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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Introductory to Western States

California’s Greeting to Seward

By Bret Harte (1836–1902)


WE know him well: no need of praise

Or bonfire from the windy hill

To light to softer paths and ways

The world-worn man we honor still;

No need to quote those truths he spoke

That burned through years of war and shame,

While History carves with surer stroke

Across our map his noonday fame;

No need to bid him show the scars

Of blows dealt by the Scæan gate,

Who lived to pass its shattered bars,

And see the foe capitulate;

Who lived to turn his slower feet

Toward the western setting sun,

To see his harvest all complete,

His dream fulfilled, his duty done,—

The one flag streaming from the pole,

The one faith borne from sea to sea,—

For such a triumph, and such goal,

Poor must our human greeting be.

Ah! rather that the conscious land

In simpler ways salute the Man,—

The tall pines bowing where they stand,

The bared head of El Capitan,

The tumult of the waterfalls,

Pohono’s kerchief in the breeze,

The waving from the rocky walls,

The stir and rustle of the trees;

Till lapped in sunset skies of hope,

In sunset lands by sunset seas,

The Young World’s Premier treads the slope

Of sunset years in calm and peace.