WORLDS OF WEALTH
Certain it is, no billionaire
Can e'er in wealth with me compare:
I have my health, a wire more rare
Than Helen, and an equal share
In seven children debonair,-
Six stalwart youths all unaware
Of sorrow, and a daughter fair
Whose graces all our hearts ensnare.
Such health as mine has come to few:
I never any illness knew,
As six decades pass in review
I taste the joys of sense anew
A healthy mind, with nought askew,
Has been my prize, and I can view
With judgment, separate the true
And bid the false for aye adieu;
A wholesome heart and conscience, too,
Have never failed faith to renew.
And few have lived as hard as I
And greater deeds exemplify.
For currents that were turned awry
I seldom failed to rectify
Experience I loved to buy
And nought but truth would satisfy
Full many a land I now espy
In memory, and glorify
The far-flung friendships that imply
That loyalty can never die,
And gratitude I ne’er deny
That Death has me and mine passed by.
My mind has paced through realms of gold
Where interest has not grown cold:
With each decade, the wealth untold,
Piled up with pain in days of old
By men who have been more than bold
I have been privileged to behold;
And many a castle and stronghold
With dungeons damp and icy-cold
Have I with shuddering patrolled.
The newer jewels manifold
In art and song have been unrolled,
While science wonders has unscrolled
That renders spirit higher souled
And makes the mind the more uphold
The glories saints have oft foretold.
My soul has lived its life as well,
Not mid dank fields of asphodel
But climbing where it could unspell
The truth as conscience did impel
Oft changing views with ever swell
Of knowledge, noting not the knell
Doubt rang, neither the whisper fell
Despair emitted; faith could quell
All doubts, and lire itself could tell
Of miracles quite parallel
To those that in the dim past dwell,
And all to greater faith compel.
When Death my spirit doth expel
I shall on high my soul propel
And Paradise shall earth excel
More than a throne a hermit's cell.
Love has been more than kind to me
And I would worse than thankless be
Did I not praise the constancy
Of her who: has unfailingly
Made life for me a jubilee,
A quarter of a century
Has passed in perfect love since we
Exchanged our vows, and now with glee
We look upon our progeny
Bursting with life. No ennui Confronts us, as
the apogee Of life approaches, for with free
And perfect trust we witness flee
The gliding years, and sure foresee
The endless life, with guarantee
That no forlorn Gethsemane
Awaits, but a futurity
Of blissful immortality.
Let selfish couples bliss forego
Who care not for the babe they owe;
Only true parents true love know
Whose loves in children overflow.
Our memories with rapture glow
As we recall the long ago
When, one by one, did Heaven bestow
The babes with in our portico,
What joy to watch them kick and crow,
And then through boyhood slowly grow
To fullest prime. The cameo,
Our daughter, loveliness doth strow
Upon our lives, --- would fain foreshow
The tenderness which sure will flow
When we grow old and watch time go:
When in some roomy bungalow,
We watch the bride and her trousseau
And see her beaming on her beau,
Or glimpse the blessed over flow
Of children grand, in row on row,
To see them coming on tip-toe
Or gaily prancing to and fro:
For these blest riches here below
One should with gladness undergo
The greatest stress, the deepest woe.
I would not change my lot benigh
For all earth’s riches argentine
For wealth can give no anodyne
For ennui. No concubine
However fair, can wife outshine
When home is blessed with love devine.
Than health, contentment, and the wine
Of perfect love?
The clear star-shine
Assures me that a life like mine
Is linked with all creation, ---sign
That I can share with great design
And solve the secret sibylline:
That if my soul I can refine
I may with God myself entwine,
May reach a plateau sub-devine
And with His plans myself align.
I am God’s heir, and I opine,
When firmaments incarnadine
Show matter in its last decline
That I shall resign with Him ashine,
And have pure Truth as counter sign;
Nor mass nor force shall e'er confine
My power, but in perfect line
With God I shall all space enshrine.
That world of ether crystalline
Where dwell the spirits superfine
I soon shall snare with mine and thine.
One who has never seen the snow
Could not believe his eyes:
Instead of drops in liquid flow
The flakes come floating down below
Like feathers from the skies.
The rain sinks in or runs away;
But snow piles high and firm:
Sometimes a crystal crust array
Covers the surface, for the sleigh
Or sled to twist and squirm.
