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A BALLAD OF INDIANA FOR THE FAIRS OF ‘FIFTY-SEVEN.’ *
Scarce half a century ago, when Nature’s dewy sheen
Gemmed the forest which o’erspread our State, a sea of living green,
When down the vales, and o’er the hills, the dense and tangled wild
Was of human kind the covert only of her wandering child,-
Then thy genius, AGRICULTURE! summoned forth a chosen band,
And bade them, like the Heaven-led Jews, go up and take the land.
And the forest fell before them, slowly, as the years rolled by,
And the waving meads and cornfields widened far beneath the sky;
For many seasons harsh and lone, they wrestled with their lot,
Winning the Paradise of Home from many a rugged spot;
Till the wild-wood and the Indian passed like a dream away,
As Labor’s early dawning hastened to the rising day.
Now, thy genius, Agriculture! In our midst has reared his throne,
And, crowned by Autumn, calls his hosts his peaceful sway to own:
And lo! The thousands gathering from their countless household fires!
From the trooping sun-burned urchins, to the hoary-headed sires,-
Youths graceful as the poplar rising in the forest shade—
Maidens fairer than the flowers that bedeck the virgin glade—
The gathers and the mothers who now sustain the land—
And their country’s future hope and stay, the rising youthful band.
As the gracious Father’s minister, they hail the genius blest,
And welcome in his empire o’er the grand and glorious West;
And with hearts of joy and gratitude, unto his shrine they bring
The past and present seasons’ spoils, a free-will offering.
And in proud anticipation, they invoke the glorious day
When a free domestic Commerce shall crown his later sway,
And the eager Iron Courser the mutual spoils convey:
And they bless the GOD OF SEASONS for all their blissful fate,
And they pray that through the future, as now, throughout the State,
Health and Peace and Plenty may ever repose at every gate
* Revised from the Indiana Farmer (Richmond), for October, 1852.
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