FATHER AND MOTHER TONGUE

Our Father Land! and wouldst thou know
Why we should call it Father Land?
It is that Adam here below
Was made of earth by Nature’s hand;
And he our father, made of earth,
Hath peopled earth on every hand;
And we, in memory of his birth,
Do call our country Father Land.

At first, in Eden’s bowers, they say,
No sound of speech had Adam caught,
But whistled like a bird all day,—
And maybe ’twas for want of thought:
But Nature, with resistless laws,
Made Adam soon surpass the birds;
She gave him lovely Eve because
If he’d a wife they must have words.

And so the native land, I hold,
By male descent is proudly mine;
The language, as the tale hath told,
Was given in the female line.
And thus we see on either hand
We name our blessings whence they’ve sprung;
We call our country Father Land,
We call our language Mother Tongue.

— Samuel Lover

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