Source: Niagara, and Other Poems
Source type: book
Document type: poem
Document title: “‘Hail to the Chief!’”
Author(s): Copeland, Benjamin
Publisher: Matthews-Northrup Works
Place of publication: Buffalo, New York
Year of publication: 1904
|Copeland, Benjamin. “‘Hail to the Chief!’” Niagara, and Other Poems. Buffalo: Matthews-Northrup Works, 1904: pp. 30-31.|
|William McKinley (at Pan-American Exposition: poetry); Pan-American Exposition (poetry).|
|“The above lines were written September 3, 1901, and printed the following afternoon in the Buffalo Commercial, an hour or two before President McKinley’s arrival in the city the evening before ‘President’s Day’ at the Pan-American Exposition” (author’s note, p. 31).|
“Hail to the Chief!”
Niagara-like the welcome which awaits
The Nation’s Chief, approaching now our gates;
From depths sincere the People’s joy shall pour
Like many waters thundering on the shore,
As to her heart her honored Guest she takes,—
The Town we love,—the Empress of the Lakes!
Nor ours alone the President to greet;—
The North, the South, the East, the West, here meet,—
Each Commonwealth contributing its share
Of honor due, beneath one banner fair:—
Brothers forevermore, from sea to sea,—
One country dear, one hope, one destiny!
Nor even here shall the wide welcome end;—
Beyond our bounds its ardour shall extend;
For neighboring Nations, each American,
Admire with us the President, the man!
And, sharing with delight the common feast,
Shall feel anew their noblest aims increased.
City of Light! Crown-jewel of our fame!
Throw wide your gates to him of blameless name;— 
With peerless pageant swell the rising tide
Of grateful joy and patriotic pride.
Rehearse the thrilling history once more:—
Manila’s bay and Santiago’s shore!
Let glowing dome and pennoned turret tell,
To God’s sole praise, the matchless miracle.
Nor fail to voice the Present’s mighty plan,
And justify the name American!
Saxon, or Latin-born,—we’re all one blood:—
The Exposition stands for brotherhood.
So may the morrow dawn,—so pass away,
In cheer prophetic of our widening sway;—
And when the evening’s deepening shadows fall,
And heaven’s sweet silence broodeth over all,
May the blest memories of the day be blent
In that fair Vision in mid-firmament,
The Tower of Light! Niagara’s flood in flame!
The radiant symbol of our Future’s fame:—
Pledge of an age whose light shall never cease,—
The boundless empire of the Prince of Peace!