By Harriet Monroe
(1860 - 1936)
 
 
A Farewell
 
 
GOOD-BY: nay, do not grieve that it is over—
  The perfect hour;
That the winged joy, sweet honey-loving rover,
  Flits from the flower.
 
Grieve not,—it is the law. Love will be flying—
  Yea, love and all.
Glad was the living; blessed be the dying!
  Let the leaves fall.
 
 
From the “Commemoration Ode”
 
World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, October 21, 1892
 
 
WASHINGTON

WHEN dreaming kings, at odds with swift paced time,
  Would strike that banner down,
A nobler knight than ever writ or rhyme
  With fame’s bright wreath did crown
Through armed hosts bore it till it floated high
Beyond the clouds, a light that cannot die!
  Ah, hero of our younger race!
  Great builder of a temple new!
  Ruler, who sought no lordly place!
  Warrior, who sheathed the sword he drew!
  Lover of men, who saw afar
  A world unmarred by want or war,
  Who knew the path, and yet forbore
  To tread, till all men should implore;
  Who saw the light, and led the way
  Where the gray would might greet the day;
  Father and leader, prophet sure,
  Whose will in vast works shall endure,
How shall we praise him on this day of days,
Great son of fame who has no need of praise?
 
How shall we praise him? Open wide the doors
  Of the fair temple whose broad base he laid.
  Through its white halls a shadowy cavalcade
Of heroes moves o’er unresounding floors—
Men whose brawned arms upraised these columns high,
And reared the towers that vanish in the sky,—
The strong who, having wrought, can never die.
 
LINCOLN

AND, lo! leading a blessed host comes one
  Who held a warring nation in his heart;
  Who knew love’s agony, but had no part
In love’s delight; whose mightly task was done
Through blood and tears that we might walk in joy,
And this day’s rapture own no sad alloy.
Around him heirs of bliss, whose bright brows wear
Palm-leaves amid their laurels ever fair.
  Gaily they come, as though the drum
Beat out the call their glad hearts knew so well:
  Brothers once more, dear as of yore,
Who in a noble conflict nobly fell.
Their blood washed pure you banner in the sky,
And quenched the brands laid ’neath these arches high—
The brave who, having fought, can never die.
 
Then surging through the vastness rise once more
The aureoled heirs of light, who onward bore
Through darksome times and trackless realms of ruth
The flag of beauty and the torch of truth.
They tore the mask from the foul face of wrong;
  Even to God’s mysteries they dared aspire;
  High in the choir they built yon altar-fire,
And filled these aisles with color and with song:
The ever-young, the unfallen, wreathing for time
  Fresh garlands of the seeming-vanished years;
Faces long luminous, remote, sublime,
  And shining brows still dewy with our tears.
Back with the old glad smile comes one we knew—
  We bade him rear our house of joy today.
  But Beauty opened wide her starry way,
And he passed on. Bright champions of the true,
Soldiers of peace, seers, singers ever blest,—
From the wide ether of a loftier quest
Their winged souls throng our rites to glorify,—
The wise who, having known, can never die.
 
DEMOCRACY

FOR, lo! the living God doth bare his arm.
  No more he makes his house of clouds and gloom.
  Lightly the shuttles move within his loom;
Unveiled his thunder leaps to meet the storm.
From God’s right hand man takes the powers that sway
    A universe of stars.
He bows them down; he bids them go or stay;
    He tames them for his wars.
He scans the burning paces of the sun,
And names the invisible orbs whose courses run
    Through the dim deeps of space.
He sees in dew upon a rose impearled
The swarming legions of a monad world
    Begin life’s upward race.
      Voices of hope he hears
    Long dumb to his despair,
      And dreams of golden years
    Meet for a world so fair.
For now Democracy doth wake and rise
    From the sweet sloth of youth.
By storms made strong, by many dreams made wise,
    He clasps the hand of Truth.
Through the armed nations lies his path of peace,
  The open book of knowledge in his hand.
Food to the starving, to the oppressed release,
  And love to all he bears from land to land.
    Before his march the barriers fall,
    The laws grow gentle at his call.
    His glowing breath blows far away
    The fogs that veil the coming day,—
          That wondrous day
When earth shall sing as through the blue she rolls
Laden with joy for all her thronging souls.
Then shall want’s call to sin resound no more
  Across her teeming fields. And pain shall sleep,
Soothed by brave science with her magic lore;
  And war no more shall bid the nations weep.
Then the worn chains shall slip from man’s desire,
    And ever higher and higher
    His swift foot shall aspire;
    Still deeper and more deep
    His soul its watch shall keep,
Till love shall make the world a holy place,
Where knowledge dare unveil God’s very face.
 
Not yet the angels hear life’s last sweet song.
Music unutterably pure and strong
From earth shall rise to haunt the peopled skies,
    When the long march of time,
Patient in birth and death, in growth and blight,
Shall lead man up through happy realms of light
    Unto his goal sublime.
 
 
In the Beginning
 
 
WHEN sunshine met the wave,
  Then love was born;
Then Venus rose to save
  A world forlorn.
 
For light a thousand wings
  Of joy unfurled,
And bound with golden rings
  The icy world.
 
And color flamed the earth
  With glad desire,
Till life sprang to the birth,
  Fire answering fire,
 
And so the world awoke,
  And all was done,
When first the ocean spoke
  Unto the sun.
 
 
The Fortunate One
 
 
BESIDE her ashen hearth she sate her down,
    Whence he she loved had fled,—
His children plucking at her sombre gown
    And calling for the dead.
 
One came to her clad in the robes of May,
    And said sweet words of cheer,
Bidding her bear the burden in God’s way,
    And feel her loved ones near.
 
And she who spake thus would have given, thrice blest,
    Long lives of happy years,
To clasp his children to a mother’s breast,
    And weep his widow’s tears.
 
 
The Night-Blooming Cereus
 
 
    FLOWER of the moon!
Still white is her brow whom we worshiped on earth long ago;
Yea, purer than pearls in deep seas, and more virgin than snow.
The dull years veil their eyes from her shining, and vanish afraid,
Nor profane her with age—the immortal, nor dim her with shade.
 
It is we are unworthy, we worldlings, to dwell in her ways;
We have broken her altars and silenced her voices of praise.
She hath hearkened to singing more silvern, seen raptures more bright;
To some planet more pure she hath fled on the wings of the night,—
    Flower of the moon!
 
Yet she loveth the world that forsook her, for, lo! once a year
She, Diana, translucent, pale, scintillant, down from her sphere
Floateth earthward like star-laden music, to bloom in a flower,
And our hearts feel the spell of the goddess once more for an hour.
 
See! she sitteth in splendor nor knoweth desire nor decay,
And the night is a glory around her more bright than the day,
And her breath hath the sweetness of worlds where no sorrow is known;
And we long as we worship to follow her back to her own,—
    Flower of the moon!
 
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