Berton Braley’s poem reminded me of something else I’ve been meaning to blog about for quite some time: The Old North State Toast. How many of you had to memorize this in school? I did, but I have to admit that I wouldn’t do very well at reciting it right now (though in the past I could name all 100 counties and their county seats—which, by the way, is a party trick that only scares people). So, here’s a bit of information on the toast.
It was written by Leonora Monteiro Martin of Raleigh. She penned the original words for a banquet of the North Carolina Society of Richmond, Virginia, in 1904. The toast became very popular, but it didn’t become the official state toast until the General Assembly named it as such on May 21, 1957.
Part of the toast is reproduced in the image above, but we’ll include the whole thing below. Memorize it and impress your friends at the next party you attend.
The Old North State Toast
Here’s to the land of the Long Leaf Pine,
The Summer Land, where the sun doth shine;
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great—
Here’s to “Down Home,” the Old North State!
Here’s to the land of the cotton bloom white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
Where the soft Southern moss and jessamine mate,
‘Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!
Here’s to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron’s rosette glows;
Where soars Mount Mitchell’s summit great,
In the “Land of the Sky,” in the Old North State!
Here’s to the land where maidens are fair,
Where friends are true, and cold hearts are rare,
The near land, the dear land, whatever fate,
The blest land, the best land, the Old North State!