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Poem by Bayard Taylor

America to Iceland

WE come, the children of thy Vinland,
  The youngest of the worlds high peers,
O land of steel, and song, and saga,
  To greet thy glorious thousand years!

Across that sea the son of Erik
  Dared with his venturous dragons prow;
From shores where Thorfinn set thy banner,
  Their latest children seek thee now.

Hail, mother-land of skalds and heroes,
  By love of freedom hither hurled,
Fire in their hearts as in thy mountains,
  And strength like thine to shake the world!

When war and ravage wrecked the nations,
  The bird of song made thee her home;
The ancient gods, the ancient glory,
  Still dwelt within thy shores of foam.

Here, as a fount may keep its virtue
  While all the rivers turbid run,
The manly growth of deed and daring
  Was thine beneath a scantier sun.

Set far apart, neglected, exiled,
  Thy children wrote their runes of pride,
With power that brings, in this thy triumph,
  The conquering nations to thy side.

What though thy native harps be silent,
  The chord they struck shall ours prolong:
We claim thee kindred, call thee mother,
  O land of saga, steel, and song!

Bayard Taylor

Bayard Taylor's other poems:
  1. The Return of the Goddess
  2. Gettysburg Ode
  3. To M. T.
  4. Daughter of Egypt
  5. Ariel in the Cloven Pine

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