Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
IV. Peace
Hymn of the West
Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908)
 
World’s Fair, St. Louis

O THOU, 1 whose glorious orbs on high
  Engird the earth with splendor round,
From out Thy secret place draw nigh
  The courts and temples of this ground;
        Eternal Light,        5
        Fill with Thy might
  These domes that in Thy purpose grew,
  And lift a nation’s heart anew!
 
Illumine Thou each pathway here,
  To show the marvels God hath wrought        10
Since first Thy people’s chief and seer
  Looked up with that prophetic thought,
        Bade Time unroll
        The fateful scroll,
  And empire unto Freedom gave        15
  From cloudland height to tropic wave.
 
Poured through the gateways of the North
  Thy mighty rivers join their tide,
And on the wings of morn sent forth
  Their mists the far-off peaks divide.        20
        By Thee unsealed,
        The mountains yield
  Ores that the wealth of Ophir shame,
  And gems enwrought of seven-hued flame.
 
Lo, through what years the soil hath lain,        25
  At Thine own time to give increase—
The greater and the lesser grain,
  The ripening boll, the myriad fleece!
        Thy creatures graze
        Appointed ways;        30
  League after league across the land
  The ceaseless herds obey Thy hand.
 
Thou, whose high archways shine most clear
  Above the plenteous western plain,
Thine ancient tribes from round the sphere        35
  To breathe its quickening air are fain;
        And smiles the sun
        To see made one
  Their brood throughout Earth’s greenest space,
  Land of the new and lordlier race!        40
 
Note 1. The official hymn of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis in 1904. It was written upon invitation of the Exposition authorities, and was sung at the opening of the Fair by a chorus of five hundred voices, to music written for it, also upon official invitation, by Professor John K. Paine, of Harvard University. It fitly concludes the poems of Peace, in this volume of “National Spirit.” [back]
 
 
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