In our post about the famous Prescottonian pioneer woman Sharlot Hall, we talked about her poem that helped save the state of Arizona. We wanted to post that poem here.


by Sharlot M. Hall, published in 1910

No beggar she in the mighty hall where her bay-crowned sisters wait,
No empty-handed pleader for the right of a free-born state.
No child, with a child’s insistence, demanding a gilded toy,
But a fair-browed, queenly woman, strong to create or destroy—
Wise for the need of the sons she has bred in the school where weaklings fail,
Where cunning is less than manhood, and deeds, not words, avail—
With the high, unswerving purpose that measures and overcomes,
And the faith in the Farthest Vision that builded her hard-won homes.

Link her, in her clean-proved fitness, in her right to stand alone—
Secure for whatever future in the strength that her past has won—
Link her, in her morning beauty, with another, however fair?
And open your jealous portal and bid her enter there
With shackles on wrist and ankle, and dust on her stately head,
And her proud eyes dim with weeping? No! Bar your doors instead
And seal them fast forever! but let her go her way—
Uncrowned if you will, but unshackled, to wait for a larger day.

Ay! Let her go bare-handed, bound with no grudging gift,
Back to her own free spaces where her rock-ribbed mountains lift
Their walls like a sheltering fortress—back to her house and blood.
And we of her blood will go our way and reckon your judgment good.
We will wait outside your sullen door till the stars you wear grow dim
As the pale dawn-stars that swim and fade o’er our mighty Cañon’s rim.
We will lift no hand for the bays ye wear, nor covet your robes of state—
But ah! by the skies above us all, we will shame ye while we wait!

We will make ye the mold of an empire here in the land ye scorn,
While ye drowse and dream in your well-housed ease that States at your nod are born.
Ye have blotted your own beginnings, and taught your sons to forget
That ye did not spring fat-fed and old from the powers that bear and beget.
But the while ye follow your smooth-made roads to a fireside safe of fears,
Shall come a voice from a land still young, to sing in your age-dulled ears
The hero song of a strife as fine as your fathers’ fathers knew,
When they dared the rivers of unmapped wilds at the will of a bark canoe—

The song of the deed in the doing, of the work still hot from the hand;
Of the yoke of man laid friendly-wise on the neck of a tameless land.
While your merchandise is weighing, we will bit and bridle and rein
The floods of the storm-rocked mountains and lead them down to the plain;
And the foam-ribbed, dark-hued waters, tired from that mighty race,
Shall lie at the feet of palm and vine and know their appointed place;
And out of that subtle union, desert and mountain-flood,
Shall be homes for a nation’s choosing, where no home else had stood.

We will match the gold of your minting, with its mint-stamp dulled and marred
By the tears and blood that have stained it and the hands that have clutched too hard,
With the gold that no man has lied for—the gold no woman has made
The price of her truth and honor, plying a shameless trade—
The clean, pure gold of the mountains, straight from the strong, dark earth,
With no tang or taint upon it from the hour of its primal birth.
The trick of the money-changer, shifting his coins as he wills,
Ye may keep—no Christ was bartered for the wealth of our lavish hills.

“Yet we are a little people—too weak for the cares of state!”
Let us go our way! When ye look again, ye shall find us, mayhap, too great.
Cities we lack—and gutters where children snatch for bread;
Numbers—and hordes of starvelings, toiling but never fed.
Spare pains that would make us greater in the pattern that ye have set;
We hold to the larger measure of the men that ye forget—
The men who, from trackless forests and prairies lone and far,
Hewed out the land where ye sit at ease and grudge us our fair-won star.

“There yet be men, my masters,” though the net that the trickster flings
Lies wide on the land to its bitter shame, and his cunning parleyings
Have deafened the ears of Justice, that was blind and slow of old.
Yet time, the last Great Judge, is not bought, or bribed, or sold;
And Time and the Race shall judge us—not a league of trafficking men,
Selling the trust of the people, to barter it back again;
Palming the lives of millions as a handful of easy coin,
With a single heart to the narrow verge where craft and statecraft join.

Ay! Let her go bare-handed,
bound with no grudging gift,
Back to her own free spaces
where her rock-ribbed mountains lift
Their walls like a sheltering fortress—
back to her house and blood.
And we of her blood will go our way
and reckon your judgment good.

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