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The poems of Richard Watson Gilder/Poems and Inscriptions

POEMS AND INSCRIPTIONS


The poems of Richard Watson Gilder, 1908, image from DJVU pg 312.jpg


POEMS


AUTUMN AT FOUR-BROOKS FARM

No song-bird, singing, soaring,
But the brooks are up and roaring!
Along the lane one lonely tree
Starts a sound like a storm at sea.
The round, black clouds pursue
Across the gulfs of blue;
So fast they fly the mountain crest
Reels backward to the blowing west.
Shadow and sun rush on together
Across the hills in the gusty weather,
And leaves like flocks of golden birds
Take flight above the huddling herds.
Hark, hark that bell-like baying!—
The wily fox with the hound is playing;
All is motion, and air, and strife;
Down the valley the floods are pouring;
This is Autumn, O, this is life;
No song-bird sings, but the hawks are soaring,
And the brooks are up and roaring!


INDOORS IN EARLY SPRING

I

In the old farm-house living-room
Four shrunken doors shut out the gloom;
Two curtained windows hide night's pall;
These openings six in the ancient wall
Let in the breeze in seams.
The air in spark-lit, pouring streams
From hearth to heaven leaps.
Against the black of the chimney-soot
The forkèd flames upshoot,
And the blaze a-roaring keeps.


II

Every log is a separate flute;
And every chink a singing wire
Of some unseen Æolian lyre
Tuned to the music of the fire.
The little tinkling sounds; the low,
Sweet whistlings of the bubbling wood;
The thundering bass of winds that blow
In leafless maples by the road—
All make a music in the mind;
While, book in hand, in musing mood,—
My body here, my soul in flight,—
Through the true poet's world I wind,
And there a spirit-music find
That mixes with the sounding night.


THE NIGHT PASTURE

I

In a starry night of June, before the moon had come over into our valley from the high valley beyond,
Up the winding mountain-lane I wandered, and, stopping, leaned on the bars, and listened;
And I heard the little brook sliding from stone to stone; and I heard the sound of the bells as the cows moved—heavily, slowly,
In various keys, deep, or like sleigh-bells tinkling, sounded the chiming cow-bells—
Starting and stilling, irregular; near or far away in the dusk—
And the nearer cows I heard chewing the cud, and breathing warm on the cool air of the mountain slope
In the night pasture.


II

Terrace on terrace rises the farm, from meadow and winding river to forest of chestnut and pine;
There by the high-road, among the embowering maples, nestles the ancient homestead;
From each new point of vantage lovelier seems the valley, and the hill-framed sunset ever more and more moving and glorious;
But when in the thunderous city I think of the mountain farm, nothing so sweet of remembrance,—holding me as in a dream,—
As the silver note of the unseen brook, and the clanging of the cow-bells fitfully in the dark, and the deep breathing of the cows
In the night pasture.


III

Then I think, not of myself—but an image comes to me of one who has past,
Of an old man bent with labor;
He, like his father before him, for many and many a year,
When the cows down the mountains have trudged in the summer evening, and after the evening milking,
Night after night, and year after year, back up the lane he has driven them, while the shepherd-dog leaped and barked—
Back up the lane, and past the orchard, and through the bars
Into the night pasture.


IV

There in the twilight I see him stand:
He listens to the sounds of the field and the forest,
On his brow strikes the cool mountain air;
Hard is the old man's life and full indeed of sorrow—
But now, for a moment, respite from labor, in the pause 'twixt day and night!
Perhaps to his heart comes a sense of the beauty that fills all this exquisite valley—
A sense of peace and of rest; a thought of the long and toilless night that comes to all,
As he leans on the bars and listens, and hears the deep-breathed cows, and the scattered sound of the bells
In the night pasture.


A LETTER FROM THE FARM

Tell you the news
From Four-Brooks Farm?
Well,
But there is news to tell,
As long as my arm!
"What! a new she-calf born
To this world forlorn?"
Few things are finer
Than a fine heifer-calf,
And most things are minor;
But 't is better by half
The news that I've got now!
Such a wonderful lot now
Of heifers,—why, what now
Such farm news as this!
You were here, when, what bliss!
Alpha dropt on our planet,
And we all ran to scan it:
How the soft thing, with silk down,
Had learned to bring milk down
Without any teaching,
Example, or preaching!


