The East and The
West by Theodore
We of the East spread our sails to the sea,
You of the West stride over the land;
Both are to scatter the hopes of the Free,
As the sower sheds golden grain from his hand.
'Tis ours to circle the stormy bends
Of a continent, yours its ridge to cross;
We must double the capes where a long world ends,
Lone cliffs where two limitless oceans toss.
They meet and are baffled 'mid tempest and wrath,
Breezes are skirmishing, angry winds roar,
While poised on some desperate plunge of our path
We count up the blackening wrecks on the shore.
And you through dreary and thirsty ways,
Where rivers are sand and winds are dust,
Through sultry nights and feverish days,
Move westward still as the sunsets must:
Where the scorched air quivers along the slopes,
Where the slow-footed cattle lie down and die,
Where horizons draw backward till baffled hopes
Are weary of measureless waste and sky.
Yes, ours to battle relentless gales,
And yours the brave and the patient way;
But we hold the storms in our trusty sails,
And for you the life-giving fountains play.
There are stars above us, and stars for you,—
Rest on the path, and calm on the main:
Storms are but zephyrs, when hearts are true;
We are no weaklings, quick to complain,
When lightnings flash bivouac-fires into gloom,
And with crashing of forests the rains sheet down,—
Or when ships plunge onward where night-clouds loom,
Defiant of darkness and meeting its frown.
These are the days of motion and march;
Now we are ardent, and young, and brave:
Let them that come after us build the arch
Of our triumph, and plant with the laurel our grave.
Time enough to rear temples when heroes are dead,
Time enough to sing paeans after the fight:
Prophets urge onward the future's tread;
We,—we are to kindle its beacon-light.
Our sires lit torches of quenchless flame
To illumine our darkness, if night should be;
But day is a friend to our standards, and shame
Be ours, if we win not a victory!
Man is nobler than men have been,
Souls are vaster than souls have dreamed;
There are broader oceans than eyes have seen,
Noons more glowing than yet have beamed.
Creeping shadows cower low on our land;
These shall not dim our grander day:
Stainless knights must be those who stand
Full in the van of a world's array!
When shall we cease our meagre distrust?
When to each other our true hearts yield?
To make this world an Eden, we must
Fling away each weapon and shield,
And meet each man as a friend and mate,
Trample and spurn and forget our pride,
Glad to accept an equal fate,
Laboring, conquering side by side.