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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Ode Sung in the Town Hall, Concord, July 4, 1857

By Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

O TENDERLY the haughty day

Fills his blue urn with fire;

One morn is in the mighty heaven,

And one in our desire.

The cannon booms from town to town,

Our pulses beat not less,

The joy-bells chime their tidings down,

Which children’s voices bless.

For He that flung the broad blue fold

O’er mantling land and sea,

One third part of the sky unrolled

For the banner of the free.

The men are ripe of Saxon kind

To build an equal state,—

To take the statue from the mind

And make of duty fate.

United States! the ages plead,—

Present and Past in under-song,—

Go put your creed into your deed,

Nor speak with double tongue.

For sea and land don’t understand,

Nor skies without a frown

See rights for which the one hand fights

By the other cloven down.

Be just at home; then write your scroll

Of honor o’er the sea,

And bid the broad Atlantic roll,

A ferry of the free.

And henceforth there shall be no chain,

Save underneath the sea

The wires shall murmur through the main

Sweet songs of liberty.

The conscious stars accord above,

The waters wild below,

And under, through the cable wove,

Her fiery errands go.

For He that worketh high and wise,

Nor pauses in his plan,

Will take the sun out of the skies

Ere freedom out of man.