O Mother Of A Mighty Race

by William Cullen Bryant

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"O Mother Of A Mighty Race"

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Last Updated on January 19, 2017, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 192

Context: Bryant praises America, the "mother of a mighty race." The older countries are jealous of the young nation's youthful health and energy, but their taunts are harmless, for "They do not know how loved thou art,/ How many a fond and fearless heart/ Would rise to throw/ Its life between thee and the foe." America is a nation full of "graceful maids" and "generous men." In this land of faith and truth, ". . . man is loved, and God is feared. . . ." It is a land of freedom, a "shelter for the hunted head." As the years pass, America will increase in riches, virtue, and glory, and her "form shall tower" over all her jealous neighbors. Bryant explains the jealousy of America's sister nations:

O mother of a mighty race,
Yet lovely in thy youthful grace!
The elder dames, thy haughty peers,
Admire and hate thy blooming years.
With words of shame
And taunts of scorn they join thy name.
For on thy cheeks the glow is spread
That tints thy morning hills with red;
Thy step–the wild-deer's rustling feet
Within thy woods are not more fleet;
Thy hopeful eye
Is bright as thine own sunny sky.

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