
Of Victory from a thousand brazen throats,
That tell with what success wide-wasting War
Has by our brave Compatriots thinned the world.

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Alexis de Tocqueville

The French want no-one to be their superior. The English want inferiors. The Frenchman constantly raises his eyes above him with anxiety. The Englishman lowers his beneath him with satisfaction.

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The Indians, I was now speaking of, were not content with the common Enemies that lessen and destroy their Country-men, but invented an infallible Stratagem to purge their Tribe, and reduce their Multitude into far less Numbers.

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When Joan D' Arc was asked by her judges why as a Christian she did not love the British, she answered that she did love them, but she loved British in their country. In the same way, we do not hate the Turks, we love them, but in their country.

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The Stealing Of It To Claim As 'Their' Property

There are many things I show,
Handed to me by my ancestors.
And what has been given to me,
Is in my DNA.
Where it will stay!
Although the preciousness of it,
May be tampered with one day.
But...
The stealing of it to claim as 'their' property,
Will not happen in my generation.
No matter how advanced the technology.
Or the sophistication of the thieves,
To create what they percieve will be human.

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A War To End All Wars, But Wasn’t

They not only fought the enemy,
but fought the elements as well.
They fought for their country
in lands far from home.
They fought rain, mud and the enemy
in trenches stained with blood
from those who had fallen there before.
They fought on and on
while the Generals watched
the slaughter from far away.
For their mistakes men died
by the score across the battlefield.
Their blood would stained the land
then and forever more.
Then came the gas
like a creeping mist across the battlefield
that silenced all in its wake.
It made no distinction to young or old,
just poisoned all it touched.
Their contorted bodies rotted where they fell.
They said this was a war to end all wars, but it wasn’t.
Almost twenty years later
men from different countries gathered to fight another war
and again in the trenches men fell.
The mechanics had changed;
machines became more prevalent across the battlefield,
still men died for small victories in the tide of war.

3 July 2008

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Nine Eleven Zero One (misplaced poem)

(09/13/11)


Two days before my birthday
The united states was attacked
By a band of terrorists
That threw this country back.

Never in our history did another
Country come into ours.
Bringing destruction and death
Like a thunderous shower.

They say they did it for ALLAH
Which I find it hard to believe
That GOD, no matter what he may
Be known as, would tell people
To kill one another - knowing that
there are so many who are sister and brother.

So many different religions, so many
Different beliefs, would not do this
To put a country in grief.
A war whether it be declared or not
Have soldiers meet on a battlefield.

There is no honor when you sneak
Up on another and thrust a knife in their back.
Maybe this is the reason it’s called a sneak attack.
They are convinced that martyrs they will be
And that they will LIVE - in their country’s history.

If it is six months from now, or twenty years from now
Their names will never be remembered or put on a plaque
The cards are against them, its already been stacked.
We will find the origin from where they came
And their country s life will never be the same.
So to the supporters of this terrorist attack
We will search for you, there’ll be no turning back.

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A Voice Of The Loyal North

1861

JANUARY THIRD

WE sing 'Our Country's' song to-night
With saddened voice and eye;
Her banner droops in clouded light
Beneath the wintry sky.
We'll pledge her once in golden wine
Before her stars have set
Though dim one reddening orb may shine,
We have a Country yet.

'T were vain to sigh o'er errors past,
The fault of sires or sons;
Our soldier heard the threatening blast,
And spiked his useless guns;
He saw the star-wreathed ensign fall,
By mad invaders torn;
But saw it from the bastioned wall
That laughed their rage to scorn!

What though their angry cry is flung
Across the howling wave,--
They smite the air with idle tongue
The gathering storm who brave;
Enough of speech! the trumpet rings;
Be silent, patient, calm,--
God help them if the tempest swings
The pine against the palm!

