To the West

Not to the crowded East,
Where, in a well-worn groove,
Like the harnessed wheel of a great machine,
The trammeled mind must move —
Where Thought must follow the fashion of Thought,
Or be counted vulgar and set at naught.

Not to the languid South,
Where the mariners of the brain
Are lured by the Sirens of the Sense,
And wrecked upon its main —
Where Thought is rocked, on the sweet wind's breath,
To a torpid sleep that ends in death.

But to the mighty West,
That chosen realm of God,
Where Nature reaches her hands to men,
And Freedom walks abroad —
Where mind is King, and fashion is naught:
There shall the New World look for thought.

To the West, the beautiful West,
She shall look, and not in vain —
For out of its broad and boundless store
Come muscle, and nerve, and brain.
Let the bards of the East and the South be dumb —
For out of the West shall the Poets come.

They shall come with souls as great
As the cradle where they were rocked;
They shall come with brows that are touched with fire,
Like the Gods with whom they have walked;
They shall come from the West in royal state,
The Singers and Thinkers for whom we wait.

I set out for the Land of Content,
By the gay crowded pleasure-highway,
With laughter, and jesting, I went
With the mirth-loving throng for a day;
Then I knew I had wandered astray,
For I met returned pilgrims, belated,
Who said, " We are weary and sated,
But we found not the Land of Content. "

I turned to the steep path of fame,
I said, " It is over yon height —
This land with the beautiful name —
Ambition will lend me its light. "
But I paused in my journey ere night,
For the way grew so lonely and troubled;
I said — my anxiety doubled —
" This is not the road to Content. "

Then I joined the great rabble and throng
That frequents the moneyed world's mart;
But the greed, and the grasping and wrong,
Left me only one wish — to depart.
And sickened, and saddened at heart,
I hurried away from the gateway,
For my soul and my spirit said straightway,
" This is not the road to Content. "

Then weary in body and brain,
An overgrown path I detected,
And I said " I will hide with my pain
In this by-way, unused and neglected. "
Lo! it led to the realm God selected
To crown with his best gifts of beauty,
And through the dark pathway of duty
I came to the land of Content.
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