Immigrants remembered

Pictures In Verse Poetry Contest entry 2017

Bill West recently reminded us of his annual Genealogy Poetry Challenge. I decided that this poem honors our nation’s early immigrant’s culture from whence they came and their descendants. It gives a sense of where we came from.

I believe the sentiment expressed in this poem could be applied to immigrants to our nation today. Life is uncertain, filled with the unknown. It’s how we deal with Life that determines who we are.

Today I honor my 8th great-grandfather, John MacBean/Bean.

While researching my John MacBean/Bean lineage, for an Ancestry DNA hint, I came across this poem written by Mrs. Alice Bean Lodge of Gilmanton, New Hampshire (31 Aug 1899); read by Mrs. E. W. Johnson of East Wilton, Maine, for the Fourth Annual Reunion of John Bean (1660) Association at Portland, Maine 31 Aug 1899.

Picture In Verse

Good morrow, friends and kinsmen,

I greet you one and all,

Who’ve seen the fiery Cross go forth

And heard the bugle call.

Ours be a peaceful meeting,

We need no cross or flame,

No plaid or Scottish bonnet

To tell from whence we came.

With pride of ancient ancestry

And love of Highland lore,

Our hearts may be as leal and true

As those who lived of yore.

Warriors were they, and artizans,

Our coat of arms doth show

An arm and hand, with dagger raised

To strike an avenging blow.

The motto of ye olden time

Sounds strange to us to-day,

But in the seventh century,

When Douglas Bayne held sway,

They challenged every man they met,

They made him stand and show

What might his name and station be

And whether friend or foe.

“Touch not the cat without a glove,”

Or you may rue the day

You made him lift the velvet paw,

Or stroked him the wrong way.

Clan Chattan’s foes may well beware,

Her sons are strong and fleet,

And a mountain wildcat might not be

A pleasant thing to meet.

Let us go back to those old days

And see the life they led,

Their home a mountain cavern,

Their dress, the Highland plaid;

Their bed of flinty rock was strewn

With heather and wild fern,

And they drank the sparkling water

From out of the nearest burn.

With trusty bow and arrow

They chased they flying roe,

And watched the mountain passes

To guard against the foe.

While from the castle on the cliff

The watchman, old and grey,

Gave warning to the warder

To keep the foe away.

Within the castle all looked bright,

The knights were brave and true,

The ladies taught their maids

To spin, tow weave and sew.

The laird was father of his clan,

The lady, sweet and fair,

Made all the poor and stricken ones

Their own especial care.

Their peaceful days were brimming o’er

With happiness, I ween,

When all the lads and lassies met

To dance upon the green.

With hearts as light as thistle-down,

With laughter, song and jest,

Each Lassie laced her bodice blue,

Each laddie donned his best;

The lairds looked on approvingly,

My lady with a smile,

The older folks sat round in groups

To chat and rest awhile.

And e’en the poor were not forgot,

Who through the twilight stole,

With bag in hand from door to door

To gather up the dole.

What visions danced before their eyes

As they white sails unfurled,

To seek for home and fortune

In a strange, far off new world.

What anxious days were those at sea,

When parted from the land,

They steered their bark to westward

Till they reached a rocky strand.

Tho’ few indeed their numbers were,

Their hearts were stout and bold;

The dangers met, the toils they shared

Have oftentimes been told.

The German sighs for Fatherland,

The Switzer mourns his mountains

With many a silent tear;

And tho’ Columbia beckons

And the future may beguile,

The bells of Shandon still sound sweet

To the sons of Erin’s Isle.

We talk of Merry England,

The vine-clad hills of France,

Of Spain and her Alhambra,

Of Moorish song and dance;

Italia’s charms and chanted oft

By light of the silver moon,

And we sing of bonny Scotland,

“Ye banks and braes of Doon.”

And why from lands so fair and fine

Is it so many come?

In the fair land—America__

A man can own his home;

Freedom of thought and action,

A chance to see and know,

The land is board, and fair, and free

Wherever he may go.

Her flag is known in every port,

Her ships sail every sea,

She stretches out her strong right arm

To help the oppressed go free.

The morning sun shines brightly

When he leaves his ocean bed

Upon a busy commerce

And crowded marts of trade—

Upon a restless people

Who hurry to and fro,

As here and there with eager steps

Throughout the land they go.

‘Tis true the world is very wide,

And some are sure to find

In leaving home that they have left

Their “Fortunate Isles” behind.

