From The Monument

By Will Carleton.

Look North! A white-clad city fills

This valley to its sloping hills;

Here gleams the modest house of white,

The statesman's longed-for, dizzy height.

Beyond, a pledge of love to one

Who in two lands was Freedom's son --

The holder of an endless debt --

Our nation's brother, Lafayette.

But you long lines of costly homes

And bristling spires and swelling domes,

And far away the spreading farms

Where thrift displays substantial charms,

And hamlets creeping out of sight,

And cities full of wealth and might,

All own the fatherhood of him

Whose glory Time can never dim.

All who can reckon Freedom's worth

Would write across this whole broad earth,

With pen dipped in the golden sun,

The magic name of Washington!

If we can keep the rules he gave

This land he more than fought to save,

Our future fame will glisten forth

Grand as the winter-lighted North!

Look South! -- where, in its coat of gray,

The broad Potomac creeps away,

And seeks the blue of distant skies;

But pauses where the great chief lies

Within his humble, hallowed tomb,

Amid Mount Vernon's deathless bloom.

As glides this stream, great corse, past thee,

First to the bay, and then the sea,

So flowed thy life to rural rest

Ere thou wast Heaven's eternal guest.

O strong, high man! whose patriot heart

Climbed from all common greed apart;

To whom men's selfish ways were small,

As from this tower, serenely tall

(Built that all years thy fame may know),

Men look while creeping there below!

How weak was power to thy clear gaze,

Builder of nations joined in one,

Kindler of splendors still to blaze,

Finder of glories just begun!

Live on, great sleeper! as this stone,

Highest from earth that man has known,

So shall be ranked thy solid worth,

Highest of heroes on the earth!

Happy, secure, and cherished name,

Love is the pillar of thy fame;

Thy praise comes from each patriot's mouth,

Warm as the sunbeams of the South!

Look East! The Nation's castle walls

Spread out in massive beauty now;

Their lofty dome and pictured halls

In homage to this summit bow.

Oh, well that from these palaced lands

The marble spire obeisance win;

But for the one for whom it stands

This chieftain-town had never been!

You plot, so full of brain and will,

Had [unclear: stad] a bleak and lonely hill!

If at five thousand dizzy feet

This shaft the whirling clouds might meet,

Till we could gaze for miles, might be,

To the uncrowned but royal sea,

'Twere not too much of honor then

To grant our crownless king of men.

You who the Nation's laws indite,

Look to this summit's honest white,

Where, throned on walls that must endure,

Pure fame entreats you to be pure;

Until our glory be increased

Like sunbeams from the dazzling East!

Look West! There lie the hilly fields

Where brothers fought through days of dread,

Where mothers brooded o'er their dead,

Where soil the thrift of carnage yields;

Where cannon roared and bullets sung,

Till every hillock had a tongue.

O Nation being and to be,

That silent blood speaks loud to thee!

God grant, if e'er our guns again

Must tear the quivering flesh of men,

The leaden hail-storm may be pressed

Against some foul invader's breast --

Against some alien tribe and zone --

And not, as then, to kill our own!

May all the fruitful strifes of peace

The thrilling bonds of love increase;

May yonder orb, in his quick change

From mountain range to mountain range,

From valley to rich valley o'er,

From river shore to river shore,

From wave to wave -- may yonder sun

One Nation count, and only one;

Until he dips his fiery crest

Into the ocean of the West!

Look up! The phantom clouds of gray --

Grim ghosts of storm -- have passed away;

The veiling of the sky is done,

And downward shines the welcome sun.

He kindles grand and peaceful fires

Upon the city's domes and spires;

He sends his strong magnetic glow

Through yonder moving throngs below.

Thou art, O sky, serene and clear,

A symbol of our country here!

What land in all this world of pain,

This earth, where millions toil in vain,

Where famine, pestilence, and strife

Play careless games with human life,

Where Superstition clouds the soul,

And heartless brains sad hearts control --

What country, framed in frost or flowers,

Can see so clear a sky as ours?

Peace throws her mantle, broad and free,

O'er all who peaceable will be;

Plenty her sheltering flag doth wave

O'er those who will but toil and save;

Enlightenment each day shall rise

For all who do not cloud their eyes;

While Liberty from every race

Has made this land a refuge-place.

Let our deep thanks forever fly

Far as the reaches of the sky!

October 24, 2021

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