Not this is the news
From Four-Brooks Farm—
Nor the ice-pond built
Where Hermit Brook spilt;
Nor the great pine we found
Thunder-burst in the middle
And spread on the ground
Like the strings of a fiddle;
Not of this, not of that,—
Such news now were flat,—
But something far racier!
Muir, of Alaska,
Path-finder, cliff-basker,
Known of bird, known of deer
(Grizzlies know him, won't harm),
John Muir has been here,
And has hitched to the farm
A great blanket glacier!
Don't flout it! don't doubt it!
'T is as sure and as clear
As if on the rock,
With chisel and knock,
A giant of eld
His message had spelled,
And ten thousand years after
We read it,—with laughter
And loyal acclaim,—
His ancestry, name,
The work he was doing,
The place whence he came,
And the journey pursuing.
"This giant of eld!
See his path," said John Muir,
"Here it held
Northwest to southeast;
Slow and sure,
Like a king at a feast
Eating down through the list;
Inch by inch, crunch by crunch;
Yonder hollow his lunch,
Of this valley—one gobble,
Then he supped light on Cobble!
This big boulder, he bore it;
Through eons uncounted
That range there he mounted,
He tore it.
Rock-grinding; strata rending;
Always pausing; never ending;
O what a grand rumpus!
Now, down on your knees,"
Said Muir, "an you please,
And out with your compass!"
(By the way—'t was Thoreau's
As Muir well knows)
And then, in a trice,
Where the quartz glistens white,
Smooth as ice,
In the clear, slanting light
The fine striæ show,—
Like arrows they go
Northwest to southeast,
Just as John Muir pleased!

And as he spoke I saw the huge creature glide,
With speed that scarcely lessened or increased,
From the far pole to ocean's melting tide.
Through countless boreal hours
It moved on its torn pathway deep and wide;
Its shining bulk I saw
Crunching the mountain tops with monstrous maw;—
To make our Four-Brooks Farm with all its flocks and flowers.


SUMMER BEGINS

The bright sun has been hid so long,
Such endless rains, such clouds and glooms!
But now, as with a burst of song,
The happy Summer morning blooms.


The brooks are full, it is their youth;
No hint of shrunken age have they;
They shout like children, and in truth,
No human child so careless-gay.


How fresh the woods, each separate leaf
Is shining in the joyful sun.
Strange! I have half forgotten grief;
I think that life has just begun.


"STROLLING TOWARD SHOTTERY"

Strolling toward Shottery on one showery day,
We saw upon the turf beside the path
A clown who, stooping by the pleasant way,
Rough-cobbled his torn shoes and spoke in feignèd wrath.


At first we thought him brain-touched and askew,
But, as we listened to his shrilling talk,
We found him prating of some things he knew,
Tho' others he but guessed;—we halted in our walk.


His was the wisdom shrewd of roadside men,
Gathered in wanderings through the country wide;
He had a cynic wit, and to his ken
The world wagged wickedly—saved by its humorous side.


Racy his speech and, tho' it bit, good-hearted;
There was an honest freshness in the tramp;
We felt his debtor, therefore when we parted
Some pennies wealthier the philosophic scamp!


Laughing we followed on to sweet Anne's cot:
—Perhaps like us her lover left the town;
Like us he crossed the pretty pasture lot,
And met,—and made immortal,—one more Shakespeare clown.


STRATFORD BELLS

One Sabbath eve, betwixt green Avon's banks,
In a dream-world we hour by hour did float;
The ruffling swans moved by in stately ranks;
With soft, sad eyes the cattle watched our boat.
We, passionate pilgrims from a far-off land,
Beyond the vexed Bermoothes: O, how dear
That strange, sweet picture—by the Enchanter's wand
Familiar to our spirits made, and near!
But suddenly a rich and resonant sound
Thrilled from the skies and waters; lo, the chimes
Of Stratford rang and rang; the very ground
Murmured, as with a deep-voiced poet's rhymes;
Then swift melodious tone on tone was hurled:
'T was Shakespeare's music brimmed the trembling world.


