Westward Ho!

A poem by John Campbell

Away to the west! Westward ho! Westward ho!
Where over the prairies the summer winds blow!

Why known to so few were its rivers and plains,
Where rustle so tall in their ripeness the grains?
The bison and Red-men alone cared to roam
O'er realms that to millions must soon give a home;
The vast fertile levels Old Time loved to reap
The haymaker's song hath awakened from sleep.

Away to the West! Westward ho! Westward ho!
Why waited we fearing to plant and to sow?

Not ours was the waiting! By God was ordained
The hour when the ocean's grey steeds were up-reined,
And green marshes rose, and the bittern's abode
Became the Lone Land where the wild hunter strode,
And soils with grass harvests grew rich, and the clime
For us was prepared in the fulness of Time!

Away to the West! Westward ho! Westward ho!
For us 'twas prepared long ago, long ago!
There came from the Old World at last o'er the sea,
The bravest and best to this land of the free;
And, leal to their flag, won the fruits of the earth
By might that has given new nations a birth,
But found in our North-land a bride to be known
More worthy than all of the love of the throne.
Away to the West! Westward ho! Westward ho!
God's hand is our guide; 'tis His will that we go!

To lands yet more happy than Europe's, for here
We mould the young nation for Freedom to rear.
Full strongly we build, and have nought to pull down,
For, true to ourselves, we are true to the Crown;
The will of the people its honour shows forth,
As pole-star, whose radiance points steadfastly north.

Away to the West! Westward ho! Westward ho!
Where rooted in Freedom shall Liberty grow!

Right good is the loam that for five score of days
Its rolling lands show, or its plains' scented ways:
Nor used is the pick, if the earth has concealed
The waters it keeps for the house and the field;
The spade finds enough, until burst on the sight
Our Rocky Sierras' sweet rivers of light.

Away to the West! Westward ho! Westward ho!
From mountains and lakes there the great rivers flow!

If told of Brazil or great Mexico's gold,
Of Cotton States' warmth and of Canada's cold,
Go say how we prize, like the ore of the mine,
The snows sapphire-shadowed in winter's sunshine;
--Our gayest of seasons! which guards the good soil
For races who won it through faith and through toil.

Away to the West! Westward ho! Westward ho!
Bright sparkles its winter, and light is its snow!

There gaily, in measureless meadows, all day
The sun and the breeze with the grass are at play,
In billows that never can break as they pass,
But toss the gold foam of the flower-laden grass,
The bright yellow disks of the asters upcast
On waves that in blossoms flow silently past.

Away to the West! Westward-ho! Westward ho!
Where over the prairies the summer winds blow.

The West for you, boys! where our God has made room
For field and for city, for plough and for loom.
The West for you, girls! for our Canada deems
Love's home better luck than a gold-seeker's dreams.
Away! and your children shall bless you, for they
Shall rule o'er a land fairer far than Cathay.

Away to the West! Westward ho! Westward ho!
Thou God of their fathers, Thy blessing bestow!

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