Posts Tagged ‘John G. Whittier’

Women Will Celebrate

August 26, 2012

WASHINGTON — A great jubilation to celebrate the successful culmination of woman’s long battle for suffrage will be held in the rotunda of the Capitol in October in event that Tennessee or Vermont adds the final chapter to ratification within the next month.

Women thruout the world will join the women’s organization of the United States in making it an historic event. The celebration will be the occasion of presenting the nation with marble busts of Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the three women who began the struggle for political freedom for their sex and died in it.

The busts have an interesting history. Collections of funds for them began thirty-four years ago. John Greenleaf Whittier, Longfellow and other noted men of the day were among the contributors. Finally enough was obtained to commission Adelaide Johnson, one of the best-known women sculptors, to make the busts. Miss Anthony herself raised $1,000 toward the fund.

After her death, and when most of the members of  the original committee organized to take charge of the fund had passed away, plans for completing the busts progressed but slowly. When the last member of the committee died, Ida Husted Harper, well known suffrage leader, was bequeathed possession of the funds with power of attorney.

Recently Dr. Harper gave the National Woman’s Party permission to take charge of the busts and present them to the government. The party is paying for their completion. The sculptor in her studio at Rome, Italy, is now adding the finishing touches to the busts, which were made from methods begun during the lifetime of the three suffrage pioneers.

They are to be placed in the Capitol. At present only one among the countless bronze and marble statues there is in memory of a woman. Frances E. Willard, alone among her sex, is honored by a marble bust in Statuary Hall.

When the suffragists hold their jubilee it will not be the first time the rotunda of the Capitol has been the scene of impressive suffrage ceremonies.

Once the gold and purple colors of the militants bedecked its great marble posts and without protest. It was when Alice  Paul’s band chose the rotunda for their memorial tribute to beautiful young Inez Milholland, who gave her life for the “cause.” They took possession of it and made it ready for the ceremonies without permission. Senators who came to protect remained as silent and touched spectators.

It will be the militants who will have charge of the jubilee ceremonies. They will go to the Capitol this time as honored guests of the government.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Jul 28, 1920

In School Days

September 6, 2011

In School Days
—–
BY J.G. WHITTIER.
—–

Still is the school house by the road,
A ragged beggar sunning;
Around it still the sumachs grow,
And blackberry vines are running.

Within, the master’s desk is seen,
Deep scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,
The Jackknife’s carved initial.

The charcoal frescoes on its walls;
Its door’s worn sill betraying
The feet, that creeping slow to school,
Went storming out to playing!

Long years ago a winter’s sun
Shone over it at setting;
Lit up its western window panes
And low eaves’ icy fretting.

It touched the tangled, golden curls,
And brown eyes full of grieving,
Of one who still her steps delayed
When all the school were leaving.

For near her stood the little boy
Her childish favor singled,
His cap pulled low upon a face
Where pride and shame were mingled.

Pushing with restless feet the snow
To right and left, he lingered,
As restlessly her tiny hands
The blue-checked apron fingered.

He saw her lift her eyes; he felt
The soft hand’s light caressing,
And heard the trembling of her voice
As if a fault confessing;

“I am sorry that I spelt the word;
I hate to go above you,
Because” — the brown eyes lower fell —
“Because, you see, I love you!”

Still memory to a gray-haired man
That sweet child-face is showing.
Dear girl! the grasses on her grave
Have forty years been growing!

He lives to learn in life’s hard school,
How few who pass above him
Lament their triumph and his loss,
Like her — because they love him.

Indiana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Oct 20, 1870

A Poet’s Birthday.

Our boys and girls will see in their column this week the portrait of a very good and famous man, John Greenleaf Whittier. He was born Dec. 19, 1807, so that this month he is 78 years old. He is called the Quaker poet, because he belongs to the Society of Friends. His father and mother were Friends, too.

He wears the plain dress and uses the pleasant old “thee” and “thou” speech of his Quaker ancestors.

When a boy Whittier worked on a farm. Then he learned the shoemaker’s trade. The man who makes the sweetest, strongest verses of any American poet made shoes in his boyhood. No doubt they were good shoes, too, for geniuses do their best at everything.

Image from the Migration Heritage Center website

But a little bird began to sing in the boy’s soul. It sang more and more loudly till at last young Whittier dropped last and awl, and began to write. From his Quaker mother and father he inherited a passionate love of liberty. It was in the days of slavery and he began to work in his way for breaking the bondman’s chains. He wrote lyrics of freedom that will live forever. During the war one of his strongest Union poems was “Barbara Frietchie,” which so many of you know by heart. In the last fifty years he has written many poems. They are full of strength and fire and music. The names of some of his books are: “Voices of Freedom,” “Home Ballads,” “Snow Bound,” “Maud Muller,” and “Ballads of New England.” There are many others.Mr. Whittier is a fine example for all boys and girls to imitate. He has proved that people can rise from the poorest station to be honored and famous. He is not a rich man, but he is something far better. His poems have given peace to the troubled and hope to the despairing. They have been recited and sung around the world. Boys and girls commit them to memory, and it does them good all their lives. This is better, far better, than to be rich. In schools all over America Whittier’s birthday is celebrated every year by bright-eyed children. In some schools the pupils have had real letters from the grand old poet, which are treasured and shown to visitors year after year.

