Careless seems the great Avenger; historys pages but recordOne death-grapple in the darkness twixt old systems and the Word;Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own. New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,Nor attempt the Futures portal with the Pasts blood-rusted key.
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Source Notes: Source: JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, The Present Crisis, stanzas 8 and 18, The Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell, p. 68 . Originally published in 1844.
James Russell Lowell (February 22, 1819 - August 12, 1891) was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets who rivaled the popularity of British poets. These poets usually used conventional forms and meters in their poetry, making them suitable for families entertaining at their fireside.