After The Centennial
by Christopher Pearse Cranch
BEFORE our eyes a pageant rolled
Whose banners every land unfurled;
And as it passed, its splendors told
The art and glory of the world.
The nations of the earth have stood
With face to face and hand in hand,
And sworn to common brotherhood
The sundered souls of every land.
And while America is pledged
To light her Pharos towers for all,
While her broad mantle, starred and edged
With truth, o'er high and low shall fall;
And while the electric nerves still belt
The State and Continent in one, —
The discords of the past shall melt
Like ice beneath the summer sun.
O land of hope! thy future years
Are shrouded from our mortal sight;
But thou canst turn the century's fears
To heralds of a cloudless light!
The sacred torch our fathers lit
No wild misrule can ever quench;
Still in our midst wise judges sit,
Whom party passion cannot blench.
From soul to soul, from hand to hand
Thy sons have passed that torch along,
Whose flame by Wisdom's breath is fanned,
Whose staff is held by runners strong.
O Spirit of immortal truth,
Thy power alone that circles all
Can feed the fire as in its youth —
Can hold the runners lest they fall!