Rain never drifts: at intervals
The snow piles house-top high,
And then extremity compels
The folk to pierce out parallels
With insides white and dry.
The snow a blanket is for fields
To farmers great delight,
For it assures the greatest yields
For crops, and sure protection wields
To ward off drought's dread plight.
On mountains lofty snow can melt
Never, the avalanche
Makes it the huts and ravines pelt
Until, a long and sinuous belt,---
The glaciers slow advance.
The cities, towns the snow abhor;
Traffic is paralyzed:
The snow a while is conqueror
But yields, at last, the losing war
And all is pulverized.
Long since, when horses were the mode
Sleigh rides had greatest charm;
But now deep snow upon the road
Gives motorists a heavy load
Of care to keep from harm.
The snow-shoe, bob-sled devotees,
And ski enthusiasts
Welcome the snow like honey-bees
Welcome the flowers, and each chance seize
To skim o'er regions vast.
Under the lens the retina
Sees snow a six-side prism
Or six-ray stars, which hollow are
Of ice? and the phenomena
Of white is asterism.
February 9, 1935
Proud Autumn! once again I see thee dressed
In robes of scarlet, gold and russet brown;
Again upon the earth thy hand is pressed,-
At once the fields assume their golden crown:
The orchard trees, with loads of luscious fruit,
Bend down their ranches to the parched ground;
And I beneath them hear the happy sound
Of leaves in gay pursuit,
Tossed here and there by winds of perfumed breath,
Which, of thy joyous coming whispereth.
What would we do without thee, Spirit fair!
Grim Winter follows with remorseless tread;
But thou dost go before, a billionaire,
To give to all who live their needful bread:
The peasant quickly gathers in his grain,
The quadrupeds accumulate their store,
The iron steeds go snorting to the shore
Dragging the serpent train,
That we, who dwell in cities, may with glee
Dance out the year in gay festivity.
Queen of impurity,
Gorgon of cruelty,
Fit was thy fate.
Spawn of Nilotic lust,
Incest and crime!
Slave of erotic gust,
Granted, thy tiny form
True, too, thy
Also Egyptian art
Waited in state
Each sense and every part
Julius, the grave, succumbed
Quick to thy charm;
Antony, will benumbed,
Found lasting harm.
Hidden snakes saw,
And, all victorious,
Scorned thy red maw.
Thou, in the pyramid,
Clutched in Fear's grasp,
Longing thy life to rid
Breasted the asp.
No! Cleopatra lost!
May thou mankind accost
Fain to enchain.
A TURKISH LOVE LYRIC
(Abdul to Fatima)
Mine only, thine only!
No man may gaze on thee
Save only I who am lover and lord:
Sing thou thy bridal song,
Thy graceful dance prolong,
Soothe thou the fretting of life’s silver cord.
Pouting and petulant,
Smiling and jubilant,
Laughing like sunshine, and weeping like showers:
Child in mentality,
Nymph in maturity,
Ever delighting in day’s golden hours.
Here in our pleasure place,
Smyrna’s fair gulf in face,
Watching the sea-gulls skim over the wave;
Counting the ocean craft
With their white wakes abaft,
Living a life that is dreamy and suave.
Nightly the nightingale
Singing in yonder vale
Lulls us to slumber deliciously sweet;
Each morning reunites
Our lives in new delights,
Filling my yearnings with pleasures replete.
Hay other souls entice,
May have enhancements beyond those of earth;
Yet would I willingly
Through all eternity
Lengthen this summer of langourous mirth.
What spirit has assumed this human form,
Unconscious of man's prejudice and ire?
Is it bright Ariel who rides the storm
Or musical Apollo with his lyre?
"Mad Shelley" was he called by dull mankind,
And was in quarrels evermore involved
Until he left his native land behind
And with the elements at last dissolved.
The winds, the flowers, the birds, the sky, the seas,
The fairy lands where spirits ever dwell, -
These are the subjects of his symphonies
And no one ever sang them quite so well,
For Shelley's notes are liquid like the lute!
Alas! those vibrant strings are ever mute!
EDGAR ALLAN POE
Poor Poe! an enemy to self and friend!
