Manvotional: “A Nation’s Strength” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Brett & Kate McKay on June 28, 2009 · 2 comments

in A Man's Life, Manvotionals


Independence Day is this Saturday here in the United States. In honor of it, we present “A Nation’s Strength” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The strength of any nation or community is found in the men (and women) who make it up, so be the best man you can be.

“A Nation’s Strength” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

Hat tip to Bryce for this selection.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sahal June 15, 2013 at 7:51 pm

God Bless America, and may he grant us the good fortune of having such men. Men we’re a bit short on these days.

2 Michael June 23, 2013 at 1:20 am

This is a great poem. The last stanza makes me think about all of our servicemen and women overseas who are working while we sleep in our comfy beds at home. May God bless, protect, and defend our great natin.

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