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One fair ideal led our chieftain on.
Forevermore he burned to do his deed
With the fine stroke and gesture of a king.
He built the rail-pile as he built the State,
Pouring his splendid strength through every blow,
The conscience of him testing every stroke,
To make his deed the measure of a man.


So came the Captain with the mighty heart:
And when the step of Earthquake shook the house,
Wrenching the rafters from their ancient hold,
He held the ridge-pole up, and spiked again
The rafters of the Home. He held his place-
Held the long purpose like a growing tree-
Held on through blame and faltered not at praise.
And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down
As when a kingly cedar green with boughs
Goes down with a great shout upon the hills,
And leaves a lonesome place against the sky.


Biographical: Edwin Markham was born in Oregon, taught school in California, and more recently has been a resident of Brooklyn. His poem “ The Man with the Hoe'' brought him immediate fame.



O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.


O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; 10 Rise up--for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores

a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here, Captain! dear father!

This arm beneath your head ! 15

It is some dream that on the deck

You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, 20 From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores ! and ring, 0 bells !
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

Biographical and Historical: Walt Whitman will always be remem. bered as the author of this poem. It differs from his other poems in that it shows a great deal of attention to form, to metre, and rhyme. He wrote not so much with the aim to please as to arouse and uplift. He was very democratic in his taste, and loved to mingle with the crowds on the ferries and omnibuses. At different times he was school teacher, carpenter, and journalist. This poem was written in appreciation of Lincoln, at the time of his death.




The period for a new election of a Citizen, to administer the Executive Government of the United States, being not far distant,

and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed 5 in designating the person, who is to be clothed with that important

trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being

considered among the number of those, out of whom a choice is 10 to be made.

The unity of government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence,—the support of your tranquillity

at home and your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, 15 of that very liberty which you so highly prize.

But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth;

as this is the point in your political fortress against which the 20 batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly

and actively, though often covertly and insidiously, directed,-it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and

individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, 25 and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourself to think

and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it

can, in any event, be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon 30 the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our

country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

To the efficacy and permanency of your union a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, be35 tween the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably

experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved your essay, by the adoption of the constitution of a government better calculated than your former for an inti

40 mate union, and for the efficacious management of your common


This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature delibera

tion, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its 45 powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself

a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by

the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political 50 systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their con

stitution of government; but the constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the

power and the right of the people to establish government pre55 supposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

All obstructions to the executions of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real

design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation 60 and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this

fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will

of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of 65 the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of dif

ferent parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common

counsels and modified by mutual interests. 70 However combinations or associations of the above description

may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the 75 reins of government; destroying afterward the very engines which had lifted them to unjust dominion.

Toward the preservation of your government and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite not only that

you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowl80 edged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of

innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus

to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. 85 In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that

time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the

existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon 90 the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual

change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember especially that for the efficient management of your common interest in a country so extensive as ours, a government

of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of 95 liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a govern

ment, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to

confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed 100 by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its admin

istration, to confine themselves within their respective constitu105 tional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one

department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and

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