All unrestrained like Shelley, and like Burns
A slave to Bacchus; yet but few could blend
Like fancy with pure music, or by turns
Produce such magic tales. His tortured heart
Oft wooed the mournful Muse; but his keen mind
Saw clearly, and his melody and art
Remained original. No fate could bind
His quick imagination, and Death's hand,
Which snatched his lovely bride, but made him dwell
The more in charmed realms--- the fairy land
Of Argive Helen and of Israfel.
Expression proved Poe's whole and greatest gift
Through which he found in life his only rift.
August 29, 1929
I did not have fair Helen for my bride
Ere Menelaeus wooed her, or before
False Paris set in flow War's crimson tide
By bearing her beyond the Grecian shore;
For Death diminished Helen's radiant glow
Ages before my soul had mortal birth
And all her marble members, wasting slow,
Were shared in secret by the air and earth.
The Argive, Helen, and the men of Troy
Have sailed to sombre realms on Lethean prow
But other men and women laugh with joy
In this delightful world, like me; for now
A living Helen leans in my embrace,
Fully as fair, and pure and sweet and warm;
The love look beams upon her gentle face
And tender Is the pressure of her form.
Not for Greek Helen and the gold of Greece
Would I exchange my sweetheart, friend, and wife;
Nor shall the bounds of space or time decrease
Our love, which shall endure through endless life.
I would not live, were not some woman dear, -
Dearer to me than life, - to call mine own,
Some woman I could trust, and could revere
As I do God. If I had never known
The greatest love that woman has for man,
The confidence, the comradeship, the flame.
Of deep affections that all barriers span,
I should have been defeated in life’s game.
The great loves of the past I now recall,
Poems of passion that were writ in blood;
And yet, in each there is some drop of gall, -
Some canker that was hidden in the bud:
Good women are like jewels in the crown
Of the Almighty, bad are like His frown.
December 29, 1932
I would not drink of Lethe's cup
For all or Nature's gold;
For I could never render up
My memories of old;
The struggles fierce and triumphs high
And comrades brave and bold
And loved ones who could nought deny
Whom I no more behold.
Life without memory would be
An idiotic tale: No friends would live in poesy
Who ecstasy exhale:
There would be no high increment
Of mind in lore's vast vale
Nor any spiritual ascent
Seeking the Holy Grail.
What matter if some grave mistake
Has marked my long career
Or youthful folly left a wake
That time can never clear?
For I have lived and lusted strong
And gained the life austere
And all the glimpse of right and wrong
Makes fuller truth appear.
My memories will death survive
And when my soul is free
And I in Paradise arrive
They will mean all to me;
For I shall gauge and estimate
That untold jubilee
And even now anticipate
The bliss I hold in fee.
Whenever I fain would taste sweet agony
I recollect the days now long gone by:
I summon friends who now in ashes lie
And recreate their merry symphony.
Where are they now? The sad monotony
Squeezes my soul as I repeat the cry,-
My boyhood friends who life could amplify!
And answer, - tantalizing echoes, only.
I live not in the past, for that way leads
To madness. Greatly blessed am I to take,
By choice alone, brief journeys to the past:
Such recollection satisfaction feeds
That I can always find my thirst to slake
Unnumbered blessings that remain steadfast.
February 2, 1933
Saint John on Patmos busied with his pen,
At Wartburg Luther wrote the years away,
Bunyan in Bedford Jail made into men
Abstractions that will live and move alway:
Only in exile from the world's harsh voice
Can mind and soul find leisure to produce;
Only in exile gain that equipoise
Without which thought is mundane, shallow, loose.
Like love, one proves in exile joy and pain;
Yet pain essential is to reach the core,
In all creation contrasts come again
And greater contrast yields so much the more.
I thank my Maker for the exiles sent
And for the months on Patmos that I spent.
March 3, 1933
BIRTHDAY SONNET FOR RALPH
O happy, happy age of seventeen!
Congratulations on your natal day
My dear, dear Ralph! may all your work and play
Be prospered, and no evil come between
You and your hopes! May e'er the golden sheen
Of faith and high ambition light your way
And lead you great achievements to essay
In piercing through the veil of the unseen!
Dear Ralph, you have delighted us, your vein
Original, your friendships, loyal, true,
Your humor, though sometimes against the grain,
Your zeal in doing what is best to do,-
These traits endear you to us all, my son;
And we shall love and aid till life is done.
