I recently came across this poem by John Quincy Adams on the Mayflower Pilgrims. It doesn’t seem readily available on line, but it’s certainly a striking thing to have a poem written about the Pilgrims by a future President. This was not just a poem, but a hymn, and it was sung at the Forefathers’ Day Celebration in 1803. The tune is Ferry, not a popular one today, but a recording is available online.
Hymn for the 22d of December
When o’er the billows heaving deep,
The fathers of our race,
The precepts of their God to keep,
Sought here their resting-place,
That gracious God their path prepared,
Preserved from every harm,
And still for their protection bared
His everlasting arm.
His breath, inspiring every gale,
Impels them o’er the main,
His guardian angel spreads the sail,
And tempests howl in vain.
For them old ocean’s rocks are smoothed;
December’s face grows mild;
To vernal airs her blasts are soothed,
And all their rage beguiled.
When Famine rolls her haggard eyes
His ever-bounteous hand
Abundance from the sea supplies,
And treasure from the sand.
Nor yet his tender mercies cease;
His over-ruling plan
Inclines to gentleness and peace
The heart of savage man.
And can our stony bosoms be
To all these wonders blind?
Nor swell with thankfulness to thee,
O Parent of mankind?
All-gracious God! inflame our zeal;
Dispense one blessing more
Grant us thy boundless love to feel,
Thy goodness to adore.