Atlantida

The passing centuries the secret kept.

But Plato saw it dimly when beside

The Ægean Sea, he gazed upon the shadows

Falling softly on Hymettus' peak,

And spake mysterious words with restless waves

That groaned beneath his feet. He knew the name

Of this last child of Time, destined to be

The Future's bride, where dwells eternal spring;

And called it fair Atlantis.

But God thought best to give the mighty task

To Latin men, the race that tamed the world,

And fought its greatest battles.

And when the hour was struck, Columbus came

Upon a ship that bore the fate of Man,

And westward made his way.

The wild tumultuous Ocean hurled against

The tiny Latin ship the black north wind,

While whirlwinds roaring fiercely rode astride

The lightning's blood-red steed.

Forward the vessel moved, and broke the seal

Of Mystery; and fair Atlantis woke

At last, to find her in a dreamer's arms!

Often the victor over thrones and crowns,

The restless spirit of the ancient race

Had found fulfilment of its noblest dream, —

Abundant space and light in distant zones!

With armor newly forged, nor dragging now

The blood-stained winding-sheet of a dead past,

Nor weighted down by blackest memories,

Once more it ventured forth in eager quest

Of liberty and glory.

Before it lay a vast, unconquered world.

Here, resting on the sea, 'neath tropic skies,

And bathed in the white light of rising dawn,

The Antilles lift their heads, like scattered birds

That utter plaintive cries,

And dry their snowy wings that they may fly

To other, distant shores.

Here rises Mexico above two seas,

A granite tower that even yet would seem

To spy the Spanish fleet as it draws near

Across the Aztec gulf;

And over there Colombia, lulled to sleep

By the deep roar of Tequendama's fall,

Within its bosom hides unfailing wealth.

Hail, happy zone! Oh fair, enchanted land,

Beloved child of the creative sun

And teeming home of animated life,

The birthplace of the great Bolivar, — hail!

In thee, Venezuela, all is great:

The flashing stars that light thee from above;

Thy genius and thy noble heroism,

Which with volcanic force and deafening crash

Burst forth on San Mateo's lofty peak!

Outstretched below the Andes' mighty chain,

Like one who weeps above an open grave,

The Incas' Rome doth lie.

Its sword was broken in the bloody strife,

And in obscurity its face was sunk.

But still Peru doth live!

For in a virile race

Defeat doth spell a new, a nobler life.

And when propitious toil, which heals all wounds,

Shall come to thee at last,

And when the sun of justice shines again

After long days of weeping and of shame,

The ripening grain shall paint with flowers of gold

The crimson cloak that o'er thy shoulder floats.

Bolivia, namesake of the giant born

At Mount Avila's foot,

Hath kept his lively wit and valiant heart,

With which to face the storm and stress of life.

It dreams of war today; but also dreams

Of greater things, when 'stead of useless guns,

The engines made of steel

Shall boldly bridge the vales and scale the hills.

And Chile, strong in war and strong in toil,

Hangs its avenging arms upon the wall,

Convinced that victory by brutal strength

Is vain and empty if it be not right.

And Uruguay, although too fond of strife,

The sweet caress of progress ever seeks;

Brazil, which feels the Atlantic's noisy kiss,

With greater freedom were a greater state;

And now the blessed land,

The bride of glory, which the Plata bathes

And which the Andean range alone doth bound!

Let all arise, for 'tis our native land,

Our own, our native land, which ever sought

Sublime ideals. Our youthful race was lulled

E'en in the cradle by immortal hymns,

And now it calls, to share its opulence,

All those who worship sacred liberty,

The fair handmaid of science, progress, art. . . .

Our country turns its back on savage war,

And casts away the fratricidal sword,

That it may bind upon its haughty brow

A wreath of yellow wheat,

Lighter to wear than any golden crown...

The sun of ultimate redemption shines

On our beloved land, which strides ahead

To meet the future, and with noble mien

Offers the Plata's overflowing cup

To all the hungry nations. . . .

Author of original: 
Olegario Victor Andrade
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