A Recitation

Benjamin Harrison, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right

Benjamin Harrison


LET FAME PUT HER TRUMP.

Let fame put her trump to the lip of the morn
And rouse up the slumbering day;
On the wings of the wind be the blast onward borne
Till it dies in the ether away.
But on the broad hills let it lay
And echo the green valley o’er,
That a chieftain exists who, if given full sway,
Shall this country’s lost lustre restore.

From the north to the south, from the east to the west,
From the center all round to the sea,
On the pinions of time that are never at rest,
It is borne to the tyrants that be.
Then tremble, ye Bourbons, and flee
For the moments of reckoning come,
More appalling than tempests that scourge the dark sea,
Or the war-notes of tempest and drum.

From the long dreary night of misrule and dismay
A whole people awake to the light,
While the dark clouds of error are breaking away,
And the morning of truth dawning bright;
Again in her splendor and might,
Fair Freedom unveils to the view,
And points to the chief whose integrity’s flight
Shall the stars of her glory renew.

Betrayed by false statements, the sons of the soil
Long in error and darkness did grope,
While the vampires bore off the reward of their toil,
And withered each promise of hope;
But a chieftain there is who shall cope
With the spoilers with Hercules’ arm,
While the phalanx of freemen, unscathed and unbroke,
The abuses of power shall disarm.

He was tried in the battle and ne’er known to yield,
Lang syne in the days of our pride;
A sage in the Senate, a chief in the field,
On whom sages and warriors relied ;
They will rally again at his side
As they did when the hot bullets flew,
And he’ll lead them to conquest and glory beside,
This grandson of Tippecanoe.

At the sound of the blast cheering onward amain,
Prosperity lifts her pale head
And looks, as her eye brightens up once again,
Like a vestal escaped from the dead;
Toward our chieftain her arms are outspread,
Who her beauty and strength shall restore,
And robe her anew in the white, blue and red
That so gracefully veiled her before.

Then pour a libation, and bear it on high
And let Fame give the word of command,
While the eagle of victory stoops from the sky
And hovers above the green land.
Round the altar of Freedom we stand
With the swords of our country in view,
And accoutred for battle, pledge heart and pledge hand
To the grandson of Tippecanoe.


Notes:

No tune is given.

The “trump” here is a trumpet.

The “ether” was supposed to be an invisible fluid that filled outer space.

“Shall this country’s lost lustre restore…” Yep! He’s promising to make American great again.

The pinions of time … that is to say, time’s wings.

The Bourbons were the Bourbon Democrats, named not for the beverage, but for the French House of Bourbon; the conservative wing of the Democratic party that favored Cleveland.  The Bourbons wanted low taxes, a weak central government, few regulations, states’ rights, and a return to the status quo pre-Reconstruction.

The “vampires” are the large Southern land-owners.

“A sage in the Senate…” Benjamin Harrison was a Senator from Indiana from 1881 to 1887.

“On whom sages and warriors relied…” As a senator, Harrison supported Federal aid for education (especially to the children of freedmen), and pensions for soldiers and their widows.

“A chief in the field…” During the Civil War Harrison raised a regiment, served as its colonel, and was eventually brevetted to general.

“This grandson of Tippecanoe….” Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of “Old Tippecanoe,” William Henry Harrison.

“The white, blue and red…” The colors of the American flag.


Tomorrow: The Flag Will Lead

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One Response to A Recitation

  1. Pingback: Index of Titles and First Lines: 1888 Harrison Song Book | Madhouse Manor

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