MEN of the Western World! in Fate's dark book
Whence these opprobrious leaves of dire portent?
Think ye your British Ancestors forsook
Their native Land, for outrage provident;
From unsubmissive necks the bridle shook
To give, in their Descendants, freer vent
And wider range to passions turbulent,
To mutual tyranny a deadlier look?
Nay, said a voice, soft as the south wind's breath,
Dive through the stormy surface of the flood
To the great current flowing underneath;
Explore the countless springs of silent good;
So shall the truth be better understood,
And thy grieved Spirit brighten strong in faith.
4 'Men of the Western World.'
These lines were written several years ago, when reports
prevailed of cruelties committed in many parts of America, by men
making a law of their own passions. A far more formidable, as
being a more deliberate mischief, has appeared among those States,
which have lately broken faith with the public creditor in a
manner so infamous. I cannot, however, but look at both evils
under a similar relation to inherent good, and hope that the time
is not distant when our brethren of the West will wipe off this
stain from their name and nation.
I am happy to add that this anticipation is already partly
realised; and that the reproach addressed to the Pennsylvanians in
the sonnet elsewhere is no longer applicable to them. I trust
that those other States to which it may yet apply will soon follow
the example now set them by Philadelphia, and redeem their credit
with the world.--1850.