Our toilsome years have made us tame;
Our strength has slept unfelt;
The furnace-fire is slow to flame
That bids our ploughshares melt;
'T is hard to lose the bread they win
In spite of Nature's frowns,--
To drop the iron threads we spin
That weave our web of towns,

To see the rusting turbines stand
Before the emptied flumes,
To fold the arms that flood the land
With rivers from their looms,--
But harder still for those who learn
The truth forgot so long;
When once their slumbering passions burn,
The peaceful are the strong!

The Lord have mercy on the weak,
And calm their frenzied ire,
And save our brothers ere they shriek,
'We played with Northern fire!'
The eagle hold his mountain height,--
The tiger pace his den
Give all their country, each his right!
God keep us all! Amen!

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Don't Be Fooled

When my twin brother was dying of cancer the insurance company pulled his insurance then the bank foreclosed his house. i hate them! I hate the right wing of today and corporate insurance companies and the rich get richer off the middle class and the union busting etc. i will always fight them no matter what happens. I love people with empathy and compassion and courage and real love. We are in a very bad chapter in American history and even if we do not pull out of it I still will fight because I am a universalist with spiritual ethics based on God is love and love thy neighbor as thyself. I know both parties are in the hands of money and lobby dollars but the right wing is way worse and the tea party even crazier. They won't tax the rich back to the Clinton years while they watch tuitions going up so the rich get to send their kids to school and the poor or lower middleclass can't send their kids to college. The tea party sides with banks and the oil companies and tax breaks for the wealthy not the working class and poor. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just came out with a report showing that since 1979 the top 1 percent increased wages and wealth a staggering 275%. This inequality and massive distribution of wealth is ruining our economy. The right wing spins this and blames the victims, accuses people of being lazy etc when the truth is they take from the poor to give to the rich and then they turn around and accuse everyone of starting class warfare. They are the class warefare oppressors! These mobsters and political cronies for the rich use evangelicals. Side with the poor and the working class. Remember in the feast of Jubilee the land went back to the original tribe every 50 years in Israel. The fields were to remain fallow and unplowed every seven years for one year and the poor only could glean. During harvest the fields could only be gone over once then the poor could go in. There was always justice and social justice and distribution of wealth. Jesus healed them all. Today we have cattle that don't graze but are fed on corn filled with growth hormones and antibiotics, chickens never seeing the sun with broken legs after a few months because of rapid growth for profit, pigs that never stand up though they are smarter than dogs all for the food industries. The grain companies feed these animals and it all goes for MONEY while corporate Christianity is more worried about the rapture and Armageddon then love and justice. Regulations let down increase lead, mercury, toxic chemicals and cancers and the evangelicals get used by the republican gangsters and rhetoric. GMO’s everywhere that are being questioned by more and more scientist and the right wing church is mum. Ministers preaching right out in the open, vote for these right wing gang leaders and not loosing their tax exempt status! Don't be fooled. It is the rich and major companies that have shipped the jobs out of here; it is not the poor and the middle class. They won’t tax the rich and still give exemptions to the OIL COMPANIES! C’mon folks! ! ! Don’t be fooled!
Big Oil just posted multibillion-dollar profits – AGAIN – and what are Republicans doing? Filibustering a jobs bill. Refusing to make billionaires pay their fair share. Basically anything they can do for the benefit of their wealthy buddies in the top 1% - and at the expense of the middle class. They don't want the middle class strengthened in any way as to give any credit to the left because they don't love their country. They love their power, the rich, the elite and all they do is grandstand and block help for hurting people.
I am for the party that distributes the wealth, that helps kids get to college, that supports women, that supports the mentally ill and doesn’t cut funding, that doesn’t allow companies to pollute and ruin the environment, that is green and wanting clean technology for our children, that leaves the rivers and lakes and wilderness in tact for future generations, that supports unions and good wages for working people with good benefits and a future, that believes is social security, that wants healthcare for every single citizen. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Do onto others as you would want them to do unto you. Do you want healthcare for you and yours, do you want college for your children, do you want clean water, do you want a good job for you and your children? ? ? Then fight these greedy, evil republicans of today who support the 1% of the filthy rich while they dismantle and take away the middle class in a horrible battle of class warfare. See what the Bible preaches about the rich and oppressors. The Scriptures constantly lift up the poor and working people and condemn the rich and those that do not share the wealth. I don’t care about names or tags but as a Christian I cannot see the 1% have all the marbles and allow our country to be taken over by these gangsters and liars. These right-wingers of today support the rich. Powerful and greedy and they are trying for the evangelical vote and bubba while taking bread off everyone’s table except their own. DON’T BE FOOLED

