When Nations turn from Light, in thought, or life, Their speed is brink-ward, save Thy Mercy stay; For all is precipice, except Thy way. Help, Lord, for here is heightening surge of strife; Here, clouds turn floods, coasts are wind-whirled, like spray, And lightenings, hurling back thy light, are rife.
Religion is Ascension. 'Tis the flights Of souls to summits of the true and wise. One, witnessing the generations rise, Sees them a shine at countless, different heights, Where they, responding to their inner lights, Glow, like the clouds at morn, with graded dyes. If summits, there are depths; if virtue, vice; Hence, 'tis life's rise from falls, that judgment sights.
Witnessed, or not, there is no age, nor climb, But souls arise as bloom, where earth is treed; As warm, red rays, where cold from mountaining need; As burst and spread of planets, where dark crime; Nay, rise to poise above the star's top speed To God, like larks, in praise for life and time.
THE GOLDEN JUBILEE OF SISTERS OF CHARITY
How thy Half Century shines over head! 'Tis an unfading rain-bow, one whose dyes Are richer and more numerous to the eyes Of Angels, than to ours. Its rays, if spread Above a flood of sin and world of dead, Give to the drowned, new life, new earth, new skies. Night counts her stars, but falters, when souls rise Bright with the Grace which God's annointed shed.
Belov'd Irene, how great our joy to see Thine arch, aglow with virtue's every hue! Oh, how much more must they rejoice, who view From inner Heaven, the arch that is for thee, Triumphal! for than vows like thine, lived true, No grander arch from earth to heaven could be.
The "Church Triumphant" shines in lives like thine, Calista! 'Tis the Saints' procession, shown In Dante's vision, near Lord Jesus' throne, In greatening splendor, never to decline. Ah, if our minds grow dark, our hearts repine, How, from sweet lives, dear Sister, like thine own, Be-Mothering with mercy all who moan, A light comes, and a warmth is in its shine.
We shade our eyes, as when we face the Sun On level with the earth, at lives all love— The Church Triumphant, as in Heaven above! Aye, lives all love for Christ, in every one Who suffers wrong, or any pain thereof, As on His Throne—such lives as thine, dear Nun.
WINIFRED HOLT, THE LIFESAVER OF THE BLIND
Once, blindness was a burning ship at sea, With panic-stricken souls on every deck. The flame blew inward on that awful wreck, Burning the hopes that make life glad and free. Ah! then, through thee, it was, Philanthropy, Who trains her searchlight on the smallest speck And Speed out boats, like horses, neck to neck, Reached the dark hulk and thrilled its crew with glee.
The flame is quenched, that burned out heart and brain. The ship where woe was mute, is loud with joy. Hark! hear the cheer on board, and cry, "Ahoy!" As fast the sails are hoisted, and the main Tides back toward hope for every girl and boy, Who, else, might reach no star of night's whole train.
Above and under life, eternally, A subtle light and dark run parallel. One prompts men to build Beauty, cell by cell, In Home, Religion, State, Society; The other, to destroy the fair they see. Like Spring, wilt thou roof Earth with bloom and dwell Thereunder? or, with Scalping Winter's yell, Scour grove and bush? Choose—how else art thou free?
If Freedom is the gift of the all-wise, It is because he will not have a slave To serve Him. Which wilt thou be, base or brave? With Morn, climb, or, with Night, skulk down the skies To grope in caverns, or beneath the wave, Creep, till aghast at monsters that arise?
ALL LUMINARIES HAVE ONE TREND
All luminaries have one source, one trend. The stars that calm the sailor, long sea-swirled, And canopy fond lovers from the World, And those that lead the heart and spirit, blend. Lo, only in the things and thoughts that tend Toward Love's High Harmony, is truth unfurled; All else are lies, whence heart, soul, mind are hurled Back to the Right—to Progress without end.
The stars all chant as one. My soaring song Catches their flame and these few sparks reach earth: "As soon the shells forget their Ocean birth, As men forget the Right, where they belong By reason and by soul of deathless worth; Address the God in man, wouldst thou grow strong."
LIFE TAKES MORNING HUES WITH THE ARTS OF PEACE
America! from out the depths thy coast Was lifted skyward for Humanity. Thy Life, once finny circlings in the sea, Is now the orbits of the starry host, Encircling God with trust. Be this thy boast, When the long line of Ages, passing thee, Lifts each his heart and soul, and shouts with glee, "That Trust in Him was Sentinel on post."
Night, that once boa-like hung from thy trees, Gorged with crushed tribes—with pottery, or mound, Or print of foot for trace—slinks underground; For lo, the forests, like the mist on seas, Clears, ere the Sun, at earth's edge, glows half-round, And life takes cloud-hues with the arts of Peace.
U. S. SENATOR JAMES A. O'GORMAN AND THE STALWARTS
On toward the Senate scuds a thunder-rack— Nay, cyclone—and the columns—all star-straight— Of Freedom's Temple sway with the roof's flood-weight. Ye Stalwarts who scorn off a fate, pitch-black, Holding the columns, let no sinew slack. A crash and through the roof, what floods of hate! Still, ye budge not, for "Freedom," your teeth grate, "Shall lie no wreck along the cyclone's track."
