WHAT magic have our shores, that men repair
Hither on every ship that threads the seas, —
The Russian from his snows, the Piedmontese,
The dweller by the banks of Po and Ayr ?
Are not the stars as bright, the skies as fair,
That glass themselves in Volga’s wave and Dee’s?
Hath spring no singing flocks ? Doth not the breeze
In summer evenings waft sweet odors there
As it doth here ? Ay, but a spirit dwells
Within our land that long ago hath fled
Those ancient countries. Liberty! ’t is she
That paints with wonder all our woods and dells,
And with an aureole rings each mountain’s head,
And writes a morning freshness on the sea.
Within this land a spirit sleeps of might,
And will not wake, though it has slumbered long.
Would it were mine to rouse it with a song!
Alas ! not such my hope, to touch with light
That darkened brow, to win those eyeballs sight.
For more melodious tongues and souls more strong
Before those listless ears have suffered wrong,
And vainly sung and vanished into night.
Yet men in former days, remembered well,
Beheld those orbs as with twin lightnings glow,
And that great brow illumed, when Sumter fell
Or Lincoln spoke. Dear God, what voice must be,
What iron trump of war or hate must blow,
To wake again the soul of Liberty ?
William Prescott Foster.