Joel Barlow

(24 March 1754 – 26 December 1812 / Redding, Connecticut)

On The Discoveries Of Captain Lewis (January 14, 1807)


Let the Nile cloak his head in the clouds, and defy
The researches of science and time;
Let the Niger escape the keen traveller's eye,
By plunging or changing his clime.

Columbus! not so shall thy boundless domain
Defraud thy brave sons of their right;
Streams, midlands, and shorelands elude us in vain.
We shall drag their dark regions to light.

Look down, sainted sage, from thy synod of Gods;
See, inspired by thy venturous soul,
Mackenzie roll northward his earth-draining floods,
And surge the broad waves to the pole.

With the same soaring genius thy Lewis ascends,
And, seizing the car of the sun,
O'er the sky-propping hills and high waters he bends,
And gives the proud earth a new zone.

Potowmak, Ohio, Missouri had felt
Half her globe in their cincture comprest;
His long curving course has completed the belt,
And tamed the last tide of the west.

Then hear the loud voice of the nation proclaim,
And all ages resound the decree:
Let our occident stream bear the young hero's name,
Who taught him his path to the sea.

These four brother floods, like a garland of flowers,
Shall entwine all our states in a band
Conform and confederate their wide-spreading powers,
And their wealth and their wisdom expand.

From Darien to Davis one garden shall bloom,
Where war's weary banners are furl'd,
And the far scenting breezes that waft its perfume,
Shall settle the storms of the world.

Then hear the loud voice of the nation proclaim
And all ages resound the decree:
Let our occident stream bear the young hero's name,
Who taught him his path to the sea.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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