Last week, we posted a story about “Of Earth and Atom,” a piece of music composed in 1962 to mark NC State’s 75th anniversary and the centennial of the signing of the Morrill Act, the legislation that established land-grant universities. For years, the composition was thought to have been destroyed in the 1965 fire at Pullen Hall, but it was recently found in the archives of D.H. Hill Library. Two NC State graduates are working to see if the composition can be performed again this year as NC State celebrates its 125th year. We went back and pulled the lyrics for you to read.
OF EARTH AND ATOM
M. THOMAS COUSINS
OCTOBER 31, 1961
(Sung) Out of the fertile soil of the verdant plateau arose a dream__
A vision of a mighty seat of learning.
(Spoken)In the year or our Lord eighteen hundred sixty-two
President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, authorizing the Land Grant College.
In eighteen hundred eighty-seven the North Carolina Legislature provided for the founding of a college on this site.
(Sung) From the highlands of the west to the plains that meet the sea,
Hardy men arose to face the challenge.
Willing hands and eager minds, strong bodies and a thirst for knowledge;
Plow and hammer, sickle and saw, axe and trowel, harrow and maul;
Love and toil, hope and sweat, all joined to the task.
And thus a dream came to life.
These were our yesteryears.
Like the river that flows to the sea, or the snowball rolling wildly down the mountainside,
Like the child who flowers in body, mind, and spirit to the full powers of manhood
So has the seed of yesterday become a moving force in the world today.
We rear the farms of our nation;
We design great machines for industry;
We guard the majesty of our forests;
We build roads and bridges, homes and factories;
We explore the complex of electronics.
We split the atom, and reach into the vast infinity of space,
That man may know the secrets of the universe.
We know not what mysteries the future will unfold.
But one thing is ever sure: We build men.