The roamer and other poems/Poems of the Great War< The roamer and other poems
SONNETS WRITTEN IN THE FALL OF 1914
Awake, ye nations, slumbering supine,
Who round enring the European fray!
Heard ye the trumpet sound? "The Day! the Day!
The last that shall on England's empire shine!
The Parliament that broke the Right Divine
Shall see her realm of reason swept away,
And lesser nations shall the sword obey—
The sword o'er all carve the great world's design!"
So on the English Channel boasts the foe
On whose imperial brow death's helmet nods.
Look where his hosts o'er bloody Belgium go,
And mix a nation's past with blazing sods!
A kingdom's waste! a people's homeless woe!
Man's broken Word, and violated gods!
Far fall the day when England's realm shall see
The sunset of dominion! Her increase
Abolishes the man-dividing seas,
And frames the brotherhood on earth to be!
She, in free peoples planting sovereignty,
Orbs half the civil world in British peace;
And though time dispossess her, and she cease,
Rome-like she greatens in man's memory.
Oh, many a crown shall sink in war's turmoil,
And many a new republic light the sky,
Fleets sweep the ocean, nations till the soil,
Genius be born and generations die,
Orient and Occident together toil,
Ere such a mighty work man rears on high!
Harken, the feet of the Destroyer tread
The wine-press of the nations; fast the blood
Pours from the side of Europe; in full flood
On the septentrional watershed
The rivers of fair France are running red!
England, the mother-eyrie of our brood,
That on the summit of dominion stood,
Shakes in the blast: heaven battles overhead!
Lift up thy head, O Rheims, of ages heir
That treasured up in thee their glorious sum;
Upon whose brow, prophetically fair,
Flamed the great morrow of the world to come;
Haunt with thy beauty this volcanic air
Ere yet thou close, O Flower of Christendom!
As when the shadow of the sun's eclipse
Sweeps on the earth, and spreads a spectral air,
As if the universe were dying there,
On continent and isle the darkness dips,
Unwonted gloom, and on the Atlantic slips;
So in the night the Belgian cities flare
Horizon-wide; the wandering people fare
Along the roads, and load the fleeing ships.
And westward borne that planetary sweep,
Darkening o'er England and her times to be,
Already steps upon the ocean-deep!
Watch well, my country, that unearthly sea,
Lest when thou thinkest not, and in thy sleep,
for war, that gloom enshadow thee!
I pray for peace; yet peace is but a prayer.
How many wars have been in my brief years!
All races and all faiths, both hemispheres,
My eyes have seen embattled everywhere
The wide earth through; yet do I not despair
Of peace, that slowly through far ages nears;
Though not to me the golden morn appears,
My faith is perfect in time's issue fair.
For man doth build on an eternal scale,
And his ideals are framed of hope deferred;
The millennium came not; yet Christ did not fail,
Though ever unaccomplished is His word;
Him Prince of Peace, though unenthroned, we hail,
Supreme when in all bosoms He be heard.
This is my faith, and my mind's heritage,
Wherein I toil, though in a lonely place,
Who yet world-wide survey the human race
Unequal from wild nature disengage
Body and soul, and life's old strife assuage;
Still must abide, till heaven perfect its grace,
And love grown wisdom sweeten in man's face,
Alike the Christian and the heathen rage.
The tutelary genius of mankind
Ripens by slow degrees the final State,
That in the soul shall its foundations find
And only in victorious love grow great;
Patient the heart must be, humble the mind,
That doth the greater births of time await!
Whence not unmoved I see the nations form
From Dover to the fountains of the Rhine,
A hundred leagues, the scarlet battle-line,
And by the Vistula great armies swarm,
A vaster flood; rather my breast grows warm,
Seeing free peoples of the earth combine
Under one standard, with one countersign,
Grown brothers in the universal storm.
And never through the wide world yet there rang
A mightier summons! O Thou who from the side
Of Athens and the loins of Cæsar sprang,
Strike, Europe, with half the coming world allied,
For those ideals for which, since Homer sang,
The hosts of thirty centuries have died!
