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Anti-Slavery Poems
The Kansas Emigrants

by John Greenleaf Whittier

This poem and the three following were called out by the popular
movement of Free State men to occupy the territory of Kansas, and by the
use of the great democratic weapon--an over-powering majority--to settle
the conflict on that ground between Freedom and Slavery. The opponents
of the movement used another kind of weapon.

We cross the prairie as of old
The pilgrims crossed the sea,
To make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free!

We go to rear a wall of men
On Freedom's southern line,
And plant beside the cotton-tree
The rugged Northern pine!

We're flowing from our native hills
As our free rivers flow;
The blessing of our Mother-land
Is on us as we go.

We go to plant her common schools,
On distant prairie swells,
And give the Sabbaths of the wild
The music of her bells.

Upbearing, like the Ark of old,
The Bible in our van,
We go to test the truth of God
Against the fraud of man.

No pause, nor rest, save where the streams
That feed the Kansas run,
Save where our Pilgrim gonfalon
Shall flout the setting sun.

We'll tread the prairie as of old
Our fathers sailed the sea,
And make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free!

1854.
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