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Agriculture of the Torrid Zone
An Electronic Edition

Andrés Bello 1781-1865

Original Source: Hispanic Anthology Collected and Arranged by Thomas Walsh. New York: G. P. Putnam's Son, 1920, 390-394.

Copyright 2003. This text is freely available provided the text is distributed with the header information provided.

Full Colophon Information

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!–5.
In spring thou bindst her garlands of the ears      
Of richest corn; thou giv'st the grape      
Unto the sopping casé; no form nor shape      
Of purple, red or yellow flower appears      
Unknown to thy soft bowers;10.
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, 15.
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 20.
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; 25.
Thy plant of indigo such hues afford      
As ne'er from out the sapphire's heart looked through      
Thine is the wine the piercéd agave stores      
To glad Anahuac's joyous sons; and thine      
The fragrant leaf whose gentle steaming pours30.
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 35.
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 40.
Its rose of gold and snowy fleece prepares.      
Within thy hand the passiflower blooms      
In branches of far-showing green      
And thy sarmentum's twining fronds afford 44.
Nectarean globes and stripéd 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 –49.
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, 54.
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 59.
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!63.
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, 68.
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! 73.
"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,–78.
In Maipu and in Junin sublime,–      
On Apurima's glorious plain,      
Did triumph o'er the lion of old Spain      

–Thomas Walsh