The world hath its own dead; great motions start
In human breasts, and make for them a place
In that hushed sanctuary of the race
Where every day men come, kneel and depart.
Of them, O English nurse, henceforth thou art,
A name to pray on, and to all a face
Of household consecration: such His grace
Whose universal dwelling is the heart.
O gentle hands that soothed the soldier's brow
And knew no service save of Christ, the Lord!
Thy country now is all humanity!
How like a flower thy womanhood doth show,
In the harsh scything of the German sword,
And beautifies the world that saw it die!
Written After the Loss of the "Ancona"
"Whoso offendeth one of these,"—the tale
My childhood conned. O bright Tunisian sea,
That often with thy waves hast harbored me,
What sounds, far-heard, make my old sea blood pale,
Who here first saw the whitening of a sail
Eastward, and thanked God that my lot should be
Beside the ocean's endless alchemy
To breathe life-long the salt Atlantic gale?
Clamor of panic and war's driving shell
Rifting that turquoise-green, that violet floor,
And cries of death parting the foamy sphere!
What men are these who, vomited from hell,
Bloody anew the brilliant Corsair shore
Our fleet first ransomed, to our memories dear?
Weep for our dead! but more our honor weep!
Thrown on the Irish coast their bodies drift
Homeless and stark, and, moving, weakly lift
An idle arm from their eternal sleep,
Where once our infant navy rocked the deep
In our first years. Ay me! their ocean shrift!
Up from the gray sea through day's rosy rift
What dread alarums to our new world leap!
So shook the hills above, seas underneath,
When Roland wound the blast of Roncesvalles
And roused Christ's ancient world with dying breath
Answer, O France, where the vast Russias fall!
Flock, England, to the harvest homes of death!
! again, that Lusitanian call!
ON THE ITALIAN FRONT
"I will die cheering, if I needs must die;
So shall my last breath write upon my lips
Viva Italia! when my spirit slips
Down the great darkness from the mountain sky;
And those who shall behold me where I lie
Shall murmur,—'Look you! how his spirit dips
From glory into glory! the eclipse
Of death is vanquished! Lo, his victor-cry!'
"Live thou upon my lips, Italia mine,
The sacred death-cry of my frozen clay!
Let thy dear light from my dead body shine
And to the passer-by thy message say:
'Ecco! though heaven has made my skies divine,
My sons' love sanctilies my soil for aye!'"
There is a bell-tower in my brain, that tolls—
And tolls—and tolls,—night-long, no pause, no rest,—
"Eugen', Raimondo, .Salvator', Ernest,
Giovanni, Antonin', Vincenz',"—and rolls,
Peal after peal, peace to departed souls!
Dost hear it, Napoli? hear'st, empty nest
Among the violets on Etna's breast?—
"Eugenio, peace!" thee first death aureoles.
And unknown names, pulsing along my brain,
(Who lives? who dies?) go sounding like a bell,
Sounding forlorn o'er mount, and sea, and plain,—
Now far, now near, crying the long farewell;
Carso,—O sound immitigable of pain!—
Gorizia, Isonzo, San Michel!
A SONG OF SUNRISE
On the Morning of the Russian Revolution
To those who drink the golden mist
Whereon the world's horizons rest,
Who teach the peoples to resist
The terrors of the human breast:—
By burning stake and prison-camp
They lead the march of man divine,
Above whose head the sacred lamp
Of liberty doth blaze and shine;
O'er blood and tears and nameless woe
They hail far off the dawning light;
Through faith in them the nations go,
Sun-smitten in the deepest night:—
Honor to them from East to West
Be on the shouting earth to-day!
Holy their memory! Sweet their rest!
Who fill the skies with freedom's ray!
The Return of the Exiles
The gates of the Siberian waste stand wide;
Great joy has thrilled the mighty wilderness;
The message of the Lord has come to bless
The souls in bondage; broken is the pride
Of the invincible tyrant who doth ride
On human hearts, and thrones him on distress!
Fallen he is! his victims numberless
Crowd the long roads by steppe and mountain-side.
