Poet John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier Poems

  • 51.  
    Olor Iscanus queries: "Why should we
    Vex at the land's ridiculous miserie?" So on his Usk banks, in the blood-red dawn
  • 52.  
    A sound as if from bells of silver,
    Or elfin cymbals smitten clear, Through the frost-pictured panes I hear.
  • 53.  
  • 54.  
    They hear Thee not, O God! nor see;
    Beneath Thy rod they mock at Thee; The princes of our ancient line
  • 55.  
    In calm and cool and silence, once again
    I find my old accustomed place among My brethren, where, perchance, no human tongue
  • 56.  
    The shadows grow and deepen round me,
    I feel the deffall in the air; The muezzin of the darkening thicket,
  • 57.  
    The new world honors him whose lofty plea
    For England's freedom made her own more sure, Whose song, immortal as its theme, shall be
  • 58.  
    In the old days (a custom laid aside
    With breeches and cocked hats) the people sent Their wisest men to make the public laws.
  • 59.  
    I would not sin, in this half-playful strain,--
    Too light perhaps for serious years, though born Of the enforced leisure of slow pain,--
  • 60.  
    STATESMAN, I thank thee! and, if yet dissent
    Mingles, reluctant, with my large content, I cannot censure what was nobly meant.
  • 61.  
    THANK God for the token! one lip is still free,
    One spirit untrammelled, unbending one knee! Like the oak of the mountain, deep-rooted and firm,
  • 62.  
    You flung your taunt across the wave;
    We bore it as became us, Well knowing that the fettered slave
  • 63.  
    I wandered lonely where the pine-trees made
    Against the bitter East their barricade, And, guided by its sweet
  • 64.  
    HE had bowed down to drunkenness,
    An abject worshipper: The pride of manhood's pulse had grown
  • 65.  
    The land, that, from the rule of kings,
    In freeing us, itself made free, Our Old World Sister, to us brings
  • 66.  
    To-day the plant by Williams set
    Its summer bloom discloses; The wilding sweethrier of his prayers
  • 67.  
    Another hand is beckoning us,
    Another call is given; And glows once more with Angel-steps
  • 68.  
    A DREAR and desolate shore!
    Where no tree unfolds its leaves, And never the spring wind weaves
  • 69.  
    A gold fringe on the purpling hem
    Of hills the river runs, As down its long, green valley falls
  • 70.  
    So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
    Which once he wore! The glory from his gray hairs gone
  • 71.  
    THE suns of eighteen centuries have shone Since the Redeemer walked with man, and made
  • 72.  
    She sang alone, ere womanhood had known
    The gift of song which fills the air to-day Tender and sweet, a music all her own
  • 73.  
    O STATE prayer-founded! never hung
    Such choice upon a people's tongue, Such power to bless or ban,
  • 74.  
    IN the solemn days of old,
    Two men met in Boston town, One a tradesman frank and bold,
  • 75.  
    Some die too late and some too soon,
    At early morning, heat of noon, Or the chill evening twilight. Thou,
  • 76.  
    Not vainly did old poets tell,
    Nor vainly did old genius paint God's great and crowning miracle,
  • 77.  
    No aimless wanderers, by the fiend Unrest
    Goaded from shore to shore; No schoolmen, turning, in their classic quest,
  • 78.  
    A MOONY breadth of virgin face,
    By thought unviolated; A patient mouth, to take from scorn
  • 79.  
    Smoothing soft the nestling head
    Of a maiden fancy-led, Thus a grave-eyed woman said:
  • 80.  
    Immortal Love, forever full,
    Forever flowing free, Forever shared, forever whole,
  • 81.  
    Low in the east, against a white, cold dawn,
    The black-lined silhouette of the woods was drawn, And on a wintry waste
  • 82.  
    THE cannon's brazen lips are cold;
    No red shell blazes down the air; And street and tower, and temple old,
  • 83.  
    FROM these wild rocks I look to-day
    O'er leagues of dancing waves, and see The far, low coast-line stretch away
  • 84.  
    What flecks the outer gray beyond
    The sundown's golden trail? The white flash of a sea-bird's wing,
  • 85.  
    THE wave is breaking on the shore,
    The echo fading from the chime; Again the shadow moveth o'er
  • 86.  
    HAPPY young friends, sit by me,
  • 87.  
    MADDENED by Earth's wrong and evil,
    'Lord!' I cried in sudden ire, 'From Thy right hand, clothed with thunder,
  • 88.  
    THANK God for rest, where none molest,
    And none can make afraid; For Peace that sits as Plenty's guest
  • 89.  
    'WHY urge the long, unequal fight,
    Since Truth has fallen in the street, Or lift anew the trampled light,
  • 90.  
    OUR fellow-countrymen in chains!
    Slaves, in a land of light and law! Slaves, crouching on the very plains
  • 91.  
    THE robins sang in the orchard, the buds into
  • 92.  
    BEAMS of noon, like burning lances, through the tree-tops flash and glisten,
    As she stands before her lover, with raised face to look and listen. Dark, but comely, like the maiden in the ancient Jewish song:
  • 93.  
    Talk not of sad November, when a day
    Of warm, glad sunshine fills the sky of noon, And a wind, borrowed from some morn of June,
  • 94.  
    Poet and friend of poets, if thy glass
    Detects no flower in winter's tuft of grass, Let this slight token of the debt I owe
  • 95.  
    I GIVE thee joy!â??I know to thee
    The dearest spot on earth must be Where sleeps thy loved one by the summer sea;
  • 96.  
    A score of years had come and gone
    Since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth stone, When Captain Underhill, bearing scars
  • 97.  
    Summer's last sun nigh unto setting shines
    Through yon columnar pines, And on the deepening shadows of the lawn
  • 98.  
    Thrice welcome from the Land of Flowers
    And golden-fruited orange bowers To this sweet, green-turfed June of ours!
  • 99.  
    She sings by her wheel at that low cottage door,
    Which the long evening shadow is stretching before; With a music as sweet as the music which seems
  • 100.  
    Where Time the measure of his hours
    By changeful bud and blossom keeps, And, like a young bride crowned with flowers,
Total 522 poems written by John Greenleaf Whittier

Poem of the day

 by Sara Teasdale

When I went to look at what had long been hidden,
A jewel laid long ago in a secret place,
I trembled, for I thought to see its dark deep fire -
But only a pinch of dust blew up in my face.

I almost gave my life long ago for a thing
That has gone to dust now, stinging my eyes -
It is strange how often a heart must be broken

Read complete poem

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