Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON LEAVING CALIFORNIA, by BAYARD TAYLOR

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ON LEAVING CALIFORNIA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O fair young land, the youngest, fairest far
Last Line: Restored again in thee!
Alternate Author Name(s): Taylor, James Bayard
Subject(s): California

O FAIR young land, the youngest, fairest far
Of which our world can boast, --
Whose guardian planet, Evening's silver star
Illumes thy golden coast, --

How art thou conquered, tamed in all the pride
Of savage beauty still!
How brought, O panther of the splendid hide,
To know thy master's will!

No more thou sittest on thy tawny hills
In indolent repose;
Or pour'st the crystal of a thousand rills
Down from thy house of snows.

But where the wild-oats wrapped thy knees in gold,
The ploughman drives his share,
And where, through canons deep, thy streams are rolled,
The miner's arm is bare.

Yet in thy lap, thus rudely rent and torn
A nobler seed shall be:
Mother of mighty men, thou shalt not mourn
Thy lost virginity!

Thy human children shall restore the grace
Gone with thy fallen pines:
The wild, barbaric beauty of thy face
Shall round to classic lines.

And Order, Justice, Social Law shall curb
Thy untamed energies;
And Art and Science, with their dreams superb,
Replace thine ancient ease.

The marble, sleeping in thy mountains now,
Shall live in sculptures rare;
Thy native oak shall crown the sage's brow, --
Thy bay, the poet's hair.

Thy tawny hills shall bleed their purple wine,
Thy valleys yield their oil;
And Music, with her eloquence divine,
Persuade thy sons to toil.

Till Hesper, as he trims his silver beam,
No happier land shall see,
And Earth shall find her old Arcadian dream
Restored again in thee!

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