February 26, 1933
O Children! My darlings, my jewels;
Seven Pleiades starred in a stack!
My Arthur, and Edward, and Alfred.
And Henry, and Ralph, and dear Jack,
And Dorothy, daintily graceful,
A fairy flown in from around!
I look on you all with thanksgiving
And my love is with Paradise crowned.
Strong Arthur, the poet and wrestler
And big embryo engineer!
May you win the prizes you cherish
And find life o’erflowing with cheer!
Tall Edward, the swimmer and scholar
And chemist in future estates!
May you prove that knowledge and virtue
Will keep men from Life's evil fates!
Bright Alfred, at school and in playgroup
So eager, efficient, alert!
May you in the world’ s large arena
Your seal into value convert!
Slow Henry, the good, golden-hearted,
With head ever buried in books!
May you find the niche that you covet
In Phantasy’s cool, shady nooks!
And Ralph, never pleased, but impatient
With, "Give me” and "Why not?" and "Oh"!
May restlessness urge you to conquer
And all minor pleasures forego!
You meteor of mischief my Jackie
With energies increased to "nth",
May you ever find best of guidance
And soon be a tower of strength.
And Dorothy, darling and Angel,
Our sunshine and paragon Miss!
May you dance o’er purity’s pathways
And dwell in a bower of bliss!
My children! Though Father may lead you
A step or two in life;
Though Father has little to leave you
Of wealth in your struggle and strife,
Our Father in Heaven has riches
Untold at your beck and your call,
And We shall surround and protect you
And lift whenever you fall.
Two Paradises were vouchsafed to me
On earth, and one I hope to share in Heaven;-
The first near Homer’s town beside the sea
There, where I met my Helen, fairer even
Than she who launched the ships, and there were born
The babes, the sacred number. Fire and war
And even earthquake left us not forelorn
For nothing our great happiness could mar.
As Roger Williams was to Providence
Conducted, we from that fine port were led
To Norton, where in new magnificence
The second Paradise our love bestead.
If Paradise on earth can be so fair
The third in Heaven we shall gladly dare.
December 24, 1932
“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep”
Sang David, though beset by many foes:
My life, as well, has had its rue and rose,
Yet ever doth my Lord his promise keep:
I dwell in safety, though the floods may sweep
About me; and each dawning, by repose,
I bravely face whate'er it may disclose,
Assured that many a boon from life I’ll reap.
As I grow older, --- six decades and five, ---
Of high adventure lived in many lands,
I lean the more on sleep and find I thrive
So well I gladly meet all life’s demands.
Unbroken sleep is my support and friend:
Sleep, as man's greatest boon, God doth defend.
March 9, 1933
No matter what may come or go,
Be it good fortune, loss or woe,
It cannot stir my pulses slow.
My seven children shout and leap
And all in vast confusion keep
Yet nought but love their antics reap.
I shelter near the flowing Marne
And listen to War's loud alarm
But never dream of hurt or harm.
I journey on the winter sea
Where U-boats wander craftily
But all is joy and peace with me.
I travel here, I travel there,
I seem to move 'most everywhere,
Yet only friends I find to share.
I look back on a lengthened life
And little find of storm or strife
Because my heart with peace was rife.
True happiness is of the heart,
It least depends on wealth or art,
And from itself makes radiance dart.
If I might choose 'twixt gold or fame
Or power and peace I sure should name
Peace, for it makes them all the same.
A balanced nature, tranquil mind
And grateful heart will surely find
Life in real ecstasy unwind.
Would you see a lovely city,
Diamond set in emerald green,
With as bright a sky above it
As e'er mortal eye hath seen?
Then come out and sit beside me
On this foothill, looking east,
And, with eyelids opened widely,
Let your love for beauty feast.
On all sides, on the horizon,
Rim the mountains, golden brown,
Then a circle,- narrow, nearer,-
Vineyards yellow, like a crown;
Then the orchards, fields, and gardens
Intercept the space between
Till the city's whiteness hardens
With a bright and splendid sheen.
An oasis is Damascus,
Gift of Anti-Lebanon;
For the Pharpar and Abana
Offer thus her benison;
Through the city run the rivers,
Bringing joy to every home,
Then are lost unto the givers
In the Desert's yellow chrome.
