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THE CHALLENGE (1917)

O

The world must be made safe for democracy." President

Wilson, April 2, 1917

BY DYSART MCMULLEN
Not with the rolling voices of the guns,
Nor yet with sheen of sun on bayonet bright
Do we salute the world, this day of days,
Strong to uphold the right.

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Power shall answer might in days to come,
Shell speak to shell beneath a flaming sky,
And soldiers swarm the narrow ways of death
Proud of their chance to die.

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But that is for the future; here today
After long waiting have we found tongue,
And in forum of the world's acclaim
Immortal challenge flung.

He must be safe who delves with humble hands!
He must be safe who toils in storm and heat!
Never again the plaything of dull kings
Chained to ambitious feet !

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Only for this we go into the murk:
Not for revenge

yea, though our dead be hid
Deep in the sea and call with clarion voice
Our greatness must forbid.

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But to this monstrous thing which men have made
Out of long ages strong of hate and might
This bloody mask called Emperor or King,
This horror of the night —

We call a halt! and bid it stand and draw! -
Beat the long roll and all our bugles play!
Hark well our challenge! Ye who crowd the night!
It is the dawn of day!

AN ODE OF DEDICATION (1917)

BY HERMANN HAGEDORN

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Who would have thought a month of Spring

Could work so deep a change?
Who would have thought a dream could sting
The dead to new life, quivering,
And shake dull hearts with echoing

Of music new and strange?
The deaf have heard a call,

The scoffers have heard a cry. Freedom moaned, “Give help! I fall!

Brother, your hand! I die!” The dumb have heard and spoken,

The sluggards have stirred;
A word, a dream, has broken

The sleep of the sepulchered!
Through the storm and the dark
Freedom flashed a spark,
And we who love her name
Burst into flame,
And came!

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Who would have thought that April days

Could work such conjury?
Up from the crowded towns ablaze,
Up from the.green hills, like a haze
Slow-rising to some magic lay's

[blocks in formation]

IO

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Lo, how the spires ascend!

Lo, how the arches rise !
Lo, how the pinnacles pierce the clouds

To melt their glow with the sky's !
What miracle, Wyoming ?

What high roof overspreads,
Kansas, your waving fields,

New York, your hurrying heads ?
What roof strains to the stars

Over hill, over plain ?
What Gothic glory covers you both,

California, Maine?
In Florida, in Idaho,

The crystal walls aspire;
In Oregon, in Delaware,

Sings low the faint, far choir.
The valleys feel a sacred stir

In every leaf and clod;
And from every mountain, every hill,

The pillars loom up to God.

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Who said, “It is a booth where doves are sold|

Who said, “It is a money-changers' cave",

Silence to such forever, and behold!

It is a vast cathedral, and its nave
And dim-lit transept and broad aisles are filled

With a great nation's millions, on their knees
With new devotion and high fervor thrilled

Offering silver and heart's-ease
And love and life and all sweet, temporal things,

Still to keep bright

The steady light
That stifles in the wake of kings!

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A market-place! they cried?

A lotus-land? They lied !
It is a great cathedral, not with hands
Upraised, but by the spirit's mute commands
Uplifted by the spirit, wall and spire,
To house a nation's purified desire !
A church! Where in hushed fervor stand

The children of contending races,
Forgetting feud and fatherland

A hundred million lifted faces.

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III

Once more the bugle breaks the April mood.

Once more the march of armies wakes the glen. Once more the ardor simmers in the blood.

Once more a dream is single lord of men!

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From images, from gods of clay,

From idols bright with diadems; From lips that drew our souls astray

With lure of palaces and gems

And dancing girls and lights and wine

And crowns and power and golden halls;
From pride's penurious Mine and Thine,

Like narrow streets with towering walls;
From painted counterfeits and trash

We turn to the authentic gleam,
Where in the gale and battle thrash

The banners of a holy dream!

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Once more a dream is single lord of men !

Yea, we have put aside all little gods !
A dream is captain of the hours again!

And we who were the sod's
Budding and fading children, with no trust

Or treasury beyond the dust,
Feel on our eyes ethereal finger-tips

Burn like a living coal! -
And gasp to feel the angel at our lips

Call and awake the soul !

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Once more a dream is single lord of men !

Yea, we will rise and go, and face disaster
And want and wounds and death in some far fen,

Having no king, but a great dream for master!
To lead us over perilous seas, through trials

Of heart and spirit, through long nights of pain, Through agonies of fear, and self-denials,

And longing for far friends and comrades slain.
And doubt and hate and utter weariness

And savage hungers and supreme despairs
Yea, we will go, yea, we will acquiesce,

So at the last our children be the heirs
Of life, not death; of liberty, not bars !

Inheritors not of smooth, ordered things,

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