Saturday, May 19, 2012

California: From Another Age

The following concludes Literature Reader: Sixth Year, edited by Leroy E. Armstrong, a sixth-grade reader from 1916 used in California at least through the mid-1920s. This weblog post is inspired today in part because I read the news from my home state, in part because I posted a new "cover" for my Facebook page featuring a postcard of downtown Los Angeles from the early '60s, and in part because I was thinking of essential things I learned in (California's public) schools that simply aren't taught any longer. Those were the days, my friends, and they seem long gone...


(Poets, dramatists, and historians are quite as useful and helpful to society as are wonder-workers in plants. John Steven McGroarty has served the people of California well by writing the Mission Play—a highly interesting portrayal of the days when California was owned by Spain. Mr. McGroarty has also written a pleasing book entitled California: Its History and Romance. The introduction to this book is a poem that is a worthy tribute to California. The author’s love for our beautiful State is felt in every line.)

’Twixt the seas and the deserts,
    ’Twixt the wastes and the waves,
Between the sands of buried lands
    And ocean’s coral caves,
It lies not East nor West,
    But like a scroll unfurled,
Where the hand of God hath hung it,
    Down the middle of the world.

It lies where God hath spread it,
    In the gladness of His eyes,
Like a flame of jeweled tapestry
    Beneath His shining skies;
With the green of woven meadows,
    And the hills in golden chains,
The light of leaping rivers,
    And the flash of poppied plains.

Days rise that gleam in glory,
    Days die with sunset’s breeze,
While from Cathay that was of old
    Sail countless argosies;
Morns break again in splendor
    O’er the giant, new-born West,
But of all the lands God fashioned,
    ’Tis this land is the best.

Sun and dews that kiss it,
    Balmy winds that blow,
The stars in clustered diadems
    Upon its peaks of snow;
The mighty mountains o’er it,
    Below, the white seas swirled—
Just California stretching down
    The middle of the world.

Hat tip to Jerry Pournelle at Chaos Manor.

No comments: