I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.@Isaiah 1:25
portrait
John G. Whittier (1807–1892)

John G. Whit­ti­er, 1890.

Ol­iv­ar­i­us Pe­ter C. Lut­kin, 1905 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Peter C. Lutkin (1858–1931)

To this town of hal­lowed mem­o­ries [Con­cord, Mas­sa­chu­setts], just two years be­fore his death, the Qua­ker poet, John G. Whit­ti­er, was in­vit­ed by Dan­i­el Lo­throp, the pub­lish­er, and his wife. The oc­ca­sion was a re­cep­tion to be gi­ven in hon­or of the wife of Gen­er­al John A. Lo­gan, who had dis­ting­uished him­self in the Ci­vil War and lat­er in ci­vic life.

At that time, how­ev­er, Whit­ti­er, who was eigh­ty-three years old and suf­fer­ing from the in­fir­mi­ties of ad­vanced age, could on­ly send this note of re­gret:

I can­not be with you on the 14th, ow­ing to the state of my health; but I send you some lines [this hymn] which I hope may not seem in­ap­pro­pri­ate. I am ve­ry tru­ly thy friend, John G. Whit­ti­er.

Price, p. 32

Our thought of thee is glad with hope,
Dear country of our love and prayer;
Thy way is down no fatal slope,
But up to freer sun and air.

Tried as by furnace fires, and yet
By God’s grace only stronger made;
In future tasks before thee set
Thou shalt not lack the old-time aid.

Great, without seeking to be great
By fraud or conquest; rich in gold
But richer in the large estate
Of virtue which thy children hold.

With peace that comes of purity,
And strength to simple justice due,
So runs our loyal dream of thee.
God of our fathers! make it true.

O land of lands! to thee we give
Our love, our trust, our service free;
For thee thy sons shall nobly live,
And at thy need shall die for thee.