Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving in Boston

Early on the settlers expressed their thanksgiving for the evidence of God’s good providence in their lives.  Despite all the hardships they faced, they recognized the peculiar opportunity they had been afforded.  Thus, they outwardly affirmed their fealty to God and His ways.  

This verse by the renowned historical epic poet, Hezekiah Butterworth, captures that predisposition toward gratitude in early Boston.

"Praise ye the Lord!"  The Psalm today
            Still rises on our ears,
Borne from the hills of Boston Bay
            Through five times fifty years,
When Wintrop's fleet from Yarmouth crept
            Out to the open main,
And through the widening waters swept,
            In April sun and rain.

"Pray to the Lord with fervent lips,"
            The leader shouted, "pray";
And prayer arose from all the ships
            As faded Yarmouth Bay.

They passed the Scilly Isles that day,
            And May-days came, and June,
And trice upon the ocean lay
            The full orb of the moon.
And as that day, on Yarmouth Bay,
            Ere England sunk from view,
While yet the rippling Solent lay
            In April skies of blue.

"Pray to the Lord with fervent lips,"
            Each morn was shouted, "pray";
And prayer arose from all the ships,
            As first in Yarmouth Bay;

Blew warm the breeze o'er Western seas,
            Through Maytime morns, and June,
Till hailed these souls the Isles of Shoals,
            Low 'neath the summer moon;
And as Cape Ann arose to view,
            And Norman's Woe they passed,
The wood-doves came the white mists through,
            And circled round each mast.

"Pray to the Lord with fervent lips,"
            Then called the leader, "pray";
And prayer arose from all the ships,
            As first in Yarmouth Bay.

Above the sea the hill-tops fair;
            God's towers--began to rise,
And odors rare breathe through the air,
            Like balms of Paradise.
Through burning skies the ospreys flew,
            And near the pine-cooled shores
Danced airy boat and thin canoe,
            To flash of sunlit oars.

"Pray to the Lord with fervent lips,"
            The leader shouted, "pray!"
Then prayer arose, and all the ships
            Sailed in Boston Bay.

The whit wings folded, anchors down,
            The sea-worn fleet in line,
Fair rose the hills where Boston town
            Should rise from clouds of pine:
Fair was the harbor, summit-walled,
            And placid lay the sea.
"Praise ye the Lord," the leader called;
            Praise ye the Lord," spake he.

"Give thanks to God with fervent lips,
            Give thanks to God today,"
The anthem rose from all the ships,
            Safe moored in Boston Bay.

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