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George Washington's Birthday

( Originally Published 1916 )



BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

Welcome to the day returning,
Dearer still as ages flow,
While the torch of Faith is burning,
Long as Freedom's altars glow !
See the hero whom it gave us
Slumbering on a mother's breast;
For the arm he stretched to save us
Be its morn forever blest!

Vain is empire's mad temptation !
Not for him an earthly crown !
He whose sword has freed a nation
Strikes the offered scepter down.
See the throneless conqueror seated,
Ruler by a people's choice ;
See the patriot's task completed ;
Hear the Father's dying voice :

" By the name that you inherit,
By the sufferings you recall,
Cherish the fraternal spirit ;
Love your country first of all!
Listen not to idle questions
If its bands may be untied;
Doubt the patriot whose suggestions
Strive a nation to divide."

Father ! we, whose ears have tingled
With the discord notes of shame;
We, whose sires their blood have mingled
In the battle's thunder-flame,
Gathering, while this holy morning
Lights the land from sea to sea,
Hear thy counsel, heed thy warning;
Trust us while we honor thee.



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