- In that half-forgotten era,
- With the avarice of old,
Seeking cities that were told
To be paved with solid gold
- In the kingdom of Quivera -
Came the restless Coronado
- To the open Kansas Plain
With his knights from sunny Spain;
In an effort, that, tho' vain,
- Thrilled with boldness and bravado.
League by league, in aimless marching,
- Knowing scarcely where or why,
Crossed they uplands drear and dry,
That an unprotected sky
- Had for centuries been parching.
But their expectations, eager,
- Found, instead of fruitful lands,
Shallow streams and shifting sands,
Where the buffalo in bands
- Roamed o'er deserts dry and meager.
Back to scenes more trite, more tragic,
- Marched the knights with armor'd steeds;
Not for them the quiet deeds;
Not for them to sow the seeds
- From which empires grow like magic.
Never land so stricken
- Could a Latin race remold;
They could conquer heat or cold -
Die for glory or for gold -
- But not make a desert quicken.
Thus Quivera was forsaken;
- And the world forgot the place,
Until centuries apace
Came the blue-eyed Saxon race,
- And it bid the desert waken.
And it bade the climate vary;
- And awaiting no reply
From the elements on high,
It with plows besieged the sky,
- Vexed the heavens with the prairie.
Then the vitreous sky relented,
- And the unacquainted rain
Fell upon the thirsty plain,
Whence had gone the knights of Spain,
- Disappointed, discontented.
Sturdy are the Saxon faces,
- As they move along in line;
Bright the rolling cutters shine,
Charging up the State's incline
- As an army storms a glacis.
Into loam the sand is melted,
- And the bluegrass takes the loam,
Round about the prairie home;
And the locomotives roam
- Over landscapes iron belted.
Cities grow where stunted birches
- Hugged the shallow water line,
And the deepening rivers twine
Past the factory and mine,
- Orchard slopes and schools and churches.
Deeper grows the soil and truer,
- More and more the prairie teems
With a fruitage as of dreams;
Clearer, deeper, flow the streams;
- Blander grows the sky, and bluer.
We have made the State of Kansas
- And to-day she stands complete -
First in freedom, first in wheat;
And her future years will meet
- Ripened hopes and richer stanzas.