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 He's whittling by St. Mary's Falls,
Upon his loaded wain;
He's measuring o'er the Pictured Rocks,
With eager eyes of gain.
I hear the mattock in the mine,
The axe-stroke in the dell,
The clamor from the Indian lodge,
The Jesuit chapel bell!
I see the swarthy trappers come
From Mississippi's springs;
And war-chiefs with their painted brows,
And crests of eagle wings.
Behind the scared squaw's birch canoe,
The steamer smokes and raves;
And city lots are staked for sale
Above old Indian graves.
I hear the tread of pioneers
Of nations yet to be;
The first low wash of waves, where soon
Shall roll a human sea.
The rudiments of empire here
Are plastic yet and warm;
The chaos of a mighty world
Is rounding into form!
Each rude and jostling fragment soon
Its fitting place shall find,—
The raw material of a State,
Its muscle and its mind!
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