Poem "Our Beautiful Historic Florida" by R.R. Riley, principal of Zephyrhills High School

Poem "Our Beautiful Historic Florida" by R.R. Riley, principal of Zephyrhills High School


Our Beautiful Historic Florida
Dedicated to the Florida Public Schools for National Education Week,
November 18-24, 1923
By R.R. Riley, Zephyrhills High School

[left column]
Touch the cycle O State! Thy tender tread,
Is soft on the hearts of they hallowed dead,
And thou stand proudly where thy sons have bled,
For God and Florida.
Where the love of her women set the seal,
Of warriors faith for the country's weal
With rifle on shoulder and hand on wheel.
Altars of Florida.
Then woke the alarm, DeSoto assailed,
Indian camps, marshes, they ne'er had quailed,
Had "The Sword of the Lord-Gideon" failed,
Would they pass'd Florida?
Tequestas, Caloosas, Apalachee,
Such names in Dictionaries we ne'er see,
Muscogees, Seminoles, Creeks - war-like tribes
Hunted in Florida.
The Chattahoochee, Caloosahatchee
Ap-a-lach-i-co-la, Choc-taw-hatch-ee
Tells Indian love beautiful! Mi-am-i?
Rivers of Florida.

They have built it well for the niche of fame,
Through the sleet of want and the heat of blame,
The courage of her heroes tried the flame,
As they built Florida.
Up in the portholes, and down in the dust,
Not the weight of might, but the force of must,
With faith in love, and rifle free from dust,
They won our Florida.
Well did they build for the race yet unborn,
As Spaniards wandered through the trackless marsh,
The birth pang of who controlled? Rang out harsh!
They yelled Florida.
Up in the saddle, and off to the fight,
Arrows shrieked, tomahawks flashed in the light,
But the pioneer's news won the right,
The Forts of Florida.
Jackson conquered, victories followed fast,
For his men were steel in the leaden blast,
Daring was born in each bullet they cast,
While he held Florida.
Parson and warrior each fought the same,
They were as one in heart and one in name.
Lead and arrows sown, the violets came,
To bloom in Florida.
She was bartered for Havana by Spain,
To England's proud realm for colony fame,
Thanks to our God we have her back again,
Beautiful Florida.
Co-a-cooch-ee, Talmas Hadjoe the chiefs,

Prisoned in Marion, as escaped foes,
Thin and gaunt of flesh-the cause-no one knows,
Heroes of Florida.
Oh! How rugged the past our hearts invoke,
Osceola's sturdy life then awoke,
To clarion tones of a wild Hussah!
Rang new through Florida.
She gave of her life for the stars and bars,
As she did of her sons of early wars,
The breast of her motherhood wears the scars-
Manhood of Florida.
She gave of her all that she held most dear,
With a Spartan hope, with a Spartan fear,
Her statehood wore the crown of royal peer,
Glorious Florida.
She was trued when passed like shadowy fate,

[right column]
Her haughty foes, pressed at her unbarred gate,
And as true, when menaced her Rights of State,
Our proud old Florida.
Drums beating-muster bugles sadly trill,
Yankee troops came marching from Jacksonville,
Olustee monument a story tells,
Bravely of Florida Department of State
History, Poetry, Marble, and Brass,
Give eternal memories of the past,
She has forever joined the nation fast,
Great State of Florida.

In face of defeat, and a yielded right,
She has wrought again with great strength of might,
Her products and timbers from mills at night,
Wonderful Florida Department of State
The bones of her sons lie bleaching afar,
From Spain to Belgium 'neath the bright star,
In beauty of peace! In valor of war!
Always is Florida.
Watson came and along our streams did hum,
While wandering our lakes in woods did roam,
Wrote Suwannee to "My Old Folks at Home.
River of Florida.
Other tourists thousands yearly abound,
Even Harding, Edison, Ford are found,
Mid royal palms they play o'er golfer's ground,
Enjoying Florida.
Ponce de Leon and Ponciana.
No other state has greater howe-er far,
For pleasure Hunt and millionaire golfer,
Hotels of Florida.
There the name of Clark, starred his country's shield,
Here Senate and House with signet have sealed,
While Trammel and Fletcher both far afield,
Are from our Florida.
In her orange groves prettier far than gold,
Who can guess how much wealth they will unfold,
Fruit! Flowers! Palms! The half has ne'er been told,
Of our great Florida.
Phosphates of her mines to the world doth give,

For big crops afar that others may live,
To foreign - sister states, could Ford e'er give
Better than Florida?
Prowling Catts doth travel close to the track,
Of John Martin's chivalrous soul here and back,
His howls seem to be greater than his whack.
We vote in Florida.
Now our Legislature. Did Flagler buy?
So Collier too? Do tell the reasons why?
The state is not for sale, no one need try.
Never in Florida.
Round the circle a true tale I have told.
The circle is iron the sun of gold.
The Palm and the lake such beauty unfold.
How I love Florida.
Fine flowers are grown for beauty from dust,
On the big ships our goods we always trust.
Indian girl is not lust, "In God we trust,
The seal of Florida.
Now the garments gleam in the sunlit years.
The songs of her school children fill her ears.
the listening heart of the great world hears,
Beautiful Florida.
-R.R. Riley, Principal High School, Zephyrhills, Fla.
Copyrighted 1923
State papers please publish for national Education week,
November 18-24, 1923.


State Library of Florida: Florida Collection, BR0063


Poem about Florida written to honor National Education Week (1923).