This poem is a must-read every Thanksgiving. It reveals the Providence of God in the lives of the Pilgrims and the preparation for America’s birth.
THE WORD of God to Leyden came,
Dutch town by Zuyder-Zee;
Rise up, my children of no name,
My kings and priests to be.
There is an empire in the West,
Which I will soon unfold;
A thousand harvests in her breast,
Rocks ribbed with iron and gold.
Rise up, my children, time is ripe!
Old things are passed away.
Bishops and kings from earth I wipe:
Too long they’ve had their day.
A little ship have I prepared
To bear you o’er the seas;
And in your souls, my will declared,
Shall grow by slow degrees.
Beneath my throne the martyrs cry:
I hear their voice, How long?
It mingles with their praises high,
And with their victor song.
The thing they longed and waited for,
But died without the sight;
So, this shall be! I wrong abhor,
The world I ’ll now set right.
Leave, then, the hammer and the loom,
You’ve other work to do;
For Freedom’s commonwealth there ’s room,
And you shall build it too.
I ’m tired of bishops and their pride,
I ’m tired of kings as well;
Henceforth I take the people’s side,
And with the people dwell.
Tear off the mitre from the priest,
And from the king, his crown;
Let all my captives be released;
Lift up, whom men cast down.
Their pastors let the people choose,
And choose their rulers too;
Whom they select, I ’ll not refuse,
But bless the work they do.
The Pilgrims rose, at this God’s word,
And sailed the wintry seas:
With their own flesh nor blood conferred,
Nor thought of wealth or ease.
They left the towers of Leyden town,
They left the Zuyder-Zee;
And where they cast their anchor down,
Rose Freedom’s realm to be.
By Jeremiah Eames Rankin