in Songs of the Press.
DRIVING THE LAST SPIKE, 1869.
Under the desert sky the spreading multitude was called to order. There followed a solemn prayer of thanksgiving. The laurel tie was placed, amidst ringing cheers. The golden spike was set. The trans-American telegraph wire was adjusted. Amid breathless silence the silver hammer was lifted, poised, dropped, giving the gentle tap that ticked the news to all the world! Then, blow on blow, Governor Stanford sent the spike to place! A storm of wild huzzas burst forth; desert rock and sand, plain and mountain, echoed the conquest of their terrors. The two engines moved up, touched noses; and each in turn crossed the magic tie. America was belted! The great Iron Way was finished.
SARAH PRATT CARR,
in The Iron Way.
THE SPIRIT OF THE WEST.
All wearied with the burdens of a place
Grown barren, over-crowded and despoiled
Of vital freshness by the weight of years.
A sage ascended to the mountain tops
To peer, as Moses once had done of old,
Into the distance for a Promised Land:
And there, his gaze toward the setting sun.
Beheld the Spirit of the Occident,
Bold, herculean, in its latent strength—
A youthful destiny that beckoned on
To fields all vigorous with natal life.
The years have passed; the sage has led a band
Of virile, sturdy men into the West.
And these have toiled and multiplied and stamped
Upon the face of Nature wondrous things.
Until, created from the virgin soil,
Great industries arise as monuments
To their endeavor; and a mighty host
Now labors in a once-untrodden waste—
Quick-pulsed with life-blood, from a heart that throbs
Its vibrant dominance throughout the world.
Today, heroic in the sunset’s glow,
A figure looms, colossal and serene.
In royal power of accomplishment,
That claims the gaze of nations over sea
And beckons, still, as in the years agone.
The weary ones of earth to its domain—
That they may drink from undiluted founts
An inspiration of new energy.
LOUIS J. STELLMAN,
in Sunset Magazine, August, 1903.
The hills are gleaming brass, and bronze the peaks,
The mesas are a brazen, molten sea,
And e’en the heaven’s blue infinity,
Undimmed by kindly cloud through arid weeks,
Seems polished turquoise. Like a sphinx she speaks,
The scornful desert: “What would’st thou from me?”
And in our hearts we answer her; all three
Unlike, for each a different treasure seeks.
One sought Adventure, and the desert gave;