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

Middle States: Philadelphia, Pa.

The Centennial, July 4, 1876

By Charlotte Fiske Bates (1838–1916)


HERE stands the Nation’s mighty Thought,

With look and attitude sublime;

Both her colossal arms stretched out,

Seeking two equal bounds of time.

One hand rests on the very day

When Freedom struggled from the womb;

The other, groping on its way,

Finds all this multitude a tomb!

The eyes of Thought, first backward cast,

Send fiery pæans from their deep;

But, searching all her country’s past,

Some great, immortal tears they weep.

The eyes of Thought now onward tend,

Peopling the far, white mystery

With life that shall from ours descend,

And treasure all our history.

Here stands the Nation’s mighty Thought!

A hundred years behind, before,

Her arm and eye have reached, and brought

What make us one forevermore.

This centre of the Keystone State

Locks many nations in its hold,

And all the clashing notes of fate

To harmony has Peace controlled.

Great City of Fraternal Love,

How well the worlds have met in thee;

So, whither all the nations move,

God’s Peace-built City let it be!