Old Damascus! Abram's steward
From this ancient city came;
Saul went there with zeal to slaughter
Those who dared the Christian name.
There beyond, where highways join
From the north, and east, and south,
Christ his vision did purloin
And these words heard from his mouth,-
"Lord” what wilt thou have me do?" then
Answer came and Saul was led
Through the Straight Street, which we see there
With the long roof overhead:
Ananias, not the liar,
Sight restored; the Holy Ghost
Filled his soul with fervour higher
Than has ever filled a host.
When Mohammed, Arab seer,
Saw Damascus, he exclaimed,
"Paradise, like this Damascus
If not for my men and me;
For it would abate our longing
For that future heavenly".
Turned away then this ascetic,
Elsewhere rode to spread his creed.
Martyrdom was not unknown here;
Marionites the Druses slew
By the thousand, till the French came
And their power to harm withdrew.
Now the city and oasis
Their prosperity advance
On a more established basis
With a minimum of chance.
Sunset is behind us, leaving
All the western sky aglow:
Slowly riding back to shelter,
We a passing glance bestow
On the women, curtained faces,
On the men in silken robes,
On the mosques, the holy places,
Till the inn our group englobes.
August 17, 1898
Revised Paradise, Norton
February 4, 1935
TO JOHN PURDON LAWRENCE
ON HIS TWELFTH BIRTHDAY
Long, long before your birth, a lady dear
Foretold your coming, dearest Jackie boy!
She said that you would be our pride and joy
And when you came that we need never fear:
A thousand blessings, Jack on your twelfth year;
May accident or Illness ne'er annoy
May you your strength and cleverness employ
And always be a source of help and cheer!
You luckily were born at Paradise
And to another Paradise you came:
Soon, Father's coming you will realize
And our delightful life will be the same,
A fine youth you will be; a finer man,
And each of us-will help you all we can.
January 1, 1933
Only two souls I perfectly can trust
The Master-Soul and my devoted wife:
I feel He is the very source of life
And that He is infallibly just:
Without My Helen I should swiftly rust
She is my Joan of Arc in care and strife,
She kindles in me aspirations rife
With selflessness and holiness, which must
Draw us both nearer to the Master-Soul.
My wife shares every secret hove known
And I can trust her till my dying breath:
My Father has revealed the destined goal;
He in my spirit precious seed hath sown,-
I trust the harvest now and after death.
January 6, 1933
O glorious, eternal God!
Our Father and our Friend!
Whose wisdom guides the universe
From birth to distant end;
Help us to praise Thee and to pray
In fitting song and prayer;
Accept our lowly offering
And aid us all to dare!
Thou art Perfection, Beauty, Light,
The Source of every good!
And Thou dost offer every child
Thy Grace in boundless flood!
Help us our right divine to claim,
Our heavenly mission fill,-
To reign on earth as sons of God
And banish every ill!
Thou gavest Jesus, Thy dear Son,
To suffer and to die,
To tell to us Thy wondrous love
And our salvation buy!
Oh! aid us all like Him to live,
Thy confidence confirm;
That we may ever upward climb
Throughout life's transient term!
O glorious, eternal God!
Walk with us, hand in hand!
Make holy our America,
Make holy every land!
Inspire with zeal and sacrifice
Each voice and brush and pen;
That all may work with Thee, the Lord,
And Eden gain again.
THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA
I climbed the Leaning Tower, and it seemed
Ascending was uneven, for at times
A greater effort needed than I deemed
While force relaxed at other turning climbs:
So with mankind's ascending in the scale
Of human progress up from brute to God,
At times almost descending to the vale
Of savagery, to almost soulless clod:
Yet in each spiral course, a higher round,
A more exalted station he attains,
Until, at last, with one exulting bound,
He gazes on God's infinite domains.
Let poets pout, and misanthropes despair
In vain, for there is progress everywhere.
January. 1, 1933
From Paradise to Paradise I came,
From old Ionia, where Homer hymned,
To Norton, where a landscape fair is limned,
Whiter flock many maidens lore to claim.
Wheaton has merited her waxing fame;
Her lamp illumined yet has never dimmed,
Her aureole has ever wider rimmed
And more and more of honor gilds her name.