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Impossible To Tell

to Robert Hass and in memory of Elliot Gilbert

Slow dulcimer, gavotte and bow, in autumn,
Bashõ and his friends go out to view the moon;
In summer, gasoline rainbow in the gutter,

The secret courtesy that courses like ichor
Through the old form of the rude, full-scale joke,
Impossible to tell in writing. 'Bashõ'

He named himself, 'Banana Tree': banana
After the plant some grateful students gave him,
Maybe in appreciation of his guidance

Threading a long night through the rules and channels
Of their collaborative linking-poem
Scored in their teacher's heart: live, rigid, fluid

Like passages etched in a microscopic cicuit.
Elliot had in his memory so many jokes
They seemed to breed like microbes in a culture

Inside his brain, one so much making another
It was impossible to tell them all:
In the court-culture of jokes, a top banana.

Imagine a court of one: the queen a young mother,
Unhappy, alone all day with her firstborn child
And her new baby in a squalid apartment

Of too few rooms, a different race from her neighbors.
She tells the child she's going to kill herself.
She broods, she rages. Hoping to distract her,

The child cuts capers, he sings, he does imitations
Of different people in the building, he jokes,
He feels if he keeps her alive until the father

Gets home from work, they'll be okay till morning.
It's laughter versus the bedroom and the pills.
What is he in his efforts but a courtier?

Impossible to tell his whole delusion.
In the first months when I had moved back East
From California and had to leave a message

On Bob's machine, I used to make a habit
Of telling the tape a joke; and part-way through,
I would pretend that I forgot the punchline,

Or make believe that I was interrupted--
As though he'd be so eager to hear the end
He'd have to call me back. The joke was Elliot's,

More often than not. The doctors made the blunder
That killed him some time later that same year.
One day when I got home I found a message

On my machine from Bob. He had a story
About two rabbis, one of them tall, one short,
One day while walking along the street together

They see the corpse of a Chinese man before them,
And Bob said, sorry, he forgot the rest.
Of course he thought that his joke was a dummy,

Impossible to tell--a dead-end challenge.
But here it is, as Elliot told it to me:
The dead man's widow came to the rabbis weeping,

Begging them, if they could, to resurrect him.
Shocked, the tall rabbi said absolutely not.
But the short rabbi told her to bring the body

Into the study house, and ordered the shutters
Closed so the room was night-dark. Then he prayed
Over the body, chanting a secret blessing

Out of Kabala. 'Arise and breathe,' he shouted;
But nothing happened. The body lay still. So then
The little rabbi called for hundreds of candles

And danced around the body, chanting and praying
In Hebrew, then Yiddish, then Aramaic. He prayed
In Turkish and Egyptian and Old Galician

For nearly three hours, leaping about the coffin
In the candlelight so that his tiny black shoes
Seemed not to touch the floor. With one last prayer

Sobbed in the Spanish of before the Inquisition
He stopped, exhausted, and looked in the dead man's face.
Panting, he raised both arms in a mystic gesture

And said, 'Arise and breathe!' And still the body
Lay as before. Impossible to tell
In words how Elliot's eyebrows flailed and snorted

Like shaggy mammoths as--the Chinese widow
Granting permission--the little rabbi sang
The blessing for performing a circumcision