So when our Lord descended into hell
And broke the fetters of the spirits in prison,
A glorious company to heaven made way.
What triumph more divine doth history tell
Than Truth from her captivity arisen,
And Faith rejoicing in her holy ray!
Lift up your peaks! O sun-struck Caucasus!
You first beheld the scarred Promethean form
On your high cliffs, stretched to the icy storm,
The vulture's beak; the multitudinous
Woes of the ancient world calamitous
Age-long besieged his heart: there, when our swarm
Of golden youth with generous hope grew warm,
Crag-like hung o'er then great Prometheus.
Lo, from the holy East, where light is born,
Tornado-like the globe of glory rears
A fiery sunrise with red battle torn!
On that hoar world, grown old in blood and tears,
The century-waited and millennial morn
Bolts the long lightning of a thousand years.
HO! THE SPRINGTIME!
In the Trenches. Italy: 1917
Ho! the springtime!
Springtime sets a young heart thinking.
Then it was spring, when I gave my signore the flowers of the field,
And my brother brought him great violets that the perfumed gardens yield;
Sun, and field-flowers, and violets bound our bosoms and sealed.
Ho! the sun in the campagna! the flow of the sap of the world!
The blossom of dawn! the irised sea! the far beach surf-impearled!—
And all their joy in our bosoms like a flower from the bud unfurled!
One leap, one thrill, one throb of the manifold pulse divine
Flooded and blended our being, as the grapes are one in the wine.
Sweet there was our life together in the garden this side of the grave,
And the springtime smiling on us was the smile of flower and wave.
O my heart!
Ho! the springtime!
Time of kiss and time of blossom—
Time of faring on the sea's blue bosom—
Time of thinking of another spring—
When we lived, young, open hearts together,
Roved the greening land, the violet weather!—
Clover, poppy, almond-bough
Murmured it then, murmur it now:
"Love is coming! this is it! this is it!
Passes the bloom! oh, woe to miss it!
The voice, the touch, the fond caress
That undivided lovers bless!"
O my heart, how sad is thinking!
"Ho! is it spring?" in the dawn I wake up saying.
I can hear, far off, my mother (poveretta) praying
For us three—
There where mighty Etna, snow-clad, thunder-torn and earthquake-riven,
Lifts the breathing springtime to the fire-black heaven!
Oh, the spring!
Ho! is it spring?
Sì! thoughts, kisses, flowers, caresses!
Time of blossom and endearing,
To dark death forever nearing!—
Time of weeping!
Time of the black hour toward us creeping!—
Signore! O signor'!
Ho! is it spring?
Time of wandering forth on earth's green bosom!
Time of passing of youth's almond-blossom!
Far we wandered, far we wandered, far, and far away!—
Across the greening lands, across the violet seas, and far, and far away!—
Flowers of the field I cannot bring, signor'.
Thinking, to thee I send the kiss of spring, signor'.
Come, Lord of hosts! establish righteousness!
And in the hearts of men and nations build
Love's great Republic that the soul has willed,
And with Thy mercy cover our distress!
How many broken realms world-wide confess
The weakness wherewithal man's state is filled!
Pride in our vain accomplishment is killed;
Our hopes, departing, leave us comfortless.
O, raise our spirits from the deadening shock
That, like an earthquake, blasteth city and town,
And ease earth's unintelligible woe!
Millions of men their sorrows interlock
Before Thee coming; prayers Thy praises drown.
Justice, O Lord, high o'er all nations show!
Great documents our chronicles afford,
Since the low cabin of the Mayflower
Drew the first instrument: and human power
Ne'er found a seat so firm, so long a sword,
As issued thence, clothed in the Written Word,
Which there began in time its sovereign hour:
Whatever storm may rise or tempest lower,
Through lengthening ages is that still voice heard.
Jefferson with that might breathed forth the state;
Washington, thus, moulded its policy;
Lincoln beheld the wilderness grown great,
And with his pen filled it with liberty;
Now is our message to all nations sent:—
Go forth, sweet gospel, freedom's argument!
O darling nest of rebels,
King-hated Boston town,
Whose brood is still a-rearing
To pull the tyrant down,—
Once more to Fanueil Hall, freemen, come!