And tho’ like Esmeralda,

We “sing in every bower,”

Or like the bee who all day long

Sips honey from each flower,

When twilight closes round us

Wherever we may be,

We hear our Mother singing

Aneath the “Rowen tree;”

And with the Germans “Wanderer,”

Our hearts cry out, “Where art thou.

O my beloved home>’

And you whose lives are shadowed

By grief, or pain, or loss,

From whom the sky is darkened,

And gold is naught but dross,

Worn out with tears and watching,

Caught by the undertow

And carried outward by the tide

Wherever it may go;

Helpless to bear life’s burdens,

Yet hoping while you call,

That haven may prove a refuge

And a resting place for all.

Look up for strength and courage,

Take note of little things,

You may see angels’ faces

And hear the sound of wings.

Old Allan Bayne, that harp of thine

Has mute remained for many a year,

The chords that thrilled the soul are hushed,

The hand that touched them is not here.

How often in the olden days

Unseen it welcomed many a guest;

It cheered his sorrows, soothed his fears,

And gently lulled to rest.

But when the clansmen filled the hall

To talk of deed by field and foray,

How loud and clear the notes that rang,

While sand the bard of fame and glory.

And when the exile wandered forth

To shadowy cave and forest near,

The ancient harper followed on

To charm and make his life less drear.

O, ancient harper, may my strain

Allure, and comfort as thine own;

Let joybells ring, and Hope’s bright ray

Illume a future all unknown,

For life may yet hold much of good,

Tho’ often mixed with grief and care,

And flowers still loom and birds yet sing

As in old Scotland vales so fair.

 

Written by Mrs. Alice Bean Lodge

 

Source:

  1. Proceedings of the John Bean (1660) https://archive.org/stream/proceedingsofjoh1899john#page/101/mode/1up

 

  1. Bill West 9th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge https://westinnewengland.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-ninth-annual-great-genealogy-poetry.html

 

Citation:

  1. John Bean Association Proceedings of the John Bean (1660) Association, at its annual reunion, accessed 7 September 2017, from https://archive.org/details/proceedingsofjoh1899john; publisher S I-The Association, 1899, collection Allen County Americana digitalized, Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, published 1899, call number 31833012005747, image pg100-104

 

  1. West, Bill (2017) West In New England 30 Aug 2017 Bill West 9th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge, accessed 7 September 2017 https://westinnewengland.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-ninth-annual-great-genealogy-poetry.html

 

My lineage:

John MacBean/Bean 1634-1718 & Margaret Edwards 1640-1714

James Bean 1672-1753 & Sarah Bradley 1673-1738

Samuel Bean 1710-1786 &Mary Buzzell 1714-1812

Judith Bean 1732-1817 &Moses Quimby 1713-1826

Hannah Quimby 1759-1831 & Philip Nelson 1756-1841

William Nelson 1795-1869 & Patty Teel 1795-1891

Benjamin P. Nelson 1824-1862 & Elinor M. Babb 1830-1906

William F. Nelson 1855-1932 & Clara J. Chase 1875-1955, my great-grandparents

Lillian M. Nelson 1895-1934 & Nathan A. Stearns 1887-1851, my grandparents

Nelson W. Stearns 1930-1988 & Shirley B. Pease 1935-2001, my parents

 

Judith Bean 1732-1817 &Moses Quimby 1713-1826 are founding families of Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire the home of my heart.

Source:

  1. Proceedings of the John Bean (1660) https://archive.org/stream/proceedingsofjoh1899john#page/101/mode/1up

 

  1. Bill West 9th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge https://westinnewengland.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-ninth-annual-great-genealogy-poetry.html

 

Citation:

  1. John Bean Association Proceedings of the John Bean (1660) Association, at its annual reunion, accessed 7 September 2017, from https://archive.org/details/proceedingsofjoh1899john; publisher S I-The Association, 1899, collection Allen County Americana digitalized, Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, published 1899, call number 31833012005747, image pg100-104

 

  1. West, Bill (2017) West In New England 30 Aug 2017 Bill West 9th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge, accessed 7 September 2017 https://westinnewengland.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-ninth-annual-great-genealogy-poetry.html

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2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

2 responses to “Immigrants remembered

  1. billwest

    What a great poem! Although I have no Beans in my direct line, I have cousins who are. Thanks for taking part in the Challenge, June!

    Like

    • No, Thank you for the contest. I thought this poem was timely with all the current cultural concerns. I would have posted it either way, but your contest pushed it to the front of my To Do list.

      Like

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