Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DARIEN, by EDWIN ARNOLD



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DARIEN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Silently upon a peak in darien
Last Line: Kissed -- and let in the eager waters there.
Subject(s): Panama Canal; Canal Zone


A.D. 1513-A.D. 1901

[The American Senate has ratified the isthmus treaty. --
WASHINGTON TELEGRAM.]

"SILENT upon a peak in Darien,"
The Spanish steel red in his conquering hand,
While golden, green and gracious the vast land
Of that new world comes sudden into ken --
Stands Nunez da Balboa. North and south
He sees at last the full Pacific roll
In blue and silver on each shelf and shoal,
And the white bar of the broad river's mouth,
And the long, ranked palm-trees. "Queen of Heaven," he cried,
"To-day thou giv'st me this for all my pain,
And I the glorious guerdon give to Spain,
A new earth and new sea to be her pride,
War ground and treasure-house." And while he spoke
The world's heart knew a mightier dawn was broke.

"Silent, upon a peak in Darien" --
Four hundred years being fled, a Greater stood
On that same height; and did behold the flood
Of blue waves leaping; Mother of all men!
Wise Nature! And she spake, "The gift I gave
To Nunez da Balboa could not keep
Spain from her sins; now must the ages sweep
To larger legend, tho' her own was brave.
Here on this ridge I do foresee fresh birth.
That which departed shall bring side by side,
The sea shall sever what hills did divide;
shall link in love." And there was joy on earth;
Whilst England and Columbia, quitting fear,
Kissed -- and let in the eager waters there.





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