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Behold, in Oregon, far in the north and west,
Behold, on the lakes, thy pilots at their wheels, thy oarsmen,
There by the furnace, and there by the anvil,
Overhand so steady, overhand they turn and fall with joyous clank,
Mark the spirit of invention everywhere, thy rapid patents,
Mark, thy interminable farms, North, South,
Thy wealthy daughter-states, Eastern and Western,
The varied products of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, and the rest,
Thy limitless crops, grass, wheat, sugar, oil, corn, rice, hemp, hops, Thy barns all fill'd, the endless freight-train and the bulging storehouse,
The grapes that ripen on thy vines, the apples in thy orchards, Thy incalculable lumber, beef, pork, potatoes, thy coal, thy gold and silver,
The inexhaustible iron in thy mines.
All thine O sacred Union!
Ships, farms, shops, barns, factories, mines,
City and State, North, South, item and aggregate,
We dedicate, dread Mother, all to thee!
Protectress absolute, thou! bulwark of all!
For well we know that while thou givest each and all, (generous as God,)
Without thee neither all nor each, nor land, home,
And thou, the Emblem waving over all!
Delicate beauty, a word to thee, (it may be salutary,)
Remember thou hast not always been as here to-day so comfortably
In other scenes than these have I observ'd thee flag,
But I have seen thee bunting, to tatters torn upon thy splinter'd staff, Or clutch'd to some young color-bearer's breast with desperate hands, Savagely struggled for, for life or death, fought over long, 'Mid cannons' thunder-crash and many a curse and groan and yell, and rifle-volleys cracking sharp,
And moving masses as wild demons surging, and lives as nothing risk'd,
For thy mere remnant grimed with dirt and smoke and sopp'd in blood,
For sake of that, my beauty, and that thou might'st dally as now secure up there,
Many a good man have I seen go under.
Now here and these and hence in peace, all thine O Flag!
And lives and works, what are they all at last, except the roads to faith and death?)
While we rehearse our measureless wealth, it is for thee, dear Mother,
We own it all and several to-day indissoluble in thee;
Think not our chant, our show, merely for products gross or lucre - it is for thee, the soul in thee, electric, spiritual! Our farms, inventions, crops, we own in thee! cities and States in
Our freedom all in thee! our very lives in thee!
SONG OF THE REDWOOD-TREE.
A CALIFORNIA Song,
A prophecy and indirection, a thought impalpable to breathe as air,
Farewell my brethren,
Along the northern coast,
Just back from the rock-bound shore and the caves,
In the saline air from the sea in the Mendocino country,
Riven deep by the sharp tongues of the axes, there in the redwood forest dense,
I heard the mighty tree its death-chant chanting.
The choppers heard not, the camp shanties echoed not, The quick-ear'd teamsters and chain and jack-screw men heard not,
As the wood-spirits came from their haunts of a thousand years to join the refrain,
But in my soul I plainly heard.
Murmuring out of its myriad leaves,
Down from its lofty top rising two hundred feet high,
Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs, out of its foot-thick bark, That chant of the seasons and time, chant not of the past only but the future.
You untold life of me,
And all you venerable and innocent joys,
Perennial hardy life of me with joys 'mid rain and many a
And the white snows and night and the wild winds;
O the great patient rugged joys, my soul's strong joys unreck'd by
(For know I bear the soul befitting me, I too have consciousness, identity,
And all the rocks and mountains have, and all the earth,)
Nor yield we mournfully majestic brothers,
With Nature's calm content, with tacit huge delight,
For them predicted long,
For a superber race, they too to grandly fill their time,
These huge precipitous cliffs, this amplitude, these valleys, far
To be in them absorb'd, assimilated.
Then to a loftier strain,
Still prouder, more ecstatic rose the chant,
Not wan from Asia's fetiches,
Nor red from Europe's old dynastic slaughter-house,
(Area of murder-plots of thrones, with scent left yet of wars and scaffolds everywhere,)
But come from Nature's long and harmless throes, peacefully
These virgin lands, lands of the Western shore,
To the new culminating man, to you, the empire new,
You promis'd long, we pledge, we dedicate.
You occult deep volitions,
You average spiritual manhood, purpose of all, pois'd on yourself, giving not taking law,
You womanhood divine, mistress and source of all, whence life and love and aught that comes from life and love,
You unseen moral essence of all the vast materials of America, (age upon age working in death the same as life,)
You that, sometimes known, oftener unknown, really shape and mould the New World, adjusting it to Time and Space, You hidden national will lying in your abysms, conceal'd but ever
You past and present purposes tenaciously pursued, may-be unconscious of yourselves,
Unswerv'd by all the passing errors, perturbations of the surface; You vital, universal, deathless germs, beneath all creeds, arts, statutes, literatures,
Here build your homes for good, establish here, these areas entire, lands of the Western shore,
We pledge, we dedicate to you.
For man of you, your characteristic race,
Here may he hardy, sweet, gigantic grow, here tower proportionate to Nature,
Here climb the vast pure spaces unconfined, uncheck'd by wall or roof,
Here laugh with storm or sun, here joy, here patiently inure, Here heed himself, unfold himself, (not others' formulas heed) here fill his time,
To duly fall, to aid, unreck'd at last,
Thus on the northern coast,
In the echo of teamsters' calls and the clinking chains, and the music of choppers' axes,
The falling trunk and limbs, the crash, the muffled shriek, the
Such words combined from the redwood-tree, as of voices ecstatic, ancient and rustling,
The century-lasting, unseen dryads, singing, withdrawing,
From the Cascade range to the Wahsatch, or Idaho far, or Utah,
The chorus and indications, the vistas of coming humanity, the settlements, features all,
In the Mendocino woods I caught.
The flashing and golden pageant of California,
The sudden and gorgeous drama, the sunny and ample lands,
The fields of Nature long prepared and fallow, the silent, cyclic
The slow and steady ages plodding, the unoccupied surface ripening, the rich ores forming beneath;
At last the New arriving, assuming, taking possession,
the whole world,
To India and China and Australia and the thousand island paradises of the Pacific,
Populous cities, the latest inventions, the steamers on the rivers, the railroads, with many a thrifty farm, with machinery, And wool and wheat and the grape, and diggings of yellow gold.