Under the Washington Elm, Cambridge

Under the Washington Elm, Cambridge  (1861) 
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

April 27, 1861

    Eighty years have passed, and more,
    Since under the brave old tree
Our fathers gathered in arms, and swore
They would follow the sign their banners bore,
    And fight till the land was free.

    Half of their work was doe,
    Half is left to do,—
Cambridge, and Concord, and Lexington!
When the battle is fought and won,
    What should be told of you?

    Hark! — 'tis the south-wind moans, —
    Who are the martyrs down?
Ah, the marrow was true in your children's bones
That sprinkled with blood the cursed stones
    Of the murder-haunted town!

    What if the storm-clouds blow?
    What if the green leaves fall?
Better the crashing tempest's throe
Than the army of worms that gnawed below;
    Trample them one and all!

    Then, when the battle is won,
    And the land from traitors free,
Our children shall tell of the strife begun
When Liberty's second April sun
    Was bright on our brave old tree!

This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.