IN WORDSWORTH'S ORCHARD

DOVE COTTAGE

In Wordsworth's orchard, one sweet summer day,
Breathless we listened to his thrushes sing;
We heard the trickling of the little spring
Beneath the terrace; saw the tender play
Of breezes 'midst the leaves; scarce could we say
The well-loved verses whose rich blossoming
Was on this narrow hillside; strange they ring
For tears that choke the numbers on their way.
Then home by winding Rothay did we turn
While bird, and bloom, and mountain seemed his voice
Deep sounding to the spiritual ear—
And this its message: Let love in thee burn,
Here learn in holy beauty to rejoice,
Here learn true living, and the song sincere.


SIR WALTER SCOTT

I

Rhymers and writers of our day,
Too much of melancholy!
Give us the old heroic lay;
A whiff of wholesome folly;
The escapade, the dance;
A touch of wild romance:
Wake from this self-conscious fit;
Give us again Sir Walter's wit;
His love of earth, of sky, of life;
His ringing page with humor rife;
His never-weary pen;
His love of men!


II

Builder of landscape, who could make
Turret and tower their stations take
Brave in the face of the sun;
Of many a mimic world creator,
Alive with fight and strenuous fun;
Of nothing human he the hater.
Nobly could he plan:
Master of nature, master of man.


III

Sometimes I think that He who made us,
And on this pretty planet laid us,
Made us to work and play
Like children in the light of day—
Not like plodders in the dark,
Searching with lanterns for some mark
To find the way.
After the stroke of pain,
Up and to work again!


IV

Such was his life, without reproach or fear:
A lonely fight before the last eclipse—
A broken heart, a smile upon the lips;
And, at the end,
When Heaven bent down and whispered in his ear
The word God's saints waited and longed to hear,
I ween he was as quick as they to comprehend;
And, when he past beyond the goal,
Entered the gates of pearl no sweeter soul.


A DAY IN TUSCANY

I

I knew the Rucellai had choice of villas:
This day has proved it, this thrice happy day
Stolen from care, and many a saddened thought.
Have we not seen, we wanderers from afar,
Fountained Caneto, standing watch and ward
Over Bisenzio's lovely, curving vale!—
Caneto, olive-cinctured, cypress-crowned,
And wreathed in vine; Caneto, whose high hall
Bears record of a proud and noble race,
Friendly to art and letters (Cimabue
Be witness paramount; and the brave front
Of Santa Maria Novella; the Academe
That in the Garden of the Rucellai
Relit the Athenian fire!). Yes, Edith dear,
I love Caneto well, but well I love
This "Villa of the Little Fields," that hides
Embowered among its farms; in rose and lilac
Radiant and scented like an April bride;
'Mid busy sounds secluded and remote.
But most I love this tower you call my own,
This musing tower that wins the soul to song,
From whose four windows, see! the Apennines
Make a walled paradise of Tuscany.


II

Beyond the ilex-dome, against the west,
The sunset sky was crimson: "Then," you say,
"Fair is to-morrow, if the sky was red."
"Fair is to-morrow"? O, to-morrow fair
That wakes me from this dream?—Here from my tower
One planet marks where Prato lies below,
And yonder, through the tender gray and green
Of the high-branching plane-tree, shines a light
Betwixt the earth and heaven—a lure that means
Florence, and all its wonder; now, ah, now
The hour draws nigh when Italy once more
To me is of the past, a thought, a passion,
But all ungrasped of sense.
And what is that our Cosimo has said?
"To-day the nightingales have come."—Have come?
And I, tho' listening long, and with my soul,
I have not heard one tone.

In the Tower at Campi Bisenzio.


A SACRED COMEDY IN FLORENCE

IN WHICH TAKES PART A CERTAIN STATUE ON THE FAÇADE OF THE DUOMO

Lonely Pope upon his throne,
Cold in marble, high in air,
On the Duomo's checkered front—
Benediction, as is wont,
Falling from his saintly face
Down upon the clattering square:
Falls, to-day, a special grace,
For, in fact, he's not alone—
Solemn Pope upon his throne,
White in marble, cold in air!—
To those priestly fingers there,
Lifted o'er the peopled square,
A purple pigeon sudden flits,
Lightly 'lights and lingering sits.
By the Baptistery gates,
Where I stand, I can but smile,
Thinking that the potentate's
Lips are curving, too, the while;
And I wonder what the bird
Said that Papa, smiling, heard.