And removed the dead man's foreskin, chanting blessings
In Finnish and Swahili, and bathed the corpse
From head to foot, and with a final prayer

In Babylonian, gasping with exhaustion,
He seized the dead man's head and kissed the lips
And dropped it again and leaping back commanded,

'Arise and breathe!' The corpse lay still as ever.
At this, as when Bashõ's disciples wind
Along the curving spine that links the renga

Across the different voices, each one adding
A transformation according to the rules
Of stasis and repetition, all in order

And yet impossible to tell beforehand,
Elliot changes for the punchline: the wee
Rabbi, still panting, like a startled boxer,

Looks at the dead one, then up at all those watching,
A kind of Mel Brooks gesture: 'Hoo boy!' he says,
'Now that's what I call really dead.' O mortal

Powers and princes of earth, and you immortal
Lords of the underground and afterlife,
Jehovah, Raa, Bol-Morah, Hecate, Pluto,

What has a brilliant, living soul to do with
Your harps and fires and boats, your bric-a-brac
And troughs of smoking blood? Provincial stinkers,

Our languages don't touch you, you're like that mother
Whose small child entertained her to beg her life.
Possibly he grew up to be the tall rabbi,

The one who washed his hands of all those capers
Right at the outset. Or maybe he became
The author of these lines, a one-man renga

The one for whom it seems to be impossible
To tell a story straight. It was a routine
Procedure. When it was finished the physicians

Told Sandra and the kids it had succeeded,
But Elliot wouldn't wake up for maybe an hour,
They should go eat. The two of them loved to bicker

In a way that on his side went back to Yiddish,
On Sandra's to some Sicilian dialect.
He used to scold her endlessly for smoking.

When she got back from dinner with their children
The doctors had to tell them about the mistake.
Oh swirling petals, falling leaves! The movement

Of linking renga coursing from moment to moment
Is meaning, Bob says in his Haiku book.
Oh swirling petals, all living things are contingent,

Falling leaves, and transient, and they suffer.
But the Universal is the goal of jokes,
Especially certain ethnic jokes, which taper

Down through the swirling funnel of tongues and gestures
Toward their preposterous Ithaca. There's one
A journalist told me. He heard it while a hero

Of the South African freedom movement was speaking
To elderly Jews. The speaker's own right arm
Had been blown off by right-wing letter-bombers.

He told his listeners they had to cast their ballots
For the ANC--a group the old Jews feared
As 'in with the Arabs.' But they started weeping

As the old one-armed fighter told them their country
Needed them to vote for what was right, their vote
Could make a country their children could return to

From London and Chicago. The moved old people
Applauded wildly, and the speaker's friend
Whispered to the journalist, 'It's the Belgian Army

Joke come to life.' I wish I could tell it
To Elliot. In the Belgian Army, the feud
Between the Flemings and Walloons grew vicious,

So out of hand the army could barely function.
Finally one commander assembled his men
In one great room, to deal with things directly.

They stood before him at attention. 'All Flemings,'
He ordered, 'to the left wall.' Half the men
Clustered to the left. 'Now all Walloons,' he ordered,

'Move to the right.' An equal number crowded
Against the right wall. Only one man remained
At attention in the middle: 'What are you, soldier?'

Saluting, the man said, 'Sir, I am a Belgian.'
'Why, that's astonishing, Corporal--what's your name?'
Saluting again, 'Rabinowitz,' he answered:

A joke that seems at first to be a story
About the Jews. But as the renga describes
Religious meaning by moving in drifting petals

And brittle leaves that touch and die and suffer
The changing winds that riffle the gutter swirl,
So in the joke, just under the raucous music

Of Fleming, Jew, Walloon, a courtly allegiance
Moves to the dulcimer, gavotte and bow,
Over the banana tree the moon in autumn--

Allegiance to a state impossible to tell.

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If we want to build the Iraqis' confidence about our intentions in their country, if we want to stop adding fuel to the fire of insurgency and terrorism, we must clarify our intent.

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