There's a virtue in the name,—
And the words, they turn to flame,
That breathe from Freedom's cradle and her home.
Old abolition tocsin,
Strike out the present hour!
Throng, men, upon the ringing stones
Whence Phillips drew his power!
His mother's hand along the narrow pave
Held up his toddling feet,
And he swore to make the street
Too pure to bear the footstep of a slave.
Come! once more rock the Cradle
Whence rose our sires free men!
Till all downtrodden peoples
Shall have their rights again!
Send loud cheers echoing round the holy wall!
Hail, to heroic deeds!
Hail, every land that bleeds!
Tongue of the thoughts of freemen, Faneuil Hall!
The pictured lips of patriots
Speak out for the opprest,
And every heart turns orator
And pleads within the breast,
Upon whatever land the despots fall:
Once more, where Adams spake,
Bid the sacred rafters shake
With the roaring popular voice of Faneuil Hall!
The country of our sires was great of soul;
And, if she draws to battle, it must be
She bares her sword for peace with liberty,
Justice her standard pure, honor her goal.
She mails her hand to write a later scroll,
And share with all mankind her destiny;
Though God has bastioned her with either sea,
Freedom hath no frontiers. Where heaven doth roll,
Fly forth, great Eagle, that of old didst sit
At Jove's right hand beside the wakeful throne!
Gazer on vast horizons battle-lit,
With mightier pinions fly to nobler wars!
Soar in the zenith, heavenly bird, alone,
And o'er the storm bear in thy beak the stars!
Kiss the loud winds, O darling of our hearts,
And shoot o'er land and sea thy beams world-wide!
How many thousands in thy light have died,
Radiant and sweet! now from our banners darts
A greater glory; in our bosoms starts
A deeper joy; so swells the long-pent tide
Of full devotion to thy sacred side,
And from impatient millions doubt departs.
Advance thy colors in the captain-files
That vanward lead the many-languaged host,
Like mighty waves that lift an angry sea!—
Break thou the German! Miles on headlong miles
Drive him from churchless land and shipless coast,
Till law again for right be sanctuary!
ON THE DEPARTURE OF THE TROOPS FOR FRANCE
Who are these watching from ancestral doors
The instant passing of our youth for France?
A mighty pageant of the world's romance
Their eyes have seen: it fills their native shores
With an undying moment; wide it pours
On silent hearts, o'erawed, the voice, the glance,
The last, fond gleam of each loved countenance,
And the heart trembles, while the spirit soars.
The generations draw immortal breath
That breathe a nation's soul. From sire to son
The glory of the fathers entereth
The children's hearts, and maketh all as one:
True to the race breaks out the holy flame,
And to all lands doth freedom's blood proclaim.
In the dark of the mine,
In the bloom of the sun,
In the leap of the vine
I heard the war-message run;
Heard old earth softly crooning
And whispering to her own,
The hymn of man attuning
Under republic and throne:—
"Nature my garment, love my creed,
And the thought of man to grow in;
Labor the arm, freedom the seed,
And the field of time to sow in!
What are these mighty labors worth,
If justice die upon the earth?"
I heard the old earth calling
Loud over plains and mountains,
Voices, arising and falling,
In the noise of ocean-fountains:—
"Waken, old allies of man,
Ye, who were borne in my bosom!
He, in whom freedom began,
The topmost flower and blossom,
The glory and fruit of all
The ages have lifted on high
On the heavenmost branch of the sky,—
Shall he fail? Shall he drop? Shall he die?—
What are ye all, if he fall?
What are we all, if he die?
Ships for the pilot of time,
Who hath the stars for eyes!
Room for the sailor sublime,
The unroller of the skies!
He, who stretched, past hope's increase,
Freedom o'er the laughing foam,
And on the billows set her home,
The boundless empire of the seas,
And grasped the keys of fates unknown!
Let nature's universal whole
Press on the common toil,—
Corn, and cotton, and coal!
Copper, and iron, and oil!
What are ye all, if he shall fall?
