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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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