MICHAEL ANGELO'S AURORA

THE MEDICI CHAPEL, FLORENCE

O majesty and loveliness in one!
Why art thou sorrowful, now night is done?
This is the dawn; why doth thy spirit quake?
O thou who wakenest! is it pain to wake?


THE OLD MASTER

Of his dear Lord he painted all the life,
But not that ancient land, nor the old days;
Not curious he to seek, through learnèd strife,
The look of those far times and unknown ways.
But in his solemn and long-living art
Well did he paint that which can never die:
The life and passion of the human heart,
Unchanged while sorrowing age on age goes by.
Beneath his brush his own loved people grew,
Their rivers and their mountains, saints and lords;
The dark Italian mothers whom he knew,
The sad-eyed nuns, the warriors with drawn swords;
And the young Savior, throned at Mary's breast,
Was but some little child whom he loved best.


AT LUTHER'S GRAVE

WITTENBERG

Here rests the heart whose throbbing shook the earth!
High soul of courage, we do owe thee much;
Thee and thy warrior comrades, who the worth
Of freedom proved and put it to the touch!
Because, O Luther, thou the truth didst love,
And spake the truth out,—faced the sceptered lie,—
E'en we, thy unforgetting heirs, may move
Fearless, erect, unshackled, 'neath the sky.
Yet at this shrine who doth forever linger
Shall know not that true freedom Luther won;
"Onward," his spirit points, with lifted finger,
"Onward lies truth! My work were never done
If souls by me awakened climbed not higher—
Ever to seek, and fear not, the celestial fire."


BEETHOVEN

VIENNA

I came to a great city. Palaces
Rose glittering, mile on mile. Here dwells the King,
The Emperor and King; here lived, here ruled
How many mountainous far-looming fames;
Here is the crown of shadowy Charlemagne.
What housing of what glorious dignities!
Yet in a narrow street, unfrequented,
No palace near—one name upon a wall,
And all these majesties seem small and shrunk:
For here unto the bitter end abode
He who from pain wrought noble joy for men;
He who from silence gave the world to song;
For in his mind an awful music rose
As when, in darkness of the under-seas,
Currents tremendous over currents pour.
He heard the soundless tone, its voice he was,
And he of vast humanity the voice,
And his the empire of the human soul.


THE DESERT

Souls live for whom the illimitable sands
Not lonely are; they see white, phantom hands
Beckoning in spectral twilights, and they hear
Voices that come not to another ear.
The mystic desert calls them, as doth call
The sea to those who once have known its thrall—
The desert that (like to the eternal sea)
Creates a visible infinity;
There, where the day its quivering fire outpours,
A silent ocean breaks on silent shores.
Who would be wise—
Let him consort with Time 'neath desert skies.


EGYPT

I thought, in Egypt, Death was more than Life,
It seemed so long; its monuments so great;
The emptiness of tombs was such high state,—
No living thought, or power, or potentate
So glorious seemed, wrapt in such splendid gloom.
For I perceived that in each ancient tomb,
Long ages since, dead kings for Death made room.
Not here the Dead, but Death—alone, supreme:
In Egypt Death was real—Life a wingèd Dream.


SYRIA

I thought in Syria, Life was more than Death.
A tomb there was forsaken of its dead,
But Death filled not the place; here with bowed head
Worships the world forever at the tread
Of one who lived, who liveth, and shall live—
Whose grave is but a footstep on the sod;
Men kiss the ground where living feet have trod.
Here not to Death but Life, they worship give.
August is Death, but this one tomb is rife
With a more mighty presence; it is Life.


THE DEAD POET

A. H.

His was the love of art and song,
And well he loved the flowery way;
Yet great his wrath at prospered wrong;
When evil triumphed day by day
Then plunged he in the fray.


