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TENNESSEE; PRIZE CENTENNIAL ODE (1896), by                    
First Line: She is touching the cycle - her tender tread
Last Line: The paeans of tennessee!
Subject(s): Tennessee

SHE is touching the cycle, -- her tender tread
Is soft on the hearts of her hallowed dead,
And she proudly stands where her sons have bled
For God and Tennessee;

Where the love of her women set the seal
Of the warrior's faith for the country's weal,
With hand on the rifle and hand on the wheel,
By the altars of Tennessee.

They have builded well for the niche of fame,
Through the sleet of want and the heat of blame,
But the courage of heroes tried the flame,
As they builded Tennessee.

'T was up to the port-holes and down in the dust,
Not the weight of might, but the force of must,
With faith and rifle-bore free from rust,
They were building Tennessee.

'T was up in the saddle and off to the fight,
Where arrow and tomahawk shrieked in the light;
But the sinews of pioneers won for the right, --
The bulwarks of Tennessee.

She was true when they pressed like a shadowy fate, --
Her royal foes at her unbarred gate, --
And as true when were menaced her Rights of State, --
The mother, -- Tennessee.

And she gave of her life for the stars and bars,
As she gave of her sons for the earlier wars,
And the breast of her motherhood wears the scars,
For the manhood of Tennessee.

But she wrought again, in the strength of might,
In the face of defeat and a yielded right,
The Cloth of Gold from the loom of night, --
The mantle of Tennessee.

She has given all that she held most dear,
With a Spartan hope and a Spartan fear, --
Crowned in her statehood "Volunteer," --
Glorious Tennessee!

She has rounded the cycle, -- the tale is told;
The circlet is iron, the clasp is gold;
And the leaves of a wonderful past unfold
The garland of Tennessee.

And her garments gleam in the sunlit years,
And the songs of her children fill her ears;
And the listening heart of the great world hears
The paeans of Tennessee!

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