Ode to Chesapeake Bay
Thou Ocean Bay!
Though now with sails unfurl'd,
Collecting from the mighty deep,
Over thy curling waters sweep
The fleets of half the world;
There was a day,
Nor distant far the time,
When in thy solitude sublime,
Save light canoe by artless savage plied,
No sail was ever seen to skim thy billowy tide.
Though now thy shores are crown'd
With grassy lawns and fields of grain,
That smile and cheer the laboring swain,
And songs go blithely round,
That well bespeak
How pleasant joys may flow;
Yet two short centuries ago
No human voice was here, save savage yell,
And dark upon thy wave the forest shadows fell,
Mother of waters---
Thy noble streams did glide
Beneath a woody canopy,
Through countless years; and bright and free,
And lovely by thy side,
As beauteous daughters,
They lift their voice on high,
And clap their hands as they go by
Proud Baltimore's rich monuments and domes,
Columbia's palace-halls, and Richmond's patriot homes.
This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.