Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO THE PIONEERS, by CINCINNATUS HEINE MILLER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TO THE PIONEERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: How swift this sand, gold-laden, runs!
Last Line: Sierra's snow-topt battle tents.
Alternate Author Name(s): Miller, Joaquin
Subject(s): California - Gold Discoveries; Pioneers; Gold Rush; Forty-niners

How swift this sand, gold-laden, runs!
How slow these feet, once swift and firm!
Ye came as romping, rosy sons,
Come jocund up at College term;
Ye came so jolly, stormy, strong,
Ye drown'd the roll-call with your song.
But now ye lean a list'ning ear
And -- "Adsum! Adsum! I am here!"

My brave world-builders of a world
That tops the keystone, star of States,
All hail! Your battle flags are furled
In fruitful peace. The golden gates
Are won. The jasper walls be yours.
Your sun sinks down yon soundless shores.
Night falls. But lo! your lifted eyes
Greet gold outcroppings in the skies.

Companioned with Sierra's peaks
Our storm-born eagle shrieks his scorn
Of doubt or death, and upward seeks
Through unseen worlds the coming morn.
Or storm, or calm, or near, or far,
His eye fixed on the morning star,
He knows, as God knows, there is dawn;
And so keeps on, and on, and on!

So ye, brave men of bravest days,
Fought on and on with battered shield,
Up bastion, rampart, till the rays
Of full morn met ye on the field.
Ye knew not doubt; ye only knew
To do and dare, and dare and do!
Ye knew that time, that God's firstborn,
Would turn the darkest night to morn.

Ye gave your glorious years of youth
And lived as heroes live -- and die.
Ye loved the truth, ye lived the truth;
Ye knew that cowards only lie.
Then heed not now one serpent's hiss,
Or trait'rous, trading, Judas kiss.
Let slander wallow in his slime;
Still leave the truth to God and time.

Worn victors, few and true, such clouds
As track God's trailing garment's hem
Where Shasta keeps shall be your shrouds,
And ye shall pass the stars in them.
Your tombs shall be while time endures,
Such hearts as only truth secures;
Your everlasting monuments
Sierra's snow-topt battle tents.

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