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Poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The Puritans' Christmas

Their only thought religion,
What Christmas joys had they,
The stern, staunch Pilgrim Fathers who
Knew naught of holiday?--

A log-church in the clearing
'Mid solitudes of snow,
The wild-beast and the wilderness,
And lurking Indian foe.

No time had they for pleasure,
Whom God had put to school;
A sermon was their Christmas cheer,
A psalm their only Yule.

They deemed it joy sufficient,--
Nor would Christ take it ill,--
That service to Himself and God
Employed their spirits still.

And so through faith and prayer
Their powers were renewed,
And souls made strong to shape a World,
And tame a solitude.

A type of revolution,
Wrought from an iron plan,
In the largest mold of liberty
God cast the Puritan.

A better land they founded,
That Freedom had for bride,
The shackles of old despotism
Struck from her limbs and side.

With faith within to guide them,
And courage to perform,
A nation, from a wilderness,
They hewed with their strong arm.

For liberty to worship,
And right to do and dare,
They faced the savage and the storm
With voices raised in prayer.

For God it was who summoned,
And God it was who led,
And God would not forsake the love
That must be clothed and fed.

Great need had they of courage!
Great need of faith had they!
And lacking these--how otherwise
For us had been this day!

Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Julius Cawein's other poems:
  1. Rembrandts
  2. Elfin
  3. The Rain
  4. Love's Calendar
  5. In Middle Spring

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