What you or I, if he shall die?
He harnessed our wild forces;
He edged our might with mind
Our ways are heavenly courses
His instincts have divined:
All light that we inherit
Pours from his azure spirit,
That hath a higher law—
Honor and freedom knowing,
Justice and mercy showing,
That our dumb worlds o'erawe:
The truths his lips let fall
Point the celestial pole;
For the greatest ally of all
Is man's own soul."
When I was fifteen?—let me see,—
It was a year of memory.
Then my nostrils first drew breath
Of the lilies of France on winds oi death;
I remember well the mounting fire
That caught my blood, the sweet desire
So to suffer, so to dare;—
That was the eve of my knighthood's prayer.
And you,—you see the awful flame,
Whereat my boyish ardors came,
Light the lands, and leap the seas,
And bathe with creeping glow the knees
Of Freedom in her chosen place,—
The peaceful temple of her race:—
Pray God, your manhood eyes may see,
Clasping the world, her victory!
Another land has crashed into the deep,
The heir and namesake of that Rome, whose laws
Spread the great peace.—Gray Power, that yet o'erawes
The thoughts of men, first to bid nations keep
The bounds of right, and earth's wild borders sleep,
O, from thy pinnacle 'mid time's applause
Salute, great Rome, the victim of man's cause,
Thy child, Rumania!—Nay, not ours to weep,
O Latin Race! how doth our debt increase
At every flash of thy unfathomed soul,
Long on the rock of justice founding peace,
While ever round thee new-born ages roll!
Genius divine! when shall thy glory cease!
Rise, rise, Rumania! yet thy soul is whole!
THE RED CROSS CHRISTMAS
On Christmas morn in Judah's skies
Bright angels sang the birth
Of Him to whom hosannas rise
Throughout the ransomed earth.
Now, crossing North, South, East, and West,
The lines of battle go;
Sorrow is every nation's guest,
The heavens fill with woe.
Seek ye to see the blessèd light
That orbed that radiant song?
Seek ye the Christ-child in the night?—
Ye need not travel long.
Where Rachel weeps in all earth's lands,
Where maid and mother grieve,
Where over child and soldier stands
The Red Cross, see, and believe!
O fair Lord Christ, when yet thy face was young
In heaven, and thy witnesses were few,
Humble thy Kingdom here, nor yet grace drew
Emperors to the breast where Lazarus clung,—
When round a dying world thy arms were flung,—
Armenia first unto thy mercies flew,
To the pure gospel through all ages true,
And Him, whose sorrows on the world's cross hung.
She, who beheld the glorious covenant,
When o'er the Flood, at the Creative Word,
Bright above Ararat sprang the bow in heaven,—
What to her agony will thy pity grant?
For unto her through faith in thee, O Lord,
The thorny crown of Christendom is given.
Bring, all ye nations, myrrh and frankincense,
As when, with gold and many an orient gem,
About the cradled child of Bethlehem
Like heaven the holy stable glittered, whence
Issued salvation! Pour the providence
Of earthly kingdoms at the feet of them
Who would a world-wide flood of sorrow stem
And, Christ-like, feed the multitude immense!
Nor think Armenia only bears the Cross
Through deserts wild and up her mountain-chain;
But every nation climbs its Calvary,
And hath its consecration; earthly loss
Thousands on thousands find is heavenly gain:
So the world-soul renews humanity.
AN EASTER ODE
Inscribed in Memory of Lieutenant Edward Bedinger Mitchell
DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI
O risen Spring, thy rosy tides
O'er earth's pale shoulder glow;
From heavenly peaks, down Europe's sides,
The torrent sunbeams flow;
Across the verdure-belted zones what ceaseless seasons go!
All, all, indifferent to human woe!
The sea with corpses blossoms, as of old
On the bright Salaminian bay
Ere the gray waste, unrolled,
On the wide-wanderer's eyes flung dim Pacific spray;
Immeasurable spreads afar
The battle-tossing plain of war,
And of fair cities makes a gaunt volcanic scar;
From up-torn realms untenanted
The beasts and birds affrighted fled;
Prone, where the sire his life-blood shed,
The mother on the child lies dead;
The torch, the axe, the bomb, the shell
Paint earth and heaven in hues of hell;
Famine, massacre, slavery fall
On man in horrid carnival.
