1808–1887

Introduction

portrait

Born: No­vem­ber 12, 1808, Lit­tle Comp­ton, Rhode Is­land.

Died: March 29, 1887, New­ark, New Jer­sey.

Buried: Al­ba­ny Rur­al Ce­me­te­ry, Me­nands, New York.

portrait

Biography

Palmer at­tend­ed Phil­lips An­do­ver Aca­de­my (where he and Ol­iv­er Wen­dell Holmes were class­mates) and Yale Un­i­ver­si­ty.

Af­ter Yale, he taught at a young la­dies’ school in New York, then at a girls’ col­lege in New Ha­ven, Con­nec­ti­cut.

In 1835, Pal­mer was or­dained a Con­gre­ga­tion­al min­is­ter, and had past­or­ates in Bath, Maine, and Al­ba­ny, New York, ser­ving 15 years at each lo­ca­tion.

Around 1865, Pal­mer be­came Sec­re­ta­ry of the Con­gre­ga­tion­al Uni­on. He re­tired in 1878.

Publications

Poem

President Lincoln’s Proclamation

’Tis done! tis done! the word is spokenl
Oppression’s final hour is nigh;
The spell dissolves; the charm is broken;
Freedom’s glad shout shall rend the sky!

On the great dial-plate of ages,
The light, advanced, no more recedes;
On and yet on, the historic pages
Reveal God’s march to him that reads!

His word of ancient promise keeping,
That wrong at last shall yield to right,
He comes—no more His justice sleeping—
For judgment comes, and clothed with might!

His ear hath heard the bondman’s groaning;
His hand, of wrongs the score hath kept;
His eye hath marked when mothers moaning
Like Rachel, for their children wept.

As through the Land of Nile resounding,
His voice rang out—Let Israel go!
So rings it now, clear, loud, confounding,
To ears that well the mandate know.

Like some swift, cleaving blow, ’tis falling
On proud rebellion’s vaunting crest;
The loyal and the brave ’tis calling
To stand for freedom, breast to breast.

O ye who long in hopeless sorrow
Have toiled, and wept, and seen no dawn,
There breaks, at length, a glad to-morrow;
Wake! wake! and hail the joyous morn.

’Tis freedom’s day! Its splendour glancing
From hill to vale shall flood the land;
Tis freedom’s sun to noon advancing:
Chains burst—they drop from every hand!

O, not in vain that blood is flowing
That stains yon fields of gory strife;
With loftier hopes and wishes glowing,
Millions are born to nobler life.

With freedom’s flame glad hearts are burning;
They throb with joy before unknown;
To visions bright glad eyes are turning,
Gleams of a future all their own.

God haste it! Holy souls are praying,
Come freedom’s hour with swiftest speed!
God haste it! long, ah! long delaying,
Now, now our hosts to victory lead!

Ray Palmer (1808–1887)
Poetical Works

Sources

Lyrics

Translations