Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
William Cullen Bryant. 1794–1878
26. "Oh Mother of a Mighty Race"
OH mother of a mighty race, 
Yet lovely in thy youthful grace! 
The elder dames, thy haughty peers, 
Admire and hate thy blooming years. 
      With words of shame         5
And taunts of scorn they join thy name. 
For on thy cheeks the glow is spread 
That tints thy morning hills with red; 
Thy step—the wild deer's rustling feet 
Within thy woods are not more fleet;  10
      Thy hopeful eye 
Is bright as thine own sunny sky. 
Ay, let them rail—those haughty ones, 
While safe thou dwellest with thy sons. 
They do not know how loved thou art,  15
How many a fond and fearless heart 
      Would rise to throw 
Its life between thee and the foe. 
They know not, in their hate and pride, 
What virtues with thy children bide;  20
How true, how good, thy graceful maids 
Make bright, like flowers, the valley-shades; 
      What generous men 
Spring, like thine oaks, by hill and glen. 
What cordial welcomes greet the guest  25
By thy lone rivers of the West; 
How faith is kept, and truth revered, 
And man is loved, and God is feared, 
      In woodland homes, 
And where the ocean-border foams.  30
There 's freedom at thy gates and rest 
For Earth's down-trodden and opprest, 
A shelter for the hunted head, 
For the starved laborer toil and bread. 
      Power, at thy bounds,  35
Stops and calls back his baffled hounds. 
Oh, fair young mother! on thy brow 
Shall sit a nobler grace than now. 
Deep in the brightness of the skies 
The thronging years in glory rise,  40
      And, as they fleet, 
Drop strength and riches at thy feet. 
Thine eye, with every coming hour, 
Shall brighten, and thy form shall tower; 
And when thy sisters, elder born,  45
Would brand thy name with words of scorn, 
      Before thine eye, 
Upon their lips the taunt shall die. 

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