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It is as well the soil for human greatness,
The atmosphere of highest, noblest virtue.
Its solitude has nursed the poet's fancy,
The martyr's faith, the hero's stout resolve,
And Socrates, St. Paul and Galileo
Found here the source of their immortal thoughts.
When Truth and Courage thrill the bosom's cells,
When Love of God distends the heart's confines.
The gates give way, the circling walls are rent,
The unchecked spirit vaults the frail barrier,
And like an eagle, free and high in air.
It soars aloft to reach the source of Light.
In prison! ah! and bear I not as well
A precious, priceless germ within my breast
That I may propagate and fondly cherish
Beneath this thought-inspiring atmosphere.
Till it attain a higher, fuller growth,—
The conscious, deep, all-sacrificing love
For this, my country, which e'en now has spread
A tangled network through my veins and feelings?
As fairest blooms the lovely hyacinth
That charms our eye in winter's frosty clime.
When nursed beneath the tepid cellar-air,
So also my ideal shall germinate
From here to joy my winter through its bloom.
This prison—Heaven record my vow—shall be
The place of birth of Texan Liberty.