Born: November 12, 1808, Little Compton, Rhode Island.
Died: March 29, 1887, Newark, New Jersey.
Buried: Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, New York.
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.
’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)