Poems by Thomas Cooper


TRUTH is growing—hearts are glowing
    With the flame of Liberty:
Light is breaking—Thrones are quaking—
    Hark!—the trumpet of the Free!
Long, in lowly whispers breathing.
    Freedom wandered drearily—
Still, in faith, her laurel wreathing
    For the day when there should be
    Freemen shouting—’Victory!’

Now, she seeketh him that speaketh
    Fearlessly of lawless might;
And she speedeth him that leadeth
    Brethren on to win the Right.
Soon, the slave shall cease to sorrow—
    Cease to toil in agony;
Yea, the cry may swell to-morrow
    Over land and over sea—
    ‘Brethren, shout—ye all are free!’

Freedom bringeth joy that singeth
    All day long and never tires:
No more sadness—all is gladness
    In the hearts that she inspires:
For, she breathes a soft compassion
    Where the tyrant kindled rage;
And she saith to every nation—
    ‘Brethren, cease wild war to wage:
    Earth is your blest heritage.’

Though kings render their defender
    Titles, gold, and splendours gay—
Lo, thy glory—warrior gory—
    Like a dream shall fade away!
Gentle Peace her balm of healing
    On the bleeding world shall pour;
Brethren, love for brethren feeling,
    Shall proclaim, from shore to shore—
    ‘Shout—the sword shall slay no more!’


AIR—The Brave Old Oak.
A SONG for the Free—the brave and the free—
    Who feareth no tyrant’s frown:
Who scorneth to bow, in obeisance low,
    To mitre or to crown:
Who owneth no lord with crosier or sword,
    And bendeth to Right alone;
Where’er he may dwell, his worth men shall tell,
    When a thousand years are gone!

For Tyler of old, a heart-chorus bold
    Let Labour’s children sing!
For the smith with the soul that disdain’d base control,
    Nor trembled before a king;
For the heart that was brave, though pierced by a knave
    Ere victory for Right was won—
They’ll tell his fair fame, and cheer his blythe name,
    When a thousand years are gone!

For the high foe of Wrong, great Hampden, a song—
    The fearless and the sage!
Who, at king-craft’s frown, the gauntlet threw down,
    And dared the tyrant’s rage;
Who away the scabbard threw, when the battle blade he
    And with gallant heart led on!
How he bravely fell, our children shall tell,
    When a thousand years are gone!

For the mountain child of Scotia wild—
    For noble Wallace a strain!
O’er the Border ground let the chaunt resound:
    It will not be heard in vain.
For the Scot will awake, and the theme uptake
    Of deeds by the patriot done:—
They’ll hold his name dear, nor refuse it a tear,
    When a thousand years are gone!

An anthem we’ll swell for bold William Tell,
    The peasant of soul so grand!
Who fearlessly broke haughty Gesler’s yoke,
    And set free his fatherland:
His deeds shall be sung, with blythesome tongue,
    By maiden, sire, and son,
Where the eagles climb o’er the Alps sublime;
    When a thousand years are gone.

For our Charter a song!   It tarrieth long—
    But we will not despair;
For, though Death’s dark doom upon us all may come
    Ere we the blessing share,—
Our happy children they shall see the happy day
    When Freedom’s boon is won;
And our Charter shall be the boast of the Free,
    When a thousand years are gone!


AIR —Canadian Boat Song.
THE time shall come when Wrong shall end,
When peasant to peer no more shall bend—
When the lordly Few shall lose their sway,
And the Many no more their frown obey.
        Toil, brothers, toil, till the work is done—
        Till the struggle is o’er, and the Charter’s won!

The time shall come when the artisan
Shall homage no more the titled man—
When the moiling men who delve the mine
By Mammon’s decree no more shall pine.
        Toil, brothers, toil, till the work is done—
        Till the struggle is o’er and the Charter’s won!

The time shall come when the weavers’ band
Shall hunger no more, in their fatherland—
When the factory child can sleep till day,
And smile while it dreams of sport and play.
        Toil, brothers, toil, till the work is done—
        Till the struggle is o’er, and the Charter’s won!

The time shall come when Man shall hold
His brother more dear than sordid gold—
When the Negro’s stain his freeborn mind
Shall sever no more from human-kind.
        Toil, brothers, toil, till the world is free—
        Till justice and Love hold jubilee!

The time shall come when kingly crown
And mitre for toys of the Past are shown—
When the Fierce and False alike shall fall,
And Mercy and Truth encircle all.
        Toil, brothers, toil, till the world is free—
        Till Mercy and Truth hold jubilee!

The time shall come when earth shall be
A garden of joy, from sea to sea—
When the slaughterous sword is drawn no more,
And goodness exults from shore to shore.
        Toil, brothers, toil, till the world is free—
        Till goodness shall hold high jubilee!

I WOULD not be a crownèd king,
    For all his gaudy gear;
I would not be that pampered thing,
    His gew-gaw gold to wear:
But I would be where I can sing
    Right merrily, all the year;
            Where forest treen,
            All gay and green,
    Full blythely do me cheer.

I would not be a gentleman,
    For all his hawks and hounds,—
For fear the hungry poor should ban
    My halls and wide-parked grounds:
But I would be a merry man,
    Among the wild wood sounds,—
            Where free birds sing,
            And echoes ring
    While my axe from the oak rebounds.

I would not be a shaven priest,
    For all his sloth-won tythe:
But while to me this breath is leased,
    And these old limbs are lithe,—
Ere Death hath marked me for his feast,
    And felled me with his scythe,—
            I’ll troll my song,
            The leaves among,
    All in the forest blythe.

O CHOOSE thou the maid with the gentle blue eye,
That speaketh so softly, and looketh so shy;
                    Who weepeth for pity,
                    To hear a love ditty,
    And marketh the end with a sigh.

If thou weddest a maid with a bold, staring look,
Who babbleth as loud as the rain-swollen brook,
                    Each day for the morrow
                    Will nurture more sorrow,—
    Each sun paint thy shadow a-crook.

The maid that is gentle will make a kind wife;
The magpie that prateth will stir thee to strife:
                    ‘Twere better to tarry,
                    Unless thou canst marry
    To sweeten the bitters of life!

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