Great is thy triumph, modern age!
Progress thy bane, science thy scourge,
In sea and air new wars to wage,
And aye to evil fates, incessant, urge
Man's miserable race, on ruin's awful verge!
Meanwhile, on blue-horizoned shores, against Floridian skies,
Lone, white cranes, standing, fish; from sunset-colored caves
The darting mullet hues the shadow-haunted waves;
In pale, pellucid depths the rude crustacean lies.
There, with the dædal earth
The great Creator toys;
A thousand shapes of mirth,
A million vivid joys,
Like grains of coral sand,
Drop from His listless hand.—
How should man understand?
O Easter moon that glorious
In highest heaven dost roll,
What saw you on the Caucasus
Great with Prometheus' soul?
Where Calvary's shining road makes up from the dark vale below,
Saw you thorn-crowned beneath a Cross a man of sorrows go,
The Sufferer, who never dies, but bears the whole world's woe?
Saw you from Athens' ghostly hand the torch of truth burn bright,
That spreads within the mind the world where shall be no more night?
Saw you the Tiber, Seine and Thames, the floods that shake the North,
Pour inexhaustibly their hosts of stern-faced freemen forth?
Far as your circling light below hath on our oceans broke,
Saw you the little acorns grown, blown from the English oak,
The tree of liberty, that laughs amid the thunder-stroke?
And Paris, Honor's fount—O name that never time forgets!—
Look you! how high in our sad heavens her ray of glory jets!
Look! as your crescent horn but late filled its dark curve with light,
So grows America on earth amid the nations bright!—
Or is it, crystal sphere serene that hast no mortal stain,
You do not mind, at all, these things, which man has done in vain?
Oh, can it be, then, nature's law
That her the vision fails,—
The dream divine, and holy awe
That in man most avails?
And know you not, celestial orb
The light men's souls from you absorb
Beholding, when dark deaths they risk,
With highest instincts in accord,
How pure in heaven your golden disk
the Risen Lord?
Upon the border of eternity—
As some Greek runner, on high mountain ways,
Whom now at eve his speed of morn delays,
Hears the far rote of his own native sea—
I harken unto deathless voices rolled
From the great deep, and silent lyres of old;
And with the sound thereof my lips grow bold.
Man's is another world
Wherein the spirit flies;
Truth at his heart impearled,
A thousand deaths he dies.
O wake again, Tyrtæan lyre
That flung the world's first tyrants low!
Heap up thy urn with holy fire
That now doth in all peoples glow!
Once more the dreadful trumpet sound
Of freedom, Macedonian mound!
Thou, gray Thermopylæ, arise!
Who lifted first on human eyes
Victorious shields of sacrifice,—
And old Simonides thy glory crowned,
Leading the poets' bright, immortal choir.
Still rolls aloft the heroic hymn
Of men, when light and life grow dim.
O sacred bands, dear to the lyre's blest breath
That, ever resonant with noble death,
Sweeps eagle-borne round glory's cloudy wreath,
A thousand dawns we sang you to the fight,
A thousand victories sang you home at night!
Look up, ye hosts! o'er heroes when they die
Opens in heaven another climbing sky!
Sweet is your memory here, and fresh with tears
That wash from shining eyes our mortal fears.—
Peace at the last, and moods all joys above,
Calm thoughts that from just reason take their birth!
Truth at the last, and liberty, and love
Shall, like your glory, fill the ensanguined earth!
TO THE WINGLESS VICTORY
Wingless victory, whose shrine
By the Parthenon
Glorified our youth divine,
Harken!—they are gone,
The young eagles of our nest,
They, the brightest, bravest, best,
They are flown!
Lilies of France,
When first they flew,
Led their lone advance
Great heaven through.
Now soar they, brood on brood,
Like stars for multitude,
To France! France!
Save thou the golden flight
That wakes the morn,
And dares the azure height,
The tempest's scorn!
