the imaginative conservative logo

statesmanThey wrought a work which Time reveres,
A pure example to the lands,
Further and further reaching hands,
Forever into coming years;

They worshipt Freedom for her sake;
We faint unless the wanton ear
Be tickled with the loud “hear, hear,”
To which the slight-built hustings shake;

For where he is, the citizen,
Deep-hearted, moderate, firm, who sees
His path before him? not with these
Shadows of statesmen, clever men!

Uncertain of ourselves we chase
The clap of hands; we jar like boys:
And in the hurry and the noise
Great spirits grown akin to base.

A sound of words that change to blows!
A sound of blows on armed breasts!
And individual interests
Becoming bands of armed foes!

A noise of hands that disarrange
The social engine! fears that waste
The strength of men, lest overhaste
Should fire the many wheels of change!

Ill fares a people passion-wrought,
A land of many days that cleaves
In two great halves when each one leaves
The middle road of sober thought!

Not he that breaks the dams, but he
That thro’ the channels of the state
Convoys the people’s wish, is great;
His name is pure, his fame is free:

He cares, if ancient usage fade,
To shape, to settle, to repair,
With seasonable changes fair,
And innovation grade by grade:

Or, if the sense of most require
A precedent of larger scope,
Not deals in threats, but works with hope,
And lights at length on his desire:

Knowing those laws are just alone
That contemplate a mighty plan,
The frame, the mind, the soul of man,
Like one that cultivates his own.

He, seeing far an end sublime,
Contends, despising party-rage,
To hold the Spirit of the Age,
Against the Spirit of the Time.

Books on the topic of this poem may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

We hope you will join us in The Imaginative Conservative community. The Imaginative Conservative is an on-line journal for those who seek the True, the Good and the Beautiful. We address culture, liberal learning, politics, political economy, literature, the arts and the American Republic in the tradition of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Wilhelm Roepke, Robert Nisbet, Richard Weaver, M.E. Bradford, Eric Voegelin, Christopher Dawson, Paul Elmer More and other leaders of Imaginative Conservatism. Some conservatives may look at the state of Western culture and the American Republic and see a huge dark cloud which seems ready to unleash a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways. Others focus on the silver lining which may be found in the next generation of traditional conservatives who have been inspired by Dr. Kirk and his like. We hope that The Imaginative Conservative answers T.S. Eliot’s call to “redeem the time, redeem the dream.” The Imaginative Conservative offers to our families, our communities, and the Republic, a conservatism of hope, grace, charity, gratitude and prayer.

Print Friendly
"All comments are subject to moderation. We welcome the comments of those who disagree, but not those who are disagreeable."

Please leave a thoughtful, civil, and constructive comment: