Posted by: Oklahoma Sun | March 7, 2010

The Empire Ship.

The Empire Ship.


Nixon Waterman. A Book of Verse, 1900.

 

I HAVE sung my songs to the stately ships that are sailing the Seven Seas,
But to-day I sing of a cruder craft that laughed at the lulling breeze,—
Of the “Prairie Schooner,” quaint and slow, with its dim and dusky sails,
A phantom ship from the long-ago, adrift in the grass-grown trails.
Westward, ho! Westward, ho!
Out where the winds are sweet and low
And the grassy cradles swing and sway,
The star of empire takes its way,
Westward, ho!

Ere the bellowing steed of steel and steam had startled the timid deer,
When the curlew whistled its plaintive call to the gray grouse nesting near,
Through the fair, fresh prairies, hushed and hid, where the wild wolf made her den,
There came this land-launched schooner manned by bronzed and brawny men.
Westward, ho! Westward, ho!
Out where the bold, brisk breezes blow,
And a young world walks in the fields of May,
The star of empire takes its way,
Westward, ho!

And in that marvelous ship that sailed to the shores of the wondrous West,
Was a mother who carolled a song of joy to the babe at her happy breast;
And stowed away in the good ship’s hold were a book and plough and pen,
And a sickle and seeds—yea! all God needs for the making of matchless men.
Westward, ho! Westward, ho!
Out where the golden harvests glow
And the builders are building day by day,
The star of empire takes its way,
Westward, ho!

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