The gems of Norton,- lake and field and fell,
Are multi-colored in the sunset hue;
Fairer by far than plains of asphodel,
More beautiful than Capri, brown and blue.
Here, in my sunset, glad am I to dwell;
Here find I comrades, friends, and teachers true.
September 1, 1933
One morn unique I never shall forget
When, leaping from my bed ere break of day,
I hastened to the top of Olivet
And gazed upon the city, old and gray,
Which, wrapped in slumber deep, below me lay:
The solar beams, shot slanting from the rear,
Soon lighted Zion’s summit far away,
Revealed Moriah's crown, the sight so dear
That long my soul had seen, and vainly wished was near.
Emotions past description filled my breast
As there I stood, enraptured by the sight:
The mingled joys of peace, and love, and zest
Brought every moment some renewed delight
And gave a clearer view of truth and right.
As o'er the scared scene my vision ran
The hallowed spots stood out in form so bright
I seemed to feel the presence of the Man,
Who taught and suffered there to break Death's mortal ban.
Below me was the Garden where he wept
And watched in anguish deep the long night through;
Alone, forsaken, He the vigil kept
In sorrow keener than e'er mortal knew,
With bloody sweat did He the ground imbrue:
Across that Brook to judgment He was led
With no disciple near to hope renew,
A crown of thorns was placed upon His head
And soon the robe of white was dyed a crimson red.
Upon that hill, without the city wall,
That barren mound I now so plainly see,
They nailed Him 'fast, and then with mocking call
They bade Him come from off the shameful tree, -
To save Himself, if He the chosen be.
The watching sun, at sight so full of bane,
Soon drew a blackened pall o'er Calvary;
The Temple veil was roughly rent in twain
And all in nature groaned with pangs of deepest pain
The sun lights up the valleys, now I turn
A little to the south, to Bethany
For which the heart of Jesus oft did yearn;
Mary and Martha listened breathlessly
To living words, and, later deathlessly,
Lazarus laughed. Directly southwards, down
Nearly a mile beneath me where I stand,
Behold the Barren Lake, the mountain brown
Of Nebo, whence the dying Moses saw his Land.
Returning to the city, I survey
The Golden Gate, through which the Saviour rode
On His triumphal entry, and the way
Stephen, the pristine martyr, slowly strode
With Saul consenting to the heavy load
Of blame: The Way of Sorrow leads along
To Pilate's Hall, where many feet below
The city's present level once did throng
The multitude to watch the Savior’s shame and woe.
I visit Calvary; the Sepulchre ,
Where, unto then, no form had e'er been laid,
Is simple and austere in character,
Nobler by far than that by moderns made
Within the walls the stone is still unstayed
As on that Easter morn; I see the light
Of one in shining raiment, - hear the tale
Of joy and wonder when the awesome sight
Bursts on the women, and the Saviour cries, “All Hail”
This holy hill, the sepulchre near by,
The ancient city lying at my feet,
Do still remain; but far beyond the sky
A fairer City stands, whose meanest street
Is paved with gold, and strewn with garlands sweet.
These hoary halls, so blest in days of yore,
No more can joy and inspiration give;
But in that heavenly land, the endless store
Of love, and joy, and peace forevermore will live.
I’m longing, I’m yearning
I'm waiting for you;
Dear Helen, In Asia,
Where skies are so blue.
In three months, my darling,
My dream will come true
And "Paradise Farm” will
Our rapture renew.
You’re working, and planning,
And watching for me,
My help-meet, in Norton
Where I long to be;
Your loyalty, dearest,
Is sure guarantee
Some ninety days after
Of high jubilee.
We’re longing, and yearning,
And waiting for each,
When letters will finish
And love lips have speech,
When arms for each other
Wide open shall reach,
And future communion
No partings shall breach.
One day I left Jerusalem
Whose ancient glories claimed my quest.,
And rode, with hope of visions blest,
To the dear town of Bethlehem;
Past Rachel's Tomb, past sloping fields
Where David fed his flocks before
To that deep well, from whence of yore
A draught was brought by mighty shields.
To that sweet well the women came
With babes on shoulders borne astride
To fill their jars, and then with pride
On heads erect they placed the same.
