Our Country

by


This poem was written in 1867, published in her daughters' biography, Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), which earned Laura E. Richards and Maud Howe Elliott the Pulitzer Prize in 1917.
An illustration for the story Our Country by the author Julia Ward Howe
Frederic Edwin Church, Our Banner in the Sky, 1860
An illustration for the story Our Country by the author Julia Ward Howe
Frederic Edwin Church, Our Banner in the Sky, 1860
An illustration for the story Our Country by the author Julia Ward Howe
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 blessing of the years,
The gift of faith, the crown of song.

If you enjoyed this poem, you might like reading our collection of Civil War Stories.


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