And when brave innocence went down
Then did the vanquished find a friend.
With him went justice through the town;
No foeman ever saw him bend;
He scorn for scorn could send.


Men said his heritage was lost;
For, born to gentler use, his youth
Was wasted in rude strife; the cost
Too great, they deemed, altho', in sooth,
Through him men learned of Truth.


So were his songs but brief and few;
Yet of some lives they were a part,
And on some souls they fell like dew;
Dead—now men say: he gave to art
The epic of the heart.


WAR

I

Two men on thrones, or crouched behind,
With cunning words the world would blind.
With faces grave, averse from spoils,
They weave their thieving, cynic toils.
One thing they mean, another speak;
Bland phrases utter, tongue in cheek.
Stale truths turn lies on velvet lips;
The candid heavens are in eclipse;
From crooked minds, and hearts all black,
Comes War upon its flaming track,
And reeking fiends in happy hell
Shout, "All is well!"


II

Then lives surprise!
While not a devil dares to shirk,
But all his hellish malice plies—
The angels, too, begin their work.
Now every virtue issues forth
And busy is from south to north:
Self-sacrifice, and love, and pity
Tramp all the rounds in field and city;
Mercy beyond a price, sweet ruth,
Courage and comradeship and truth,
And gentlest deed and noblest thought,
Into the common day are brought.
Man lives at heaven's gate, and dies
For fellow-man with joyful cries.


II

And all the while hell's imps are free
To work their will with fearful glee.
The beast in man anew is born;
Revenge, and lust, and pride, and scorn,
And glory false, and hateful hate,
All join to desecrate the state.


THE BLAMELESS KNIGHT

Where led the bright and blameless plume
We charged the shameless foe;
Whether to win or lose our doom
We never cared to know.


His voice was as a scimitar,
Superb and sure his stroke;
And where he came their men-of-war
In panic fury broke.


Once more we gathered for the fight
Against the ranks of shame;
Again we called the blameless knight
And cheered him as he came.


But, God of grace! not with us now
Our valiant knight doth go:
A plume of black above his brow—
He leads the shameless foe!


They are the same, that shameful horde,
The same their shameless song;
Beneath his shield they draw the sword
For rapine and for wrong.


Fight on! fight on! brave comrades all,
Nor weep the blameless knight;
They cannot fail, what tho' they fall,
Who battle for the right.


One Captain less in our good war,
But see! a thousand spring
Intent as never men before
To strike the Accursèd Thing.


THE DEMAGOGUE

All mouth, no mind; a mindless mouth in sooth;
He does not bend his strength to seek the truth,
But, shrewdly guessing what may take the crowd,
With tragic grimace, this he shouts aloud.
No true opinion, no fixed faith has he,
But gravely simulates sincerity.
His many causes swift resolve to one:
You find him his own cause when all is done.


THE TOOL

The man of brains, of fair repute, and birth,
Who loves high place above all else of earth;
Who loves it so, he 'll go without the power
If he may hold the semblance but an hour;
Willing to be some sordid creature's tool
So he but seem a little while to rule;
On him even moral pigmies would look down;
Were prizes given for shame, he'd wear the crown.


THE NEW POLITICIAN

While others hedged, or silent lay,
He to the people spoke all day;
Ay, and he said precisely what
He thought; each time he touched the spot.
"In heaven's name, what does he mean!
Was ever such blind folly seen!"
The wag-beard politicians cried:
"Can no one stop the man?" they sighed.
"This 'talking frankly' may be fun,
But when have such mad tactics won?
He may be happy, but the cost
Is ours! The whole election's lost!"
And still the people at his feet
Followed and cheered from street to street.
Truly this ne'er was known before:
No soldier, sailor, orator,
No hero home from battle he
Whom welcoming thousands rush to see;
But just a man who dared to take
His stand on justice, make or break;
'T was all because the people found
A man by no conventions bound;
Who sought to heal their black disgrace
By treating rich and poor the same,
Giving to crime its ugly name,
Damning the guilty to their face.
And when the votes, at last, were read
Our candidate ran clear ahead!
This be his glory and renown:
He told the truth—and took the town.


A LADY TO A KNIGHT

Sir Knight, thou lovest not,
If thou wouldst be too dear;
And I less worshipful, I wot,
If thou couldst kneel so near!


