A Man Without a Country Essays

“Breathes there the man”
Sir Walter Scott
From “The Lay of the Last Minstrel,” Canto Sixth

II

O Caledonia! Stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! What mortal hand
Can e’er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Still as I view each well-known scene,
Think what is now, and what hath been,
Seems as, to me of all bereft,
Sole friends thy woods and streams were left:
And thus I love them better still,
Even in extremity of ill.
By Yarrow’s streams still let me stray,
Though none should guide my feeble way;
Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break,
Although it chill my wither’d cheek;
Still lay my head by Teviot Stone,
Though there, forgotten and alone,
The Bard may draw his parting groan
B.B.’s version

O Wyoming! Stern and Wild
Where independent child meets herd of cattle.
Land of brown grass, land of sagebrush, land of mountains and valleys.
Land of my fathers!
What hand can take me away from my family ties that keep me here.
Still as I look upon the mountains every day,
I think about what they looked like ages ago.
The woods and streams have changed, but I love them still.
The Tongue River still leads me along its winding way.
Though none will guide my wandering mind
Like the flight of an eagle against the azure sky.
I still feel the breeze down Star Valley,
Although it chilled my wind-whipped face!
I lay by Steam Boat Rock forgotten and alone,
The poet may draw her parting groan.  
L.W.’s version

O Wyoming! free and wild,
Meet nurse for nature’s child!
Land of sagebrush and evergreen wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my friends! what mortal hand
Can e’er untie friendship’s band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Still as I view each well-known scene,
Think what is now, and what hath been,
Seems as, to me of all bereft,
Sole friends thy woods and streams were left;
And thus I love them better still,
Even in extremity of ill.
By mountain streams still let me stray,
Though none should guide my feeble way;
Still feel the breeze down Tongue River break,
Although it chill my wither’d cheek;
Still lay my head by Irish Spring,
For there, before the King,
The girl may at her parting sing.
G.B.’s version

O Wyoming! Brave and Bold
Many a great story thou hast told.
Land of brown buffalo and quiet streams
Land of great mountains and the American dream.
A place of open prairie.  A place with bountiful berries.
A place that knows no sadness.
Where all that lives is gladness
As I view each  heartfelt scene
I never want to look at a computer screen.
What looks to some tourists as indescribable
When staring with awe, but is it believable?
And thus it pains me so much more.
When I see someone walk through the door
That think of Wyoming not that great.
But dares to say, “She takes the cake.”
Feel the chilly wind on a cold winter’s day.
Still the residents stay quite gay.
With their smiles they feel so warm.
Even though the snowstorm
Is roaring like a political platform.  
L.J.W.’s version

O Wyoming! Beauty in wild,
Meet nurse for a sturdy child,
Land of purple sage and shady trees
Land of the mountain, and now thou sees
Land of my youth!  What mortal hand
Can e’er untie the strengthened band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Still as I view each well-known scene,
Think what is now, and what hath been,
Seems as, to me of all bereft,
Sole friends thy woods and streams were left;
And thus I love them better still,
Even in extremity of ill.
By willow streams still let me stray,
Though none should guide my feeble way;
Still feel the breeze down Hidden Hill break,
Although it chill my wither’d cheek;
Still gaze at a giant peak,
But now I am ready for death,
Only then can the Bard draw her parting breath . . .

 

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