Oh, not for you was dark the time to slumber, But to hold Freedom's columns all star-plumb! Yours was a watery grave, but Martyrdom And, hence, your resurrection with the number, Whose greatness greatens, as the Ages come To know why their pathway, no wrecks encumber.
MINISTER OF JUSTICE PALMER, A BASTILE BUILDER
O Bastile Builder! Nature, when she shaped Thy soul, was stricken, with a long attack Of sleeping sickness; nor till wheel and rack Had rusted, and man spirit had escaped The bolsted, loathesome tomb where right was raped, Did she awaken and, alack! alack! Deliver thee, who, put on Freedom's back, Would'st grab all things, at which thy Past-eyes gaped.
Freedom would humor thee; so, down he flopped On Justice's floor to watch thee build with blocks. Great was thy skill with walls and dungeon locks, And with the trap, down which poor Freedom dropped To be steel-masked, or, else, put in the stocks, To writhe, then, with his tongue and ears, both lopped.
A SPECK, BUT NOT A STAIN, HARVARD
O Harvard of the Norton wreath of gold And pearled, Longfellow purple! wherefore frown? If Eliott is a speck upon your gown, It will wash off; it is no stain to hold, For you had let him go for being old. Your wisdom was confirmed when to the crown, A'gainst good folks who, like Elisha Brown, Fought for their homes, he gave his name's renown.
Come, Agassiz! for, from the smallest bone, You reconstruct the creature, tongue to tail. Tell us what Eliott is. Phew! What! a Whale? No; tis the prehistoric monster, known As Tory, that devoured young Nathan Hale And, where it crawled, spread horror's crimson zone.
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE CHARLES L. GUY
Your heart is not a traitor to your mind. Who, knowing innocence in danger, dares Not turn his eye, for fear of smirk, or stares, By other courts, is Justice's statue blind, That to the wall, not Bench, should be assigned. Oft, Precedent is Folly with gray hairs; So you, recalling Junius, heard the prayers Of friendless Stilow; then, what did you find?
A fellow man doomed wrongfully to die A felon's death. If such was Stilow's fate, You saw, the felon would have been the State; Hence, turned from Precedent, demanding "Why?" Justice, asleep in marble, woke and straight Unroofed the courthouse to let down the sky.
REAR ADMIRAL SIMS
A Dukedom, and not one the worse for wear, Has Sims well earned by service to the King. 'Tis said at court, Howe's spirit following The ocean still, found Sims his natural heir And said: "Swap souls; and, that the swap be fair, Give me to boot, the bone of Freedom's wing, To make the skyey bird a hobbling thing In marshes, where the ignisfatus flare."
The Eagle with his eye and pinion, trained For mateship with the sun, twitched at a sting. Amazed to find a "cootie" on his wing, And that the insect dreamed, it was ordained By race heredity to serve the King— He shook his plume and azured, unprofained.
SAINT GEORGE AND THE DRAGON
In English nature, did Saint George prevail Over the Dragon? Maybe in the time When England knew not poverty, nor crime, Described by Cobbett, who would not go bail For falsehood, nor let truth remain in jail. It must, then, have renewed life from its slime, For, oh! through deeds, that turn the blood to chyme And eyes white inward, see him ride the gale.
In English nature—oh, where now the saint— The spirit, to sublime conceptions, true? Has good Saint George, too woundful to renew His conflict with the dragon of base taint, Been caught up by Elias from earth's view? How, else, the dragon's rage in irrestraint?
The dragon is grim greed. The Saint's long spear, That once transfixed it, can no longer touch. No land is safe from its sting, blood-drain, or clutch— For it takes Protean shapes; 'tis, therefore, clear, Since good Saint George has failed to re-appear To mortal sight, save in the King's escutch— Worn off at edge and blurred with Tudor smudge— Freedom must drive the Dragon off this sphere.
The Dragon's soarings cause the sun's eclypse.— Hark! is that thunder, God's collapsing skys? No; 'tis the Eagle, with un-hooded eyes And lightening flash from beak to pinion tips, Seizing the Dragon that, despite its slips From form to form—craft, gold and false sunrise— Can not elude his eye and talon grips.
A conflict, this, refracted, cloud to cloud! Where a white summit? Under crimson seas, And these still hightening. Through far azure, Peace Listens and, eager, peeps; then, turns headbowed. The conflict circling earth, all plains are ploughed New rows of gulches. God! can aught appease The Dragon with fiend thirst's eternities For tongue! The sun might, if it were well sloughed.
The Dragon, mounting, draws aloft earth's slime With which to dim the all-producing Sun From broadening light and warmth for every one; But, look! The Eagle, with the thirst sublime Of Justice, that the right on earth be done— Flashes and—hark! 'Tis earth's Te-Deum chime!
Oh, yea, the Earth's Te Deums, visibling As well as voicing forth the joy of Nations, Fill up the vastest Heaven—that of God's Patience With Human Will most grossly reptiling In insincerities, worse than negations; And for what blessing are the earth's laudations? The grace to soul to scorn to be mere thing.
Oh, of this grace was born the Eagle's vim To dash the Dragon down in hell so deep, It is a maggot there, which can but creep; And draw Elias' chariot to Earth's rim, Wherein Saint George stands with his heart a-leap— As, now, in labor, we catch glimpse of him.