Doubtless you have heard the saying, Kansas lays a sorcerer's spell
Ever on her loyal children--how, or why, no man can tell.
You may leave her picture-prairies, you may wander far away,
But the hunger for returning gnaws the deeper day by day.
Looking backward to the fifties, I behold as in a dream,
Two strong tides of immigration--one a Puritanic stream
Comes from bleack, rock-bound New England, pledged to Liberty and Law,
Pouring in across the border, spreading out along the Kaw.
Cavalier the other current--up from Dixie land it flows,
With hereditary hatred of the Southland's northern foes.
Those would keep the land with Freedom, these would darken it with slaves--
Then came strife and war and carnage, and a multitude of graves.
Peace at last--and with it progress, growth and greatness unexcelled!
Never stranger necromancy has the wondering world beheld.
Settlers came from every quarter--since the Promised Land was free;
Illinois her quota furnished; Texas, too, and Tennessee;
Others hailed from Massachusetts, from Ohio and New York--
With the oft-recurring visits of the legendary stork--
Till, by constant, swift accretion, there was built a splendid state,
Railroad banded, tilled and tended by a people brave and great.
Homes sprang up like prairie daisies, and a schoolhouse blossomed near;
There a church adorns the landscape, jewel cities cluster here.
Vales are rich, and fields are fruitful; all the green hills shout for joy,
From Olathe to St. Francis, and from Syracuse to Troy.
Yesterday, while I was musing on the scenes of long ago,
I collected, in my fancy, many a valued curio
Illustrating Kansas history--in the old days and the new--
And I found their name was legion; I have labeled just a few:
Cross, set up by Coronado, and the Spanish flag he bore
On the march to find Quivera--back three hundred years or more;
John Brown relics--that were gathered when his troops were overborne
In the fight at Harper's Ferry--one a Bible, old and worn;
One long-bladed, rusty saber that for Jennison was made,
And an old spur, dropped by Quantrell in the bloody Lawrence raid;
Buffalo Bill's unerring rifle, and his flowing, raven locks,
And a pair of Jerry Simpson's carefully secreted socks;
Some Missouri cannon captured by Jim Lane in early days;
Specimens of "fiat money," just to illustrate the craze;
Copies, too, of caustic tirades by the ranting Mary Lease--
She was Kansas' stormy petrel--not the turtle dove of peace;
Carpet sweeper made of whiskers Populistic Peffer wore;
One hot "roast" served up by Ingalls--Voorhees never called for more;
Temperance speech St. John had written, with his autograph thereon:
Carrie Nation's hatchet buried in a broken demijohn;
Bolo, given to General Funston when that gallant Kansan went
On a mission for his country into Aguinaldo's tent.
'Tis a land of sharp surprise, 'tis a land of wide extremes--
There are happenings in Kansas that elsewhere are only dreams.
She was born in throes volcanic, she was molded into form--
Lashed by forces elemental as the whirlwind and the storm.
Like the tough and knotted cedar, clinging firmly to the rock,
Every blast has made her stronger to withstand another shock.
As the state is, so her people--as the commonwealth, her men;
They have character and fiber, "crushed to earth they rise again."
Tested in war's hot alembic, tried by famine, drouth and flood!
They have vital strength and valor--there is iron in their blood!
'Twixt us and the emerald prairies of the old home far away
Rise the immemorial mountains, stretch the deserts, dim and gray;
But our thoughts, like homing pigeons, cleave the blue, autumnal air--
Messages of kindly greeting to the dear old friends they bear.
Arizona having entered our great nation's banquet hall
Through the open door of statehood, former Kansans, one and all,
Much rejoice that she is given--though a guest that cometh late--
Place of honor at the table close beside the Sunflower State.