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Oh! loftier halls, 'neath brighter skies than these,
Yet in the porches of Athena's halls,
And in the shadows of her stately walls,
Lurked the sad bondman, and his tears of woe
Wet the cold marble with unheeded flow;
And fetters clanked beneath the silver dome
Of the proud Pantheon of imperious Rome.
Oh! not for him — the chained and stricken slave —
By Tiber's shore, or blue JEgina's wave,
In the thronged forum, or the sages' seat,
The bold lip pleaded, and the warm heart beat;
No soul of sorrow melted at his pain,
No tear of pity rusted on his chain!
But this fair Hall, to Truth and Freedom given,
Beneath its roof no gladiator's strife
Shall win applauses with the waste of life.;
No lordly lictor urge the harbarous game —
No wanton Lais glory in her shame.
But here the tear of sympathy shall flow,
As the ear listens to the tale of woe;
Here, in stern judgment of the oppressor's wrong —
Shall strong rebukings thrill on Freedom's tongue —
No partial justice hold the unequal scale —
No pride of caste a brother's rights assail —
No tyrant's mandates echo from this wall,
Holy to Freedom and the Rights of All!
But a fair field, where mind may close with mind,
Free as the sunshine and the chainless wind;
Where the high trust is fixed on Truth alone,
And bonds and fetters from the soul are thrown;
Where wealth, and rank, and worldly pomp, and might,
Yield to the presence of the True and Right.
And fitting is it that this Hall should stand
Where Pennsylvania's Founder led his band,
From thy blue waters, Delaware !— to press
The virgin verdure of the wilderness.
Here, where all Europe with amazement saw
The soul's high freedom trammeled by no law;
Here, where the fierce and warlike forest-men
Gathered in peace, around the home of Penn,
Awed by the weapons Love alone had given,
Drawn from the holy armory of Heaven;
Where Nature's voice against the bondman's wrong
First found an earnest and indignant tongue;
Where Lay's bold message to the proud was borne,
And Keith's rebuke, and Franklin's manly scorn—
Fitting it is that here, where Freedom first
From her fair feet shook off the Old World's dust,
Spread her white pinions to our Western blast,
And her free tresses to our sunshine cast,
One Hall should rise redeemed from Slavery's ban —
One Temple sacred to the Eights of Man!
Oh ! if the spirits of the parted come,
Visiting angels, to their olden home;
If the dead fathers of the land look forth
From their far dwellings, to the things of earth —
Is it a dream, that with their eyes of love,
They gaze now on us from the howers above?
Lat's ardent soul—and Benezet the mild,
Steadfast in faith, yet gentle as a child —
Meek-hearted Woolman,—and that brother-band,
The sorrowing exiles from their "Father Land,"
Leaving their homes in Krieshiem's bowers of vine,
And the blue beauty of their glorious Rhine,
To seek amidst our solemn depths of wood
Freedom from man and holy peace with God;
Who first of all their testimonial gave
Against the oppressor, — for the outcast slave,—
Is it a dream that such as these look down,
And with their blessing our rejoicings crown?
Let us rejoice, that, while the pulpit's door
Is barred against the pleaders for the poor;
While the church, wrangling upon points of faith,
Forgets her bondmen suffering unto death;
While crafty traffic and the lust of gain
Unite to forge oppression's triple chain,
One door is open, and one Temple free —
As a resting place for hunted Liberty!
Where men may speak, unshackled and unawed,
High words of truth, for Freedom and for God.
And when that truth its perfect work hath done,
And rich with blessings o'er our land hath gone;
When not a slave beneath his yoke shall pine,
From broad Potomac to the far Sabine;
"When unto angel-lips at last is given
The silver trump of Jubilee to Heaven;
And from Virginia's plains — Kentucky's shades,
And through the dim Floridian everglades,
Rises, to meet that angel-trumpet's sound,
The voice of millions from their chains unbound —
Then, though this Hall be crumbling in decay,
Ilere shall the child of after years be taught
THE MORAL WARFARE.
When Freedom, on her natal day,
Within her war-rocked cradle lay,
An iron race around her stood,
Baptized her infant brow in blood
And, through the storm which round her swept,
Their constant ward and watching kept.
Then, where our quiet herds repose,
Our fathers to their graves have gone;
So let it be. In God's own might
We gird us for the coming fight,
And, strong in Him whose cause is ours
In conflict with unholy powers,
We grasp the weapons He has given,—
The Light, and Truth, and Love of Heaven!