Articles

“Nationality”

“NATIONALITY”

Address by E.R. Snow, Feb 27, 1855, before an assembly of the “Polysophical Institution,” in L. Snow’s Hall. Printed in the Deseret News, June 25, 1856.

Most courteously, this evening I’ll present
Before this audience, a sentiment —
At least, a hint, on Nationality,
A love, or rather partiality
For birth-place–country, and the people where
Our lungs at first inhale the vital air.One might as well my thoughts exterminate —
My place in pedigree annihilate;
As to efface or to remove from me
The sentiment of Nationality.
It of my nature constitutes a part —
Unites with all the life-blood of my heart,
And if no trait or portion of my spirit,
‘Tis something I eternally inherit.
Not all the charms surrounding scenes impart
Can chase the high-toned feelings from my heart;
For oft — full oft, so tenderly they yearn,
A kindling impulse prompts a fond return
Unto the land of my nativity —
My native home — my native scenery.

But where — O where the land so choice — so dear?
Which is the nation I so much revere?

I do not languish for the lakes and rills —
The rugged heights of Europe’s Alpine hill —
The verdant vales which beauteously repose
‘Neath their bold summits of eternal shows.
Nor would I boast a proud nativity
On the luxuriant plains of Italy,
With glowing, sunny landscapes, rich and fair —
Tall city spires and grand cathedrals there,
Where the salubrious climate’s genial heat
Gives to the pulse, a soft ardent beat;
Where nature with accelerated force,
With less of time, completes her wanted course.

Nor yet in Germany, where laws are made
To fit like tenons of the workman’s trade —
Where ev’ry code of civil policy
Meeks the precision of geometry —
Where ease and luxury are smiling round,
And merry glee and cheerfulness abound:
Where fragrant meadows and the harvest field
To man and beast a joyous plenty yield.

Not Britain with her mountains, hills, and dales,
Including England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales;
With inland products and ship-crested coast —
Comprising much of wealth and honor boast:
With far-fanned cities, towns and villas too,
Where genius flourish’d and where valor grew,
With all varieties of grade and sphere
Of home-sweet home, most lovely and most dear —
The honor’d home of noble thousands, where
Are executed with judicious care
Those legal pow’rs created to bestow
Protection’s banner to the high and low;
And where religions toleration now,
Above all elsewhere, lifts its manly brow.

Not Sweden, Denmark, Norway — not in France
Where revolution’s onward strides advance
And then recede, as tides that ebb and flow —
As moons that waxing, waning onward go:
While soft refinement with its graceful air
Displays a master-stroke of polish there —
Where vineous foliage — native fruits and flow’rs
Vie with exotics in luxuriant bow’rs.

Neither America’s much favor’d land,
Where Lehi, guided by Jehovah’s hand,
Obtain’d a place for him and his to be
Thru’ generations of prosperity.
Were those choice records– where the truth was found
As said Isaiah, “speaking from the ground.”

Not coasts or capes no Islands of the sea;
For none I cherish a partiality.

I say, with brother Eddington: I’m not
Italian, Hindoo, English, German Scot;
Neither American, Swiss, Welsh or Dane,
Nor any Islander from ocean’s main,
Nor Spanish, French, Norwegian, nor Swede —
I claim no country, nation, kingdom, creed
Excepting Zion; this I proudly name —
This is the home I fondly love to claim;
Where I to boast of nationality,
I’d go beyond this frail mortality.

The nob’est spirits scattere’d o’er the earth,
By truth’s eternal influence gather’d forth
From babylon to earthly Zion, here.
Are on their way to heaven’s celestial sphere;
Our inns — our stoping-places, which or where,
Don’t matter when we’ve paid our bills of fare.
One God — one faith — one baptism: we are now
All in one kingdom–at one altar bow:
The union of the Father and the Son
Is heaven’s high pattern — we must all be one —
All local feeling should be laid aside,
And former differences no more divide.
The time approaches — soon will Zion be
The pride of earthly nationality–
It will the history of those adorn
Of who ‘tis said, they were in Zion born.

The Holy Spirit, ev’ry saint receives
Is one sense added to what nature gives;
It is a pow’rful telescope, whereby
We look beyond the stretch of mortal eye.
Its keen perceptive vision takes a view
Or origin and destination too.
Instructed by this spirit-sense, we learn
More than corporeal senses can discern.
It sees we are not natives of this earth —
We’ve liv’d before — we had an earlier birth —
A clime and habitation highly pure
Beyond what these gross senses can endure.

That is the charm — the nationality —
The spring of impulse actuating me —
That is the point to which I would attain —
The country — home I fondly would regain:
From whence, for noble purposes, we all
To gain experience thro’ our Parents’ fall —
To gain the Zenith of perfected worth,
Have come on pilgrimage, thro’ mortal birth.
As foreign trav’ler, each a camping ground
On diff’rent portions of the earth have found;
The force of habit gives to each, a grace —
Peculiar charms to each and ev’ry place:
And yet, with all the adoration felt
As at their shrines devotedly we knelt
Not one — not all possess sufficient worth
To make us feel quite na’tralize, to earth.
Our hearts beat upward and our spirits move
In homeward currents, towards those we love,
We uncorrupted nature’s beauties glow —
Where life’s pure streams from endless fountains flow;
And there the sixth, the spirit-sense will lead
If to its dictates we give constant heed;
And its refining process will prepare
Us for a full and free reception there,
And there we’ll talk of Nationality
With the celestials of Eternity.