Mr. Whittier, old as he is, still writes and gives the world from time to time beautiful poems.

He lives very quietly at Amesbury, Mass. He is a modest man and shy of meeting strangers.

The poet is a bachelor. Many of you have, no doubt, read his poem, “In School Days.” It is about a little girl that spelled a word that a boy missed, and went above him in the class. The boy and girl were particular friends, and the girl was sorry that she had gone above him. In the poem, she creeps softly up to him after school and says:

“I’m sorry that I spelt the word,
I hate to go above you,
Because — the brown eyes lower fell —
Because, you see, I love you.”

They say this little girl was a real one, and that the boy was Whittier himself. They were dear friends and child playmates. But the sweet little girl died, and the poet has remembered her and mourned for her all his life. The poem says:

“Still memory to a gray-haired man
That sweet child-face is showing;
Dear girl! The grasses on her grave
Have forty years been growing.

“He lives to learn, in life’s hard school,
How few who pass above him
Lament their triumph and his loss
Like her — because they love him!”

Davenport Daily Gazette (Davenport, Iowa) Dec 19, 1885

Image from Find-A-Grave

Whittier’s School Friend Is Honored

HAVERHILL (Mass.), Oct. 28. — (INS) — Undying tribute of John Greenleaf Whittier to Lydia A. Ayer, his childhood sweetheart, a six foot stone memorial bearing an inscription depicting the schoolhouse they both attended, stood in Walnut Cemetery today.

The memorial was erected as a result of several months’ research by Fred L. Noyes of the Haverhill Whittier Associates, who learned Miss Ayres was buried in the cemetery.

In his poem, School Days, Whittier quoted her as saying after she had spelled him down in a spelling bee:

“I’m sorry that I spelt the word;
“I hate to go above you,
“Because” — The brown eyes lower fell —
“Because, you see I love you.”

Fresno Bee Republican (Fresno, California) Oct 28, 1937

Our Federal Constitution is Good; but…

August 31, 2011

TO LIBERTY PARTY VOTERS.

As Liberty men we love to contemplate the principles which we have embraced, the grounds which constituted the necessity for a distinct political organization, and the reasons why we should remain firm and uncompromising in maintaining the position which we have assumed. In this field of intellectual action we feel at home; strong in the consciousness of pure motives and upright aims; and rejoicingly assured that truth and reason and justice and patriotism and philanthropy are, fully and forever, the patrons and duties of our great enterprise.

But in view of the nearness of an election, (especially and particularly important, of course, as every election was and is and will ever be,) we feel an interest in our cause, in some respects, beyond what we are wont to feel. We know that every election is, more or less, a crisis in the political history and course of a numerous class of voters. A time when their political character and principles are severely tried by every thing in the shape of argument and motive which political opponents and selfish partisan demagogues can employ to influence them.

As freemen, feeling a solemn responsibility for a wise and upright and conscientious use of the elective franchise, and being virtually sworn to such a course, it would sadly belie our principles and our professions if we were to suffer any individual preference, or former party attachment, or any little interest of a local or temporary nature, in any instance, to determine our course at the ballot box.

Ours is the party which recognises, and avows, and strives to maintain in political action, the good old principles of the fathers if this Republic, vis: to act and to vote in reference to those interests which are of a far-reaching and an enduring character; to act and to vote with a view to the good of the whole community; the good of the distant future; the good of posterity; the good of the great human family; and not in reference to the little interests of a narrow locality or an evanescent occasion.

Ours are not principles recently avowed for the first time, nor of a mushroom growth, nor of a character which betokens for them a sickly and short-lived existence. They are principles as old as the nature of man. They are principles constitutionally inherent in human nature; and can never cease to be so, unless the social and moral nature of man is brought to undergo a radical change. They are the grand centre principles of our Declaration of Independence. They are the foundation principles of the American Constitution. Principles, s????y identical with the universal equality, and the inherent nature of the rights of all human beings.

Image from Undoctrination.org

Our Declaration of Independence is good; but for a long course of years, and in a rapidly increasing degree, we have seen its principles disregarded, and virtually annulled, by those at the helm of our political affairs. Our Federal Constitution is good; but long, and shamefully, and sacrilegiously have we seen it perverted, and rendered subservient to purposes which its whole spirit and character do most obviously and heartily abhor. Our representative form of government is good; but, by the provision for slave representation, it has been made permanently, and in an ever increasing degree, an engine for bringing the rights and interests of the many into subjection to the will of the few.  Our Federal Union is good; but, by the constant ascendency and domination of the slave power, the free states have long been becoming, more and more, the abettors and coadjutors in the work of fostering and extending the institution of slavery.

Let us now glance at the past course and present condition of the two great political parties; and notice their bearings and tendency in reference to the prospective or probable success of our favorite enterprise and principles.

