Hymn to Liberty

The twenty-fourth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here and here.   Published in 1918, Hymn to Liberty  is a translation by Rudyard Kipling, of the first few stanzas of the poem that is the basis of the Greek National Anthem.  It was written by him at the request of the Greek Ambassador to England D. Kaklamanos.

The original poem consisted of 158 stanzas written by Dionysios Solomos in 1823 during the Greek War of Independence.

Abandoning its neutrality, Greece had entered World War I on the side of the Allies in 1917.  Conflict between Greeks favoring neutrality, led by King Constantine, and those favoring Allied intervention led by Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos.  Eventually the forces favoring intervention won out, and King Constantine was forced to abdicate in favor of his son King Alexander.  This all turned out to be disastrous after the War as Venizelos, a Cretan by birth, was a strong proponent of the Big (Megale) Idea which proposed Greek control of the regions in Asia Minor along the Mediterranean Sea that had Greek majorities.  After the War the Greeks seized Smyrna in Asia Minor which led to the disastrous, for Greece, Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922.  The Greeks were resoundingly defeated by the Turks under Kemal Ataturk, and 1.5 million Greeks were expelled from lands in Asia Minor that they had occupied since the beginnings of Greek recorded history.  A half million Turks and muslim Greeks were expelled from a Greece that they had lived in for almost half a millenium.  The sentiments of the poem are quite high minded, but it serves as an example that high minded sentiments are never a substitute for wisdom in governmental policy.

WE knew thee of old,

Oh divinely restored,

By the light of thine eyes

And the light of thy Sword.

From the graves of our slain

Shall thy valour prevail

As we greet thee again—

Hail, Liberty! Hail!

Long time didst thou dwell

Mid the peoples that mourn,

Awaiting some voice

That should bid thee return.

Ah, slow broke that day

And no man dared call,

For the shadow of tyranny

Lay over all:

And we saw thee sad-eyed,

The tears on thy cheeks

While thy raiment was dyed

In the blood of the Greeks.

Yet, behold now thy sons

With impetuous breath

Go forth to the fight

Seeking Freedom or Death.

From the graves of our slain

Shall thy valour prevail

As we greet thee again

Hail, Liberty! Hail! (more…)

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Published in: on May 31, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (7)  
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Jefferson’s Danbury Letter and the Separation of Church and State

A fine video by Professor John Eastman for Praeger University demonstrating how Church State relations today in the United States bears almost no relationship to that envisioned by the Founding Fathers.  The vehicle of this misaprehension has been Thomas Jefferson’ s letter to  a congregation of Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut.  Here is the text of that letter:

To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins,  & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association  in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which  you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist  association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful  and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion  as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them  becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies  solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for  his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach  actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence  that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature  should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting  the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between  Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the  nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction  the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural  rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection &  blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves  & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson           Jan. 1. 1802. (more…)

Published in: on May 30, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (26)  
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Quotes Suitable For Framing: Samuel Adams

Sam Adams

The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have receiv’d them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchas’d them for us with toil and danger and expence of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeath’d to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. — Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.

The second appearance of that most fiery of the Founding Fathers in this series, Sam Adams.  His words written in 1771 could just have easily come from a blog today.

Published in: on May 29, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (4)  
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For Fans of 60’s Music

 

I often tell people that I am a fan of music of the 60’s, the 1860’s!  People who have a similar appreciation of the music of the Civil War, need to know about the internet radio station, War Between the States Radio.  Go here to access it.  Although WBTS Radio has been broadcasting since November 1, 2011, I only recently discovered it.  It makes excellent background music when reading about, or writing about, The Late Unpleasantness.  Convince your family and friends that yes, indeed, you are indeed a beyong the bend Civil War enthusiast!

Published in: on May 28, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Lawrence Charles McClarey: A Remembrance

LarryMcClarey2012

The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away.   Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Job 1:21

To those who did not know Larry well, it might be assumed that he was dealt a pretty poor set of cards in this life.  Autistic, afflicted with seizures in his later years, and a brief life of 21 and three-quarter years.  However, to those of us who had the great privilege of knowing Larry well, he was blessed with many gifts, just as his life was a blessing to us.

1.  At his birth he was blessed with a twin brother, Donnie, who all Larry’s life would be his constant companion:  playing with him, and caring for him and guarding him from harm.

2.  He was blessed with two parents who loved him more than mere words can possibly convey.

3.  He was blessed with a beloved baby sister, a loving grandmother and grandfather and a cherished godmother, all of whom helped guide his steps.

4.  He was blessed with a wry sense of humor.  I will never forget the lopsided smile on his face as a toddler as he pretended to touch the computer printer paper roll because he knew that would always get a rise out of Mom and Dad.  His default expression was a smile.

5.  He was blessed with a joyful zest for life, from swinging on swings much higher than they were intended to go, to grooving to music he liked, swaying back and forth and rocking his head, to closing his eyes as he savored the big hamburgers he loved.  Life never grew stale or prosaic for Larry.