So must thy shield of flawless fame
Shine clear in honor's light;
Lest I should know a queenly shame
To find thee less a knight.


"IS HOPE A PHANTOM?"

Is Hope a phantom? Holds the crystal cup
Sweet madness only—an we drink it up?
A respite ere the poor, doomed soul is killed?
—Then spake one who had loved: "Hope is no lie,
But real as answered Love, or unfulfilled;
Yet were Hope phantom-false, still would I cry,
'Hail, Thou Bright Poisoner! let me drink, and die!'
"


SONG

If, lest thy heart betray thee,
Thou to one lover wouldst not constant be,
And yet thou couldst love me—
This boon I pray thee:
Divide the dark from light,
Love me by night.


If thy sweet thought would find me,
Not through the garish day, O, give it wing:
In shadows clasp and cling,
And bless and blind me!
When stars are still and bright—
Love me by night.


In longing dreams I'll name thee;
In secret hours, when breathes the midnight rose,
Thy heart in mine shall close,
Great love shall claim thee:
O mine in dark and light,
In day and night!


MEMORY

Into this musing, Memory! thou hast brought
Me, thy true vassal; into this delight
That is more poignant for the haunting grief;
And as thou leadest on I follow, follow,
Down the deep, woody pathway of my dream,
Feeling the breath of flowers colorless
And airs that change their seasons as I wander,
Falling or cool or warm upon the brow.
The river shimmers 'twixt the shadowy boles;
Scarce seen the stars for the high, monstrous leaves
That make a lovers' screen; while the large moon,
Late risen, sends three beams athwart the path.
It is not night, nor day, it is the time
Of the clear spirit's life; the soul's high noon;
The hour most fit for passion's holy birth.
O mellow eve, unstartled by a bird!
O night whose light is deepening up the sky!
'T was such a night when one low-murmured word,—
A word all miracle,—made of my soul
Naught but a singing rapture.


"O, GLORIOUS SABBATH SUN"

I

O, glorious Sabbath sun, thou art
A balm and blessing to my heart;
Dark sorrow flies, and in thy shine
Bursts o'er the world a flood divine.


II

So may the light beyond the skies
Illume and bless my inward eyes,
That each new day may bring to me
The splendor of eternity.


MOTTO FOR A TREE-PLANTING

Stay as the tree—go as the wind;
Whate'er thy place, serve God and kind!


The tree holds commerce with the skies
Tho' from its place it never flies.


They serve their God; they do not roam,
The stormy winds that have no home.


JANET

I remember
That November
When the new November child
On this old world woke and smiled.


Here's a woman,
Sweet and human,
And they call her Janet, now—
I can't make it out, I vow.


It only seems
One night of dreams;
Years they say; how do they plan it?
What's become of Little Janet?


Never mind;
She's good; she's kind;
Age can never bend or win her;
There's a heart of youth within her.


ON BEING ASKED FOR A SONG

CONCERNING THE DEDICATION OF A MOUNTAIN IN SAMOA TO THE MEMORY OF STEVENSON

A Letter to I. O. S.

But, friend of mine,—and his,—I am afraid!
How can I make a song
When the true song is made!
For this you say:
Because that Tusitala loved the birds,
They who named Tusitala (weaver of charmèd words—
Teller of Tales)
Have given his mountain to the birds forever!
There all day long
Bright-plumaged island-birds make gay the dales,
From off the sea the swift white bosun over the mountain sails,
From many a large-leaved tree
The gray dove cooes its low, insistent song.
From those green hights and vales
They shall be absent never—
To show what love can be from man to man.
Lovers of Birds and Poets—this is glory!
It is a poem,—that which these Chiefs have done,—
In memory of him, the only one.
And yet our Tusitala could have sung again the pretty story—
Alas, none other can!


TO AUSTIN DOBSON

Laureate of the Gentle Heart!
Only art like your own art,
Limpid, gracious, happy-phrased,
Could praise you as you should be praised.
Many a lyric you have writ,
Grave with pathos, gay with wit,
Or conceived in larger mood,
Shall outlast the clattering brood
That usurp our noisy day;
Shall, with all that's noble, stay
In our well-loved English tongue
Till the ending song is sung;
For no purer tone was heard
Since men sought Beauty and the Word.