We invite your attention, then, to the present position of the (so called) Democratic party. Its history is familiar to those who have been candid enough to read it impartially. All know that it has grown old in a course of subserviency to the slave power. The dictum of that power has been the law of that party; and the extension of that power the great end to which the action of that party has been directed. It was with that party in the ascendency that Louisiana was purchased, with northern money, for the purpose of doubling the slave territory of the Union. It was under the auspices of that party that the infamous Missouri compromise, in favor of slavery, was effected. It was under Democratic rule that the plighted faith of our nation, in more than forty Indian treaties, was wantonly violated for the gratification of slaveholders. The grand national negro hunt in Florida, with the Cuban bloodhounds for our allies, and the crusade against Mexico, will remain through all coming time, way-marks in the history of the past course of that party….

American Freeman (Prairieville, Wisconsin) Sep 18, 1844


DEMOCRACY.

BY JOHN G. WHITTIER.

“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you do ye even so to them.”
[Mat. vil. 12.

Oh! fairest born of  Love, and Light,
Yet bending brow and eye severe
On all which pains the holy sight,
Or wounds the generous ear:

Beautiful yet thy temples rise,
Though there profaning gifts are thrown;
And fires unkindled of the skies
Are glaring on thy altar-stone.

Still sacred — tho’ thy name be breathed
By those whose hearts thy truth deride,
And garlands, pluck’d from thee, are wreathed
Around the haughty brows of Pride.

Oh! ideal of my boyhood’s time!
The faith in which my father stood,
Even when the sons of Lust and Crime
Had stained thy peaceful courts with blood!

Still to those courts my foot-steps turn,
For through the mists which darken there
I see the flame or Freedom burn —
The Kebla of the patriot’s prayer!

The generous feeling, pure and warm,
Which owns the rights of ALL divine —
The pitying heart — the helping arm —
The prompt, self-sacrifice — are thine.

Beneath thy broad, impartial eye,
How fade the lines of caste and birth!
How equal in their suffering lie
The groaning multitudes of earth.

Still to a stricken brother true,
Whatever clime hath nurtured him;
As stooped to heal the wounded Jew
The worshipper on Gerizim.

By misery unrepelled, unawed
By pomp, or power, thou seest a MAN
In prince or peasant — slave or lord —
Pale priest, or swarthy artisan.

Through all disguise, form, place, or name,
Beneath the flaunting robes of sin,
Through poverty and squalid shame,
Thou lookest on the man within;

On man as man, retaining yet,
Howe’er debased, and soiled, and dim,
The crown upon his forehead set —
The immortal gift of God to him.

And there is reverence in thy look;
For that frail form which mortals wear
The Spirit of the Holiest took,
And veiled His perfect brightness there.

Not from the cold and shallow fount
Of vain philosophy thou art;
He who of old on Syria’s mount
Thrilled, warmed by turns the listener’s heart.

In holy words which cannot die,
In thoughts which angels leaned to know,
Proclaimed thy message from on high —
Thy mission to a world of wo.

That voice’s echo hath not died!
From the blue lake of Gallilee,
And Tabor’s lonely mountain side,
It calls a struggling world to thee.

Thy name and watchward o’er this land
I hear in every breeze that stirs,
And round a thousand altars stand
Thy banded party worshippers.

Not to these altars of a day,
At party’s call, my gift I bring;
But on thy olden shrine I lay
A freeman’s dearest offering!

The voiceless utterance of his will —
His pledge to Freedom and to Truth,
That Manhood’s heart remembers still
The homage of his generous youth.

American Freeman (Prairieville, Wisconsin) Sep 18, 1844

Going Ahead on the Yankee Trail

April 7, 2009

Going Ahead.
BY JOHN G. WHITTIER.

I hear the far off voyager’s horn,
I see the Yankee’s trail —
His foot on every mountain pass,
On every stream his sail.

He’s whistling round St. Mary’s Falls,
Upon his loaded train;
He’s leaving on the Pictured Rocks
His fresh tobacco stains.

I hear the mattocks in the mines,
The axe-stroke in the dell,
The clamor from the Indian lodge,
The Jesuit’s chapel bell!

I see the swarthy trappers come
From Mississippi’s springs;
And war-chiefs with their painted bows,
And crests of eagle wings.

Behind the squaw’s birchen canoe,
The steamer smokes and raves;
And city lots are staked for sale
Above old Indian graves.

By forest-lake and water-fall,
I see the peddler’s show;
The mighty mingling with the mean,
The lofty with the low.

I hear the tread of pioneers
Of nation’s yet to be;
The first low wash of waves where soon
Shall roll a human sea.

The rudiments of empire here,
Are plastic yet and warm;
The chaos of a mighty world
Is rounding into form!

Each rude and jostling fragment soon
Its fitting place shall find —
The raw material of a state,
Its muscles and its mind!

A westering still the star which leads
The new world in its train,
Has tipped with fire the icy spears
Of many a mountain chain.

The snowy cones of Oregon
Are kindled on its way,
And California’s golden sands
Gleam brighter in its ray!

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Feb 3, 1855