I reached the market place where lines
Of merchants chaffered through the years,
And where they wrought for souvenirs
The olive wood in quaint designs.
At last I saw the scared spot
Where God in man was incarnate,
Where Mary laid her precious freight
And Christ assumed His human lot.
The manger there doth still abide,
Marked by a glistening silver star,
And, as I cast my thought afar,
I saw the first glad Christmas-Tide.
The father, wondering and mute,
The mother, in her Babe enwrapped,
The Magi, by success enhapped,
The shepherds and the lowing brute.
And that blest Babe! no parents fond
On earth e'er saw such wondrous eyes,
Which seemed to pierce the roof and skies
To see His Father far beyond.
That forehead showed an intellect
Which would give men new laws of life
Those loving lips would teach that strife
Is barred by Heaven’s Architect;
And that dear form, now tender, weak
Would bear the hateful, glorious Cross,
Would suffer all, men count as loss,
And yet release for all bespeak.
And now that Babe, creation’s gem
Has for the world recurring birth;
A savior comes to each on earth
And all may have their Bethlehem.
February 5, 1935
Hurrah! Hurrah! for nineteen thirty-three,
My Alfred, cherished jewel of my crown!
Full soon be thou a seasoned dominie
And no more student in the halls of Brown!
Congratulations on this happy day,
Thy birthday, though 1 cannot clasp thy hand
For health and happiness I deeply pray
And promise all the aid I can command.
Dear Alfred, all my love I cannot tell:
Thou hast been patient, earnest, loyal, true:
May we together many long years dwell,
And in communion art and lore pursue!
"Beauty is truth” sang the immortal Keats
And the pursuit of truth man’s life complete
March 22, 1933
THE STONE THAT WAS ROLLED AWAY
From Joseph's Tomb the stone is rolled away
And Christ, the Lord of fuller life, is risen:
No longer men need dread life's closing day
Nor fear to place their dead in earth's dark prison:
For, as the Spirit triumphs over death
And rolls away each stone that limits man, S
O Spirit aids each soul that hungerth
For God, and rolls away the stones that ban,-
The stones of selfishness, and doubt, and fear,
The stone of egotism, soul's suicide,
The stone of jealousy, to man so dear,
The stones of sluggishness, and lust and pride.
Spirit surround us as the earth the air
Spirit will aid us if we only dare'.
April 5, 1931
The golden world of faery and romance
Which Malory of old disclosed to view
And many a poet has attempted, too,
By Tennyson was fixed in permanence:
Each person, place, and every circumstance
Of high import, in figures bold and true,
And with embellishments of vivid hue,
Forever live, embalmed as in a trance.
King Arthur rules in state at Camelot
The Table Round unites the men in mail,
The queen to wooed by proud Sir Lancelot,
Sir Galahad still seeks the Holy Grail:
Though Tennyson is gone has work survives
And shall go on while Earth has human lives.
TO DOROTHY NANCY LAWRENCE
ON HER ELEVENTH BIRTHDAY
My only daughter, darling Dorothy,
How long we waited and how much we prayed
That your dear soul would come to us, arrayed
In beauty, goodness, grace and symmetry!
And then you came, the sweetest baby girl
Who ever lived, and we were satisfied
And every friend was gladly gratified
For all knew we had gained a priceless pearl.
May God shower blessings on you, dearest Dot,
Thru this eleventh year and all your life!
And may your sunny self shed blessing, rife
With joy and goodness, that are ne'er forgot!
I love you Dorothy, more than the gold
Of Croesus, for your gentleness and grace,
For your swift body and your happy face;
And soon these arms my “Gift of God” shall hold
January 8, 1933
Imagination took on human guise,
O Shakespeare! when thy soul to Albion came
Forth from the spacious courts of Paradise
To earn on earth the poet's highest fame.
On Fancy's wings to countries far and wide
And backward through, the corridors or Time
Thou didst delight to travel; none could hide
From thy creative gaze and power sublime.
And thou wast lonely, - thou couldst never find
A kindred spirit worthy or thy love,
And only in creations of the mind
Couldst thou commune with souls like those above.
Thou art immortal, both while men shall live
And when hereafter they their homage give.
