Posts tagged ‘1787’

Sunday, 17 November 2019

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 –


Date: 1787

By: Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791)

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Written on a Lady’s Fan by Henry James Pye

In ancient times when like La Mancha’s Knight
The adventurous Hero sallied forth to fight,
Some sage Magician famous in Romance
Supplied the Warrior with a wonderous lance,
With which through adverse troops he forced his way,
And won from giant hosts the doubtful day.
But I more fatal arms to you impart,
By Venus forged to wound the human heart:
This Weapon placed in your victorious hand
No cunning shall elude, no force withstand,
Nor shall the brave resist, or coward fly,
But all Mankind submit, adore, or die.

From: Pye, Henry James, Poems on Various Subjects in Two Volumes, Volume 1, 1787, John Stockdale: London, p. 32.

Date: 1787

By: Henry James Pye (1744-1813)

Thursday, 9 February 2017

To Miss Sophia Chew, with a Rose-Bud, January 7, 1787 by John Swanwick

This rose bud, my friend, I have found on the floor,
When the music, the dance, and the singing was o’er;
So sweet its appearance, so blooming its hue,
I could not suppose but its owner was you:
I therefore have sent it, once more to resume
Its place on thy bosom, where safe let it bloom,
Till spring, crown’d with garlands, shall bring other posies,
Then these must give way to more natural roses;
Which, form’d with more taste and more beauty to shine,
Have charms better fashion’d to mingle with thine.

From: Swanwick, John, Poems on several occasions. By John Swanwick, Esq. One of the Representatives in the Congress of the United States, from the state of Pennsylvania, 1797, F. and R. Bailey: Philadelphia, p. 37.

Date: 1787

By: John Swanwick (1740-1798)

Friday, 24 July 2015

Evening Landscape by Friedrich von Matthisson

Golden light
Bedecks the grove.
An enchanting twilight gently illuminates
The castle’s o’ergrown ruins.

Still and sublime,
The ocean gleams;
Homeward there glide, gentle as swans,
Fisher-boats near the far-off isle.

Silvery sand
Glitters on shore;
Redder here, paler there,
Cloud-images float upon the waves.

Fluttering, rustling,
Crown’d with gold,
The reeds encircle the foreland-hillock,
Wildly swarming with sea-fowl.

From the thicket,
There beckons, with garden, foliage, spring,
The hermit’s moss-grown shanty.

On the water
The glow dies out;
Already, the evening glimmer grows pale
Across the lofty castle’s ruins.

Light of the full moon
Bedecks the grove;
In the valley float lisping spirit-voices
‘Round fallen heroes’ crumbled monuments.


Date: 1787 (original in German); 2005 (translation in English)

By: Friedrich von Matthisson (1761-1831)

Translated by: John Sigerson (19??- )