6.  He was blessed with a bold spirit.  At a year and a half he decided in May of 1993 that it would be a very good idea to walk to Renfrew Park without bothering to get permission from Mom or Dad!  In his later years he was fond of midnight strolls, once again without telling Mom or Dad!  One of my most cherished memories of Larry is him running ahead of the family like a gazelle, to Mass or to some other favorite destination. Life with Larry was an endless adventure, whether we wanted it to be or not! (more…)

Published in: on May 27, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (5)  
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Memorial Day: Why?

Not long ago I heard a young man ask why people still kept up Memorial Day, and it set me thinking of the answer. Not the answer that you and I should give to each other-not the expression of those feelings that, so long as you live, will make this day sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth–but an answer which should command the assent of those who do not share our memories, and in which we of the North and our brethren of the South could join in perfect accord.

 

So far as this last is concerned, to be sure, there is no trouble. The soldiers who were doing their best to kill one another felt less of personal hostility, I am very certain, than some who were not imperilled by their mutual endeavors. I have heard more than one of those who had been gallant and distinguished officers on the Confederate side say that they had had no such feeling. I know that I and those whom I knew best had not. We believed that it was most desirable that the North should win; we believed in the principle that the Union is indissoluable; we, or many of us at least, also believed that the conflict was inevitable, and that slavery had lasted long enough. But we equally believed that those who stood against us held just as sacred conviction that were the opposite of ours, and we respected them as every men with a heart must respect those who give all for their belief. The experience of battle soon taught its lesson even to those who came into the field more bitterly disposed. You could not stand up day after day in those indecisive contests where overwhelming victory was impossible because neither side would run as they ought when beaten, without getting at least something of the same brotherhood for the enemy that the north pole of a magnet has for the south–each working in an opposite sense to the other, but each unable to get along without the other. As it was then , it is now. The soldiers of the war need no explanations; they can join in commemorating a soldier’s death with feelings not different in kind, whether he fell toward them or by their side. (more…)

Published in: on May 27, 2013 at 5:27 am  Comments Off on Memorial Day: Why?  
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My Humble Thanks

LarryMcClarey2009

 

 

I can’t thank enough all of you who extended your kind wishes and prayers for the repose of the soul of my son Larry after his passing.  Last week was the hardest week of my life and in the lives of my wife and remaining two children.  We would have found it impossible to endure but for the assistance of friends and neighbors, and just plain good people who came forward to rally around my family in our hour of need.  There is much evil in the world, but I think there is more good, something I will attempt in future to keep in mind.

My thoughts of my boy will always remain with me as a treasured possession, and prayers for him and  requests for his intercession are now a permanent part of the prayer life of my wife and me.  Going through this terrible tragedy has only deepened my faith that we are children of a loving God and that in this vale of tears our ultimate  purpose is to love Him and our neighbor to the best of our ability.  My Larry is now with Him, the source of all love, and I am content. (more…)

Published in: on May 27, 2013 at 5:25 am  Comments Off on My Humble Thanks  
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Lawrence Charles McClarey: Requiescat In Pace

Larry McClarey

My beloved son, Lawrence Charles McClarey, passed away of a seizure last night.  I found him this morning at 6:15 AM when I attempted to rouse him for the “Daddy Readings” that he and I had done daily since he was a small boy.  Larry had autism, an infectious smile, and was a continual joy to all who knew him.  Once he attained puberty he began having seizures, not uncommon in autism, and I gave him seizure medication daily.  He lived for 21 years on this earth and he was the light of this world for myself and his mother, my bride.  On this dark day I am comforted by the knowledge that even now he is beholding the Beatific Vision.  He lived in love and now he will stand forever before Love Incarnate.  Please pray for the repose of his soul.  I will resume blogging sometime after Memorial Day.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Published in: on May 19, 2013 at 8:33 am  Comments (10)  
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May 19, 1863: First Assault at Vicksburg

First Assault at Vicksburg

After his successes at Jackson, Champion Hill and Big Black River, Grant assumed that Confederate morale might be low enough that Vicksburg could be taken by assault and avoid a time consuming siege.  In that he was mistaken.  The Confederates lacked the strength to defeat him in open battle. but they had both the strength, and the morale, to hold Vicksburg.  The first assault by Grant occurred on May 19, 1863 and was aimed at the Stockade Redan. (more…)

The New York Volunteer

Something for the weekend.  The New York Volunteer sung by Bobby Horton who has waged a one man campaign to bring Civil War music to modern audiences.  New York supplied more troops to the Union than any other state.  Some 400-460,000 New Yorkers wore Union blue during the War in 27 regiments of Cavalry, 3 regiments of United States Colored Troops, 15 regiments of artillery, 8 engineer regiments and an astounding 248 infantry regiments.  The New York Volunteers took a back seat to men from no other state in the Union in providing manpower to win the War.

Published in: on May 18, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The New York Volunteer  
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