That left no seed of better days be

hind, The tourist's pensioners that show their And maunder of forgotten wars ; She builds not on the ground, but in

the mind, Her open-hearted palaces For larger-thoughted men with heaven

and earth at ease : Her march the plump mow marks, the

sleepless wheel, The golden sheaf, the self-swayed com

monweal ; The happy homesteads hid in orchard

trees Whose sacrificial smokes through

peaceful air Rise lost in heaven, the household's

silent prayer; What architect hath bettered these? With softened eye the westward trav

eller sees A thousand miles of neighbors side by

side, Holding by toil-won titles fresh from

God The lands no serf or seigneur ever trod, With manhood latent in the very sod, Where the long billow of the wheat

field's tide Flows to the sky across the prairie

wide, A sweeter vision than the castled

Rhine, Kindly with thoughts of Ruth and

Bible-days benign.

In fame, and born beneath a milder

star), That to Earth's orphans, far as curves

the dome, Of death-deaf sky, the bounteous West

means home, With dear precedency of natural ties That stretch from roof to root and make

men gently wise? And if the nobler passions wane, Distorted to base use, if the near goal Of insubstantial gain Tempt from the proper race-course of

the soul That crowns their patient breath Whose feet, song-pinioned, are too fleet

for Death, Yet may she claim one privilege urbane And haply first upon the civic roll, That none can breathe her air nor grow humane.

3. O, better far the briefest hour Of Athens self-consumed, whose plastie

power Hid Beauty safe from Death in words

or stone ; Of Rome, fair quarry where those eagles

crowd Whose fulgurous vans about the world

had blown Triumphant storm and seeds of polity; Of Venice, fading o'er her shipless sea, Last iridescence of a sunset cloud ; Than this inert prosperity, This bovine comfort in the sense alone! Yet art came slowly even to such as

those, Whom no past genius cheated of their

own With prudence of o'ermastering prece

dent ; Petal by petal spreads the perfect rose, Secure of the divine event ; And only children rend the bud half

blown To forestall Nature in her calm intent: Time hath a quiver full of purposes Which miss not of their aim, to us un

known, And brings about the impossible with


ancient commonwealths, that we


Haply because we could not know you

near, Your deeds like statues down the

aisles of Time Shine peerless in memorial calm sub

lime, And Athens is a trumpet still, and

Rome; Yet which of your achievements is not

foam Weighed with this one of hers (below

ease :

you far

Haply for us the ideal dawn shall break

From where in legend-tinted line
The peaks of Hellas drink the morn-

ing's wine, To tremble on our lids with mystic

sign Till the drowsed ichor in our veins

awake And set our pulse in tune with moods

divine : Long the day lingered in its sea-fringed

nest, Then touched the Tuscan hills with

golden lance And paused; then on to Spain and

France The splendor flew, and Albion's misty

crest: Shall Ocean bar him from his destined

West? Or are we, then, arrived too late, Doomed with the rest to grope discon

solate, Foreclosed of Beauty by our modern


Unfaithful guardians of a noble fate, And prompts indifference or despair: Is this the country that we dreamed in

youth, Where wisdom and not numbers should

have weight, Seed-field of simpler manners, braver

truth, Where shams should cease to dominate In household, church, and state? Is this Atlantis? This the unpoisoned

soil, Sea-whelmed for ages and recovered

late, Where parasitic greed no more should

coil Round Freedom's stem to bend awry

and blight What grew so fair, sole plant of love

and light? Who sit where once in crowned seclu

sion sate The long-proved athletes of debate Trained from their youth, as none

thinks needful now? Is this debating-club where boys dis

pute, And wrangle o'er their stolen fruit, The Senate, erewhile cloister of the

few, Where Clay once Aashed and Webster's

cloudy brow Brooded those bolts of thought that all

the horizon knew?

