THE AGRICULTURE OF THE TORRID ZONE
Hail to thee, fertile zone,—
Where the enamored sun in daily round
Enfolds thee, where beneath thy kisses shows
All that each various climate grows,
Brought forth from out thy ground!—
In-spring thou bindst her garlands of the ears
Of richest corn; thou giv'st the grape
Unto the sopping cask; no form nor shape
Of purple, red or yellow flower appears
Unknown to thy soft bowers;
The odors of thy thousand flowers
The wind's delight afford;
Across thy pasture sward
The countless flocks go grazing from the plain,
Whose only boundary the horizon sets,
Unto the surging mountains, where
Lifting the snows into the inaccessible air
They hold their parapets.
Thou givest, too, the beauty of the cane
Where honey sweet is stored
That leaves the beehive in disdain;
Thou in thy coral urns bring'st forth the bean
Which soon in chocolate in the cup is poured;
With blaze of scarlet are thy nopals seen
Such as the Tyrian sea-shell never knew;
Thy plant of indigo such hues afford
As ne'er from out the sapphire's heart looked through.
Thine is the wine the pierced agave stores
To glad Anahuac's joyous sons; and thine
The fragrant leaf whose gentle steaming pours
With solace when their hearts aweary pine.
Thy jasmines clothe the Arab brush,
Whose perfumes rare the savage rage refine
And cool the Bacchic flush;
And for the children of thy land
The stately palm-tree's fronds are far displayed
And the ambrosial pineapple's shade.
The yucca-tree holds forth its snowy breads;
And ruddy glow the broad potato beds;
The cotton bush to greet the lightest airs
Its rose of gold and snowy fleece prepares.
Within thy hands the passiflower blooms
In branches of far-showing green;
And thy sarmentum's twining fronds afford
Nectarean globes and striped flowers' perfumes.
For thee the maize, the haughty lord
Of all thy ripened harvests, high is seen;
For thee the rich banana's heavy tree
Displays its sweetest store—
The proud banana, richest treasury
That Providence in bounteousness could pour
With gracious hand on Ecuador!
It asks no human culture for its aid,
Ere its first fruits are displayed,
Nor with the pruning-knife nor plough it shares
The honorable harvest that it bears.
Not even the slightest care it needs
Of pious hands about it shed,
And to its ripeness so it speeds
That hardly is it harvested,
Ere a new crop is ripened in its stead.
Oh, youngest of the nations, lift your brow
Crowned with new laurels in the marveling West!
Give honor to the fields, the simple life endow,
And hold the plains and modest farmer blest!
So that among you evermore shall reign
Fair Liberty enshrined,
Ambition modified, and Law composed,
Thy people's paths immortal there to find
Not fickle nor in vain!—
So emulous Time shall see disclosed
New generations and new names of might,
Blazing in highest light
Beside your heroes old!
"These are my sons! Behold!"—
(You shall declare amain)—
"Sons of the fathers who did climb
The Andes' peaks in years agone,—
Of those who great Boyaca's sands upon,—
In Maipu and in Junin sublime,—
On Apurima's glorious plain,
Did triumph o'er the lion of old Spain!"
Translation by Thomas Walsh