Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Russia
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX.  1876–79.
The Conquest of Finland
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)
ACROSS the frozen marshes
  The winds of autumn blow,
And the fen-lands of the Wetter
  Are white with early snow.
But where the low, gray headlands        5
  Look o’er the Baltic brine,
A bark is sailing in the track
  Of England’s battle-line.
No wares hath she to barter
  For Bothnia’s fish and grain;        10
She saileth not for pleasure,
  She saileth not for gain.
But still by isle or mainland
  She drops her anchor down,
Where’er the British cannon        15
  Rained fire on tower and town.
Outspake the ancient Amtman,
  At the gate of Helsingfors:
“Why comes this ship a-spying
  In the track of England’s wars?”        20
“God bless her,” said the coast-guard,
  “God bless the ship, I say,
The holy angels trim the sails
  That speed her on her way!
“Where’er she drops her anchor,        25
  The peasant’s heart is glad;
Where’er she spreads her parting sail,
  The peasant’s heart is sad.
“Each wasted town and hamlet
  She visits to restore;        30
To roof the shattered cabin,
  And feed the starving poor.
“The sunken boats of fishers,
  The foraged beeves and grain,
The spoil of flake and storehouse,        35
  The good ship brings again.
“And so to Finland’s sorrow
  The sweet amend is made,
As if the healing hand of Christ
  Upon her wounds were laid!”        40
Then said the gray old Amtman:
  “The will of God be done!
The battle lost by England’s hate
  By England’s love is won!
“We braved the iron tempest        45
  That thundered on our shore;
But when did kindness fail to find
  The key to Finland’s door?
“No more from Aland’s ramparts
  Shall warning signal come,        50
Nor startled Sweaborg hear again
  The roll of midnight drum.
“Beside our fierce Black Eagle
  The Dove of Peace shall rest;
And in the mouths of cannon        55
  The sea-bird make her nest.
“For Finland, looking seaward,
  No coming foe shall scan;
And the holy bells of Abo
  Shall ring ‘Good-will to man!’        60
“Then row thy boat, O fisher!
  In peace on lake and bay;
And thou, young maiden, dance again
  Around the poles of May!
“Sit down, old men, together,        65
  Old wives, in quiet spin;
Henceforth the Anglo-Saxon
  Is the brother of the Finn!”

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