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Poets, as their heads grow gray,
Look from too far behind the eyes,
Too long-experienced to be wise
In guileless youth's diviner way;
Life sings not now, but prophesies;
Time's shadows they no more behold,
But, under them, the riddle old
That mocks, bewilders, and defies:
In childhood's face the seed of shame,
In the green tree an ambushed flame,
In Phosphor a vaunt-guard of Night,
They, thongh against their will, divine,
And dread the care-dispelling wine
Stored from the Muse's vintage bright,
By age imbued with second-sight.
From Faith's own eyelids there peeps

Even as they look, the leer of doubt;
The festal wreath their fancy loads
With care that whispers and forebodes :
Nor this our triumph-day can blunt

Megæra's goads.

3. O, as this pensive moonlight blurs my

pines, Here as I sit and meditate these lines, To gray-green dreams of what they are

by day, So would some light, not reason's sharp

edged ray, Trance me in moonshine as before the

flight Of years had won me this unwelcome

right To see things as they are, or shall be

soon, In the frank prose of undissembling noon !

4 Back to my breast, ungrateful sigh! Whoever fails, whoever erts,

2. Murmur of many voices in the air Denouuces us degenerate,

Shoreless in wants, mist-girt in all it

knows, Open to every wind of sect or clan, And sudden-passionate in ebbs and



The penalty be ours, not hers!
The present still seems vulgar, seen too

nigh; The golden age is still the age that 's

past : I ask no drowsy opiate To dull my vision of that only state Founded on faith in man, and therefore

sure to last. For, O, my country, touched by thee, The gray hairs gather back their gold; Thy thought sets all my pulses free; The heart refuses to be old; The love is all that I can see. Not to thy natal-day belong Time's prudent doubt or age's wrong, But gifts of gratitude and song: Unsummoned crowd the thankful words, As sap in spring-time floods the tree, Foreboding the return of birds, For all that thou hast been to me!


They steered by stars the elder shipmen

knew, And laid their courses where the cur.

rents draw Of ancient wisdom channelled deep in

law, The undaunted few Who changed the Old World for the

New, And more devoutly prized Than all perfection theorized The more imperfect that had roots and

grew. They founded deep and well, Those danger-chosen chiefs of men Who still believed in Heaven and Hell, Nor hoped to find a spell, In some fine flourish of a pen, To make a better man Than long-considering Nature will or

can, Secure against his own mistakes, Content with what life gives or takes, And acting still on some fore-ordered

plan, A cog of iron in an iron wheel, Too nicely poised to think or feel, Dumb motor in a clock-like common

weal. They wasted not their brain in schemes Of what man might be in some bubble

sphere, As if he must be other than he seems

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FLAWLESS his heart and tempered to

the core Who, beckoned by the forward-leaning.

wave, First left behind him the firm-footed

shore, And, urged by every nerve of sail and

oar, Steered for the Unknown which gods to

mortals gave, Of thought and action the mysterious

door, Bugbear of fools, a summons to the

brave: Strength found he in the unsympathiz

ing sun, And strange stars from beneath the

horizon won, And the dumb ocean pitilessly grave : High-hearted surely he ; But bolder they who first off-cast Their moorings from the habitable Past And ventured chartless on the sea Of storm-engendering Liberty: For all earth's width of waters is a span, And their convulsed existence mere re

pose, Matched with the unstable heart ofman,

Because he was not what he should be

, Postponing Time's slow proof to petu+

lant dreams : Yet herein they were great, Beyond the incredulous lawgivers of

yore, And wiser than the wisdom of the shelf, That they conceived a deeper-rooted

state, Of hardier growth, alive from rind to

core, By making man sole sponsor of him.


3. God of our fathers, Thou who wast, Art, and shalt be when those eye-wise

who flout Thy secret presence shall be lost In the great light that dazzles them to

doubt, We, sprung from loins of stalwart Whose strength was in their trust

That Thou wouldst make thy dwelling

in their dust And walk with them a fellow-citizen Who build a city of the just, We, who believe Life's bases rest Beyond the probe of chemic test, Still, like our fathers, feel Thee near, Sure that, while lasts the immutable

decree, The land to Human Nature dear Shall not be unbeloved of Thee.


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