Save them o'er land and sea,
In deeps of air!
Thy grace, where'er they be,
Ensphere them there!
Save them, the country's pride,
Our wingèd youth!
And where they fall enskied,
Save thou the truth,
O Wingless Victory!
Belovèd land! O consecrated ground!
That givest the sons of memory a grave,
And, tendering oft the life thou couldst not save,
Soothest the breast's immedicable wound!
Orphans of time and fate in thee have found
What motherhood! What dear repose the brave
Remnants of strife on every land and wave,
Since thy great sires touched the predestined bound!
Heaven set thee as a mark in our life's sea
To light the homeless masters of mankind;
Still on thy precious soil, while time shall be,
Spirits supreme their sacred limit find;
There, at Rome's heart, the whole world kneels to thee,
Truth, beauty, fame,—the soul of man enshrined.
In hospital. Italy: 1918.
Again, my rifle, O again to grasp you
And to a soldier's breast once more enclasp you!
You never left my hand, until the wound,
Opening my side, colored the sacred ground;
And through the night, when half my squad lay dying,
I saw, before I fell, our foemen flying.
My well-loved rifle, I was true to you,—
True to my oath! Do you to me be true!
O once again to find dear comrades living!
To feel the battle-thrill! The fierce, sweet giving,—
All, all for Italy! a band of brothers!—
To hear our Captain's voice, high over others,—
"Now, sons of Italy, your foes destroy!
Avanti! sangue freddo! Ho! Savoy!"
My gun, so lie I dreaming, day and night,
When I shall bear you in the last glad fight!
Shed roses through the soft Italian air,
And strew his way with flowers! with laurel crown!
Hunter, who brought the Imperial Eagle down,
Flapping to death o'er Alpine summits bare,
And in the towering passes slew him there—
The Austrian! with death and havoc thrown
From shell-ploughed plain and violated town,
Back from the isles of Venice to despair!
Again the Mincio breathes the wind of fame,
And with the proud Piave rears a crest
Of victory in flood! sound, Rome, his name,
Diaz! and to the festal world proclaim
Italia Madre, clasping to her breast,
Redeemed, Dalmatia, Pola and Trieste!
ALBERT OF BELGIUM
True victor thou, heroic Belgian King,
Albert, who wouldst not traffic in thy crown!
A Kingdom's heirloom goes thy glory down,
And with thy people's praise all countries ring;
Thee and thy folk shall unborn poets sing,
And age to age repeat thy just renown,
Who held the peril of an empire's frown
With thy land's honor matched, an idle thing.
But rather of the crown that grows not old
Thy thought, who others saved, saving thine own,
And left this wisdom to thy little state:
Put not thy trust in armies nor in gold,
Nor on proud navies set the people's throne,
But by the justice of thy cause be great!
Richard Norton, organizer and director of the American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps. Began work in France, October 1914. Died in Paris, August 2, 1918.
Beautiful in thy death thou liest down,
Sweet, younger comrade of my happier days;
Let others in proud books thy honors blaze,
Whose marble sleep the Cross of France doth crown!
But more to me than deeds of war's renown,
Or any light upon the poet's bays,
Is the remembrance of the sacred ways
We followed, up the paths of Beauty flown,
Before us flying. To another land
Half the world o'er, she lured us, ever on:—
Still from Art's fragments rose her pointing hand!
Still in old verse her early presence shone!
Now upon earthly shores, alone, I stand;
But thou, dear boy, hast to her bosom won.
What art thou, Time, that men take note of thee!
A boy in years, immortal Lafayette,
Ere he was ripe, put two worlds in his debt
Forevermore! darling of liberty,
He, like an angel, crossed the Atlantic sea,
Clothed on with morning, and, a herald, set
His shining feet where light and darkness met,—
Dead empires and democracies to be!
When first his footstep touched on that bright soil,
From time enfranchised, was his life complete;
Years could not add to him, nor take away;
One of the spiritual powers that, deathless, toil
In human hearts, when youth and glory meet
To bring the sacred dawn of Freedom's day.