The Pioneers

By Hannah Flagg Gould

Thy waves, proud OHIO, in majesty roll
Through banks with rich verdure and flowers filly dressed,
Like the strong tide of mind—like the bright flow of soul,
That heaves nobly on to the fair, blooming WEST.
Thy music is set to the motion of years,
Like thee, bearing down to a fathomless flood;
But ours, to the march of the bold PIONEERS,
Who purchased thy borders with peril and blood.
They fearless went forth where the red heathen foe
With tomahawk raised, as in ambush he lay,
And poison-tipped arrows to speed from his bow,
Concealed like a serpent, infested the way.
They saw the tall flame, when the council-fire glared
Along the deep gloom through the wilderness spread.
They heard the loud whoop, when the knife was prepared
Its trophy to cleave from the white victim’s head!
The apple tree then, ‘mid the trees of the wood,
They reared among savages human and brute,
And felled the dark forest around it that stood,
To let in the sun-beams, and ripen the fruit.
Their footsteps are traced by the lily and vine;
Where they lopped the boughs, stands the full-headed sheaf,
And here, from the pillow, the oil and the wine,
The weary find rest, and the wounded, relief.
Where all was in nature’s first wildness and night,
Till they ventured forth, an invincible band,
The SUN of eternity pours down his light—
The beauty of holiness spreads o’er the land!
Roll on, proud OHIO! and long as the voice,
That sounds from thy waters posterity hears,
‘T will come in bold numbers to hearts that rejoice,
In chorus responding, ‘The brave PIONEERS!’

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