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Monday, November 23, 2015

The Speech of William Bradford

 Several years ago, I wrote this poem as a tribute to the Pilgrim settlers who came over to this country in search of religious freedom and helped to establish the nation we now call our own. William Bradford became one of the leaders in the Plymouth Colony and is often recognized for his instrumental influence on the spiritual and political growth of the Pilgrim colony in its early years. His book "Of Plymouth Plantation" gives the best known record of the early settlement and their struggle to survive and establish themselves in the new world. This poem is dedicated to him and his faithful service to God and to the Pilgrim colonists. 

The Speech of William Bradford

On the eastern shore that met the sea,
Down by the Massachusetts bay,
Whereon the waves lapped cold and deep,
And children love to run and play,
The grey-haired man arose and spoke.

The harsh conditions of the year
Had added to his age;
He no longer held the youth that once
Had blessed his former days;
Yet still, though old, he arose and spoke.

"All ye who hold in memory
The good things given us by God:
A land free from all tyranny,
Established on this very sod,
Forget Him not!" he thus so spoke.

With eloquence of captivating speech,
He exhorted those who sat thereon
The shores of that broad and hallowed beach,
On that bright Thanksgiving dawn;
With eyes turned up to Heaven, he spoke.

And with the words, "To His dear name,"
He uttered a meditative, "Amen."
And thought of that for which he came;
"Amen," he uttered yet again.
So said the grey-haired man who spoke.

On that day in history,
The man of which I speak set forth
A likened, sort of epiphany
Which continues to run its chartered course.
William Bradford - the man who spoke.

It was his hope that on some dawning day
A small group might gather back and recall
The goodness of God in the Pilgrim way,
Lest evil should another generation befall.
It was in this hope that he arose and spoke.

On the eastern shore that met the sea,
Down by the Massachusetts bay,
A small band met by the water deep
And listened on that glorious day
To a grey-haired man who arose and spoke.