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Knocking, knocking, ever knocking!
What! still there?
With the glory-crowned hair;
Him so fair!
Ah, that door! why wilt thou vex me—
Coming ever to perplex me?
For the key is stiffly rusty;
And the bolt is clogged and dusty;
Many fingered ivy vme
Seals it fast with twist and twine'
Weeds of years and years before,
Choke the passage of that door.
Knocking, knocking! What! still knocking?
He still there?
And a chilly, sad interest.
Give me rest—
Rest, dear soul, He longs to give thee;
Did she open? Doth she—will she?
AN ODE TO INDEPENDENCE HALL.
No sculptured marble greets the pilgrim's view;
No gothic dome the ambient zephyrs fan;
Shrine of enfranchised man!
Thou Mecca of a freedom-loving land!
Voice to all nations struggling to be free!
And tyrants bend to thee.
Ye who have wandered o'er historic climes,
And drank the music of St. Peter's chimes,
Ye who have stood on Britain's royal isle,
Which echoed through St. Paul's aspiring pile,
Ye who have trod the imperial streets of Gaul—
And paused to catch the vespers as they fall
Forget not this memorial of our love—
Hallowed beyond all storied piles of yore,
Thy ancient bell, from out its brazen throat,
And through the listening ages it shall float,
CENTENNIAL ORATION.—Henry Armitt Brown.
Peroration from the oration delivered upon the occasion of the Centennial Annir-ntary of the meeting of the first Colonial Congrcs s in Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia.
The conditions of life are always changing, and the experience of the fathers is rarely the experience of the sons. The temptations which are trying us are not the temptations which beset their footsteps, nor the dangers which threaten our pathway the dangers which surrounded them. These men were few in number; we are many. They were poor, but we are rich. They were weak, but we are strong. What is it, countrymen, that we need to-day? Wealth? Behold it in your hands. Power? God hath given it you. Liberty? It is your birthright. Peace? It dwells amongst you. You have a Government founded in the hearts of men, built by the people for the common good. You have a land ilowing with milk and honey; your'homes are happy, your workshops busy, your barns are full. The school, the railvay, the telegraph, the printing press, have welded you together into one. Descend those mines that honeycomb the hills! Behold that commerce whitening every sea! Stand by yon gates and see that multitude pour through them from the corners of the earth, grafting the qualities of older stocks upon one stem; mingling the blood of many races in a common stream, and swelling the rich volume of our English speech with varied music from an hundred tongues. You have a long and glorious history, a past glittering with heroic deeds, an ancestry full of lofty and unperishable examples. You have passed through danger, endured privation, been acquainted with sorrow, been tried by suffering. You have journeyed in safety through the wilderness and crossed in triumph the Red Sea of civil strife, and the foot of Him who led you hath not filtered nor the light of His countenance been turned away.
It is a question for us now, not of the founding of a new government, but of the preservat ion of one already old; not of the formation of an independent power, but of the purification of a nation's life; not of the conquest of a foreign foe, but of the subjection of ourselves. The capacity of man to rule himself is to bo proven in the days to come, not by the greatness of his wealth; not by his valor in the field; not by the extent of his dominion, nor by the splendor of his genius. The dangers of to-day come from within. The worship of self, the love of power, the lust for gold, the weakening/,f faith, the decay of public virtue, the lack of private worth—these are the perils which threaten our future; these are the enemies we have to fear; these are the traitors which infest the camp; and the danger was far less when Cataline knocked with his army at the gates of Rome, than when he sat smiling in the Senate House. We see them daily face to face; in the walk of virtue; in the road to wealth; in the path to honor; on the way to happiness. There is no peace between them and our safety. Nor can we avoid them and turn back. It is not enough to rest upon the past. No man or nation can stand still. We must mount upward or go down. We must grow worse or better. It is the Eternal law—we cannot change it.
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The century that is opening is all our own. The years that lie before us are a virgin page. We can inscribe them as we will. The future of our country rests upon us; the happiness of posterity depends upon us. The fate of humanity may be in our hands. That pleading voice, choked with the sobs of ages, which has so often spoken to deaf ears, is lifted up to us. It asks us to be brave, benevolent, consistent, true to the teachings of our history, proving " divine descent by worth divine." It asks us to be virtuous— building up public virtue by private worth; seeking that righteousness which exalteth nations. It asks us to be patriotic—loving our country before all other things; her happiness our happiness, her honor ours, her fame our own. It asks us, in the name of justice, in the name of charity, in the name of freedom, in the name of God.
My countrymen, this anniversary has gone by forever, and my task is done. While I have spoken, the hour has passed from us: the hand has moved upon the dial, and the old century is dead. The American Union hath endured an hundred years! Here, on this threshold of the future, the voice of humanity shall not plead to us in vain. There shall be darkness in the days to come; danger for our courage; temptation for our virtue; doubt for our faith; suffering for our fortitude. A thousand shall fall before us, and tens of thousands at our right hand. The years shall pass beneath our feet, and century follow century in quick succession. The generations of men shall come ^nd go; the greatness of yesterday shall be forgotten; to-day and the glories of this noon shall vanish before to-morrow's sun; but America shall not perish, but endure while the spirit of our fathers animates their sons.