Archive for November 17th, 2019

Sunday, 17 November 2019

The New Roof: A Song for Federal Mechanics by Francis Hopkinson

I.
Come muster, my lads, your mechanical tools,
Your saws and your axes, your hammers and rules;
Bring your mallets and planes, your level and line,
And plenty of pins1 of American pine:
For our roof we will raise, and our song still shall be,
Our government firm, and our citizens free.

II.
Come, up with the plates2, lay them firm on the wall,
Like the people at large, they’re the ground work of all;
Examine them well, and see that they’re sound,
Let no rotten parts in our building be found:
For our roof we will raise, and our song still shall be,
A government firm, and our citizens free.

III.
Now hand up the girders3; lay each in his place,
Between them the joists4, must divide all the space;
Like assemblymen, these should lie level along,
Like girders, our senate prove loyal and strong:
For our roof we will raise, and our song still shall be,
A government firm, over citizens free.

IV.
The rafters now frame—your king-posts5 and braces6,
And drive your pins home, to keep all in their places;
Let wisdom and strength in the fabric combine,
And your pins be all made of American pine:
For our roof we will raise, and our song still shall be,
A government firm, over citizens free.

V.
Our king-posts are judges—how upright they stand,
Supporting the braces, the laws of the land;
The laws of the land, which divide right from wrong,
And strengthen the weak, by weak’ning the strong:
For our roof we will raise, and our song still shall be,
Laws equal and just, for a people that’s free.

VI.
Up! Up with the rafters7—each frame is a state;
How nobly they rise! their span, too, how great!
From the north to the south, o’er the whole they extend,
And rest on the walls, whilst the walls they defend:
For our roof we will raise, and our song still shall be
Combined in strength, yet as citizens free.

VII.
Now enter the purlins8,
and drive your pins through,
And see that your joints are drawn home, and all true.
The purlins will bind all the rafters together;
The strength of the whole shall defy wind and weather:
For our roof we will raise, and our song still shall be,
United as states, but as citizens free.

VIII.
Come, raise up the turret9—our glory and pride;
In the center it stands, o’er the whole to preside:
The sons of Columbia10 shall view with delight
Its pillars and arches, and towering height:
Our roof is now rais’d, and our song still shall be,
A federal head, o’er a people still free.

IX.
Huzza! my brave boys, our work is complete,
The world shall admire Columbia’s fair seat;
Its strength against tempest and time shall be proof,
And thousands shall come to dwell under our ROOF.
Whilst we drain the deep bowl, our toast still shall be
Our government firm, and our citizens free.

Notes:
1.         Pins – nails.
2.         Plates – horizontal structural load-bearing members of a frame wall supporting ceiling joits, rafters or other members.
3.         Girders – Large or principal beams of wood or steel used to support concentrated loads at isolated points along its length.
4.         Joists – wooden planks that run parallel to one another and support a floor or ceiling, and supported in turn by larger beams, girders, or bearing walls.
5.         King-posts – Vertical framing members usually designed to carry beams.
6.         Braces – inclined pieces of framing lumber applied to wall of floor to strengthen the structure.
7.         Rafters – lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads.
8.         Purlins – support for rafters.
9.         Turret – tower.
10.       Columbia – USA.
(building terms from
Dictionary of Construction Terminology – https://www.completedesign.cc/client-resources/dictionary-of-construction-terminology/)

From: http://americainclass.org/sources/makingrevolution/constitution/text3/hopkinsonnewroof.pdf

Date: 1787

By: Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791)