TO L. R. S.

Lisa Romana! no mean city gave
Thee to the world, sired by as true a knight
As e'er the flying paynim's helmet clave,
Leading a hope forlorn in glorious fight!
And thou, dear, stately maid, no knight of old,
That eastward battles down the pleasant page
Of chivalry, ever in heart did hold
A queenlier image—face more brightly grave.
Be kind to her, ye seas, ye winds that blow,
On the long journey homeward, and one day,
Ocean and wild sea-winds! swift make return
Of her ye take from us;—ay, let her yearn
Back, back to us once more; before this gray
Whitens, and hearts that love her are laid low.


A NAME

Many the names, the souls, the faces dear
That I have longed to frame in verse sincere;
But one high name, sweet soul, and face of love
Seemed ever my poor art, O, far above.
Like Mary's, stricken with sorrow was that face;
Like hers it wore a most majestic grace.
That soul was tender as the sunset sky,
And full of lofty dream her days went by;
That name—than God's alone there is no other
Holy as thine to me, O sacred Mother!


JOHN GEORGE NICOLAY

WASHINGTON, D. C., SEPTEMBER, 1901

This man loved Lincoln, him did Lincoln love;
Through the long storm, right there, by Lincoln's side,
He stood, his shield and servitor; when died
The great, sweet, sorrowful soul—still high above
All other passions, love for the spirit fled!
To this one task his pure life was assigned:
He strove to make the world know Lincoln's mind:
He served him living, and he served him dead.
So shall the light from that immortal fame
Keep bright forever this most faithful name.


THE COMFORT OF THE TREES

McKINLEY: SEPTEMBER, 1901

Gentle and generous, brave-hearted, kind,
And full of love and trust was he, our chief;
He never harmed a soul! O, dull and blind
And cruel, the hand that smote, beyond belief!
Strike him? It could not be! Soon should we find
'T was but a torturing dream—our sudden grief!
Then sobs and wailings down the northern wind
Like the wild voice of shipwreck from a reef!
By false hope lulled (his courage gave us hope!)
By day, by night we watched—until unfurled
At last the word of fate! Our memories
Cherish one tender thought in their sad scope:
He, looking from the window on this world,
Found comfort in the moving green of trees.


THE CITY OF LIGHT

THE PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION

What shall we name it
As is our bounden duty—
This new, swift-builded fairy city of Beauty;
What name that shall not shame it;
Shall make it live beyond its too short living
With praises and thanksgiving!


Its name—how shall we doubt it,
We who have seen, when the blue darkness falls,
Leap into lines of light its domes, and spires, and walls,
Pylons, and colonnades, and towers,
All garlanded with starry flowers!
Its name—what heart that did not shout it
When, from afar, flamed sudden against the night
The City of Light!

Amherst House, Buffalo, May, 1901.


INSCRIPTIONS

FOR THE

PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION

BUFFALO, 1901


INSCRIPTIONS


FOR THE PROPYLÆA

PANEL I

HERE, BY THE GREAT WATERS OF THE NORTH, ARE BROUGHT TOGETHER THE PEOPLES OF THE TWO AMERICAS, IN EXPOSITION OF THEIR RESOURCES, INDUSTRIES, PRODUCTS, INVENTIONS, ARTS, AND IDEAS


PANEL II

THAT THE CENTURY NOW BEGUN MAY UNITE IN THE BONDS OF PEACE, KNOWLEDGE, GOOD-WILL, FRIENDSHIP, AND NOBLE EMULATION ALL THE DWELLERS ON THE CONTINENTS AND ISLANDS OF THE NEW WORLD