December 19, 1932
Genealogy of Caleb W. Lawrence & Family
Where Antony by Egypt was seduced
The fiery Saul first saw the light of day:
His ardent youth had fullest, noblest play
Yet was to perfect discipline reduced,
Then at Damascus, was his blindness loosed
And unto love was turned his lust to slay;
There strength divine was given for the fray
And Paul his miracles of might produced.
Not Phillip's son, nor Caesar, nor the host
Of sages ever did so much for man;
Only the Christ excelled Paul's uttermost
And, but for Paul even Christ had felt the ban:
The great Apostle his own Lord surpassed
Because the Master's Spirit he amassed.
JOHN THE BAPTIST
Least known, by far, least famed in rhyme or prose,
The Baptist, John, was greatest of them all,-
Disciples or apostles- who uprose
To preach the Christ and spread the Gospel call.
"Than John the Baptist there has not arisen
A greater", was the meed that Jesus gave:
What matchless praise, from lips divine deriven,
For him who was beheaded by a slave!
Great in humility, fain to decrease
That Christ the fuller glory might attain,
John, the forerunner of the Prince of Peace,
Lived equally without a blot or stain.
Would that Humility, life's rarest bloom,
Might beautify each life and every room.
The Book on which my youthful faith was based
Has suffered with these years of sweeping change:
Once it was so infallibly encased
That from its dogma thought might never range.
I saw the havoc criticism wrought
As when a masterpiece is proved untrue;
I shuddered as the doubts pressed in unsought
And strove to bolster up my faith anew;
Then I grew gentler, wiser, --- cast aside
The commentaries, read the Book again
And found, though much seemed chaff, there did remain
Food for the soul, like hills of golden grain.
Perhaps some other Bible there will be,
But this, THE Book, is God's own Book for me.
December 23, 1932
PALM SUNDAY 1931
The fickle multitude their garments fling
With palms upon the way the Saviour rides,
And shouts repeated of "Hosanna!" ring
For Him who ne'er the prince of power abides:
And yet, the selfsame week, they fiercely cry
Against the One who asks for sacrifice:
They turn to rage, and bellow "Crucify"
Because they do not dare to pay the price.
As when a leopard licks the friendly hand
That gives it easy, full and unearned food;
But tears its master when he bids it stand
And tasks perform which are for its own good.
Shall we Christ leave and lodge at Bethany
Or shall we share His pain at Calvary?
March 31, 1931
Queen Hyppolita and sweet Emily
A sister shared whom they saw nevermore,
For Smyrna earned her Immortality
By dying on the brown Ephesian shore.
Once the bold Greeks with lordly Androclus
In conquest crossed the blue Aegean Sea
And sought to gain the templed Ephesus
Which then belonged to goddess Cybele.
The Amazons, whose right breasts all were shorn
That they their falchions might the better wield,
Of husbands and of lovers were forlorn
And only to Cybele deigned to yield.
Brave Smyrna, to defend the holy place,
Her female hosts marshalled in close array
And when the Greeks advanced with martial grace,
She led them forth to dread and bloody fray.
Croessus looked with anguish on the scene
Of men and maidens locked in deadly strife,
While Pion trembled as the falchions keen
Deprived his faithful servitors of life.
Seven times the sword of Smyrna served its end
And seven youths fell headlong to the ground;
But then a thrust strong Smyrna failed to fend
So that a Grecian blade her brave heart found.
Unwilling e'er to trust her virgin charms
To alien hands, ere life was spent, at last
She leaped into the Cayster's waiting arms
Ana into the Aegean soon was cast.
The ocean maidens fitting burial gave
In a rich palace underneath the sea,
And there the floods her limbs forever lave
And there she waits for vanquished Cybele.
Honored was Smyrna by the conquering Greeks
And a fair precinct kept her memory green,
Whose valiant warriors won the bays and creeks
Until Mt. Sipylus at last was seen.
Upon a bay where Clazomenae stood,
A city vast was founded, and the name
Of Smyrna, Amazon, the brave and good,
Has e'er preserved the mart in fairest fame.
"Smyrna the Faithful' was the Roman cry,
For treachery was never there conceived;
"Faithful till Death" was Polycarp's reply
When flames the aged patriarch bereaved.
All honor then to Smyrna is the due-
To each brave spirit there is given a share-
And each new age the virtue shall renew
As long as souls their present bodles wear.