FOR THE STADIUM

PANEL I

NOT IGNOBLE ARE THE DAYS OF PEACE, NOT WITHOUT COURAGE AND LAURELED VICTORIES


PANEL II

HE WHO FAILS BRAVELY HAS NOT TRULY FAILED, BUT IS HIMSELF ALSO A CONQUEROR


PANEL III

WHO SHUNS THE DUST AND SWEAT OF THE CONTEST, ON HIS BROW FALLS NOT THE COOL SHADE OF THE OLIVE


FOR THE GREAT PYLONS OF THE TRIUMPHAL CAUSEWAY

ON THE PYLONS WERE STATUES OF COURAGE, LIBERTY, TOLERANCE, TRUTH, BENEVOLENCE, PATRIOTISM, HOSPITALITY, AND JUSTICE

PANEL I

THE SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE IS THE MAKER OF COMMONWEALTHS


PANEL II

FREEDOM IS BUT THE FIRST LESSON IN SELF-GOVERNMENT


PANEL III

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE A SAFEGUARD OF CIVIL LIBERTY


PANEL IV

A FREE STATE EXISTS ONLY IN THE VIRTUE OF THE CITIZEN


PANEL V

WHO GIVES WISELY BUILDS MANHOOD AND THE STATE—WHO GIVES HIMSELF GIVES BEST


PANEL VI

TO LOVE ONE'S COUNTRY ABOVE ALL OTHERS IS NOT TO DESPISE ALL OTHERS


PANEL VII

THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN, THE FEDERATION OF NATIONS, THE PEACE OF THE WORLD


PANEL VIII

BETWEEN NATION AND NATION, AS BETWEEN MAN AND MAN, LIVES THE ONE LAW OF RIGHT


DEDICATORY INSCRIPTIONS

PANEL I

TO THE ANCIENT RACES OF AMERICA, FOR WHOM THE NEW WORLD WAS THE OLD, THAT THEIR LOVE OF FREEDOM AND OF NATURE, THEIR HARDY COURAGE, THEIR MONUMENTS, ARTS, LEGENDS, AND STRANGE SONGS MAY NOT PERISH AND BE FORGOTTEN


PANEL II

TO THE EXPLORERS AND PIONEERS WHO BLAZED THE WESTWARD PATH OF CIVILIZATION, TO THE SOLDIERS AND SAILORS WHO FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM AND FOR PEACE, AND TO THE CIVIC HEROES WHO SAVE A PRICELESS HERITAGE


PANEL III

TO THE GREAT INVENTORS AND FARSEEING PROJECTORS, TO THE ENGINEERS, MANUFACTURERS, AGRICULTURISTS, AND MERCHANTS WHO HAVE DEVELOPED THE RESOURCES OF THE NEW WORLD, AND MULTIPLIED THE HOMES OF FREEMEN


PANEL IV

TO THOSE WHO IN THE DEADLY MINE, ON STORMY SEAS, IN THE FIERCE BREATH OF THE FURNACE, AND IN ALL PERILOUS PLACES WORKING CEASELESSLY BRING TO THEIR FELLOW MEN COMFORT, SUSTENANCE, AND THE GRACE OF LIFE


PANEL V

TO THE SCHOLARS AND LABORIOUS INVESTIGATORS WHO, IN THE OLD WORLD AND THE NEW, GUARD THE LAMP OF KNOWLEDGE AND, CENTURY BY CENTURY, INCREASE THE SAFETY OF LIFE, ENLIGHTEN THE MIND AND ENLARGE THE SPIRIT OF MAN


PANEL VI

TO THOSE PAINTERS, SCULPTORS, AND ARCHITECTS, TELLERS OF TALES, POETS, AND CREATORS OF MUSIC, TO THOSE ACTORS AND MUSICIANS WHO IN THE NEW WORLD HAVE CHERISHED AND INCREASED THE LOVE OF BEAUTY


PANEL VII

TO THE PROPHETS AND HEROES, TO THE MIGHTY POETS AND DIVINE ARTISTS, AND TO ALL THE LIGHTBEARERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD WHO INSPIRED OUR FOREFATHERS AND SHALL LEAD AND ENLIGHTEN OUR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN


PANEL VIII

TO THE STATESMEN, PHILOSOPHERS, TEACHERS, AND PREACHERS, AND TO ALL THOSE WHO, IN THE NEW WORLD, HAVE UPHELD THE IDEALS OF LIBERTY AND JUSTICE, AND HAVE BEEN FAITHFUL TO THE THINGS THAT ARE ETERNAL