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As we forget thou hast not always been, And turned with loftier brow and firmer Mother of States and unpolluted men,

stride; Virginia, fitly named from England's manly For in that spectral cloud-work I had seen queen!

Her image, bodied forth by love and pride,

The fearless, the benign, the mother-eyed, AN ODE

The fairer world's toil-consecrated queen. FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY, 1876

What shape by exile dreamed elates the

mind Like hers whose hand, a fortress of the

poor, ENTRANCED I saw a vision in the cloud No blood in vengeance spilt, though lawful, That loitered dreaming in yon sunset sky,

stains ? Full of fair shapes, balf creatures of the Who never turned a suppliant from her eye,

door? Half chance-evoked by the wind's fantasy Whose conquests are the gains of all manIn golden mist, an ever-shifting crowd:

kind? There, 'mid unreal forms that came and Today her thanks shall fly on every wind, went

Unstinted, unrebuked, from shore to shore, In air-spun robes, of evanescent dye, One love, one hope, and not a doubt behind! A woman's semblance shone preëminent; Cannon to cannon shall repeat her praise, Not armed like Pallas, not like Hera proud, Banner to banner flap it forth in flame; But, as on household diligence intent, Her children shall rise up to bless her Beside her visionary wheel she bent

name, Like Aretë or Bertha, nor than they And wish her harmless length of days, Less queenly in her port : about her knee The mighty mother of a mighty brood, Glad children clustered confident in play: Blessed in all tongues and dear to every Placid her pose, the calm of energy;

blood, And over her broad brow in many a round The beautiful, the strong, and, best of all, (That loosened would have gilt her gar

the good. ment's hem), Succinct, as toil prescribes, the hair was

3. wound

Seven years long was the bow In lustrous coils, a natural diadem.

Of battle bent, and the heightening The cloud changed shape, obsequious to the Storm-heaps convulsed with the throe whim

Of their uncontainable lightning; Of some transmuting influence felt in me, Seven years long heard the sea And, looking now, a wolf I seemed to see Crash of navies and wave-borne thunder; Limned in that vapor, gaunt and hunger- Then drifted the cloud-rack a-lee, bold,

And new stars were seen, a world's wonThreatening her charge: resolve in every der; limb,

Each by her sisters made bright,
Erect she flamed in mail of sun-wove gold, All binding all to their stations,
Penthesilea's self for battle dight;

Cluster of manifold light
One arm uplifted braced a flickering spear, Startling the old constellations:
And one her adamantine shield made light; Men looked up and grew pale:
Her face, helm-shadowed, grew a thing to

Was it a comet or star,

Omen of blessing or bale, And her fierce eyes, by danger challenged, Hung o'er the ocean afar ?

took Her trident - sceptred mother's dauntless

4. look.

Stormy the day of her birth: “I know thee now, 0 goddess-born !” I Was she not born of the strong, cried,

She, the last ripeness of earth,



Beautiful, prophesied long?

Holding by toil-won titles fresh from God Stormy the days of her prime:

The lands no serf or seigneur ever trod, Hers are the pulses that beat

With manhood latent in the very sod, Higher for perils sublime,

Where the long billow of the wheatfield's Making them fawn at her feet.

tide Was she uot born of the strong ?

Flows to the sky across the prairie wide, Was she not born of the wise ?

A sweeter vision than the castled Rhine, Daring and counsel belong

Kindly with thoughts of Ruth and BibleOf right to her confident eyes:

days benign.
Human and motherly they,
Careless of station or race:
Hearken ! her children to-day

O ancient commonwealths, that we revere Shout for the joy of her face.

Haply because we could not know you

near, Your deeds like statues down the aisles of

Time 1.

Shine peerless in memorial calm sublime, No praises of the past are hers,

And Athens is a trumpet still, and Rome; No fanes by hallowing time caressed, Yet which of your achievements is not foam No broken arch that ministers

Weighed with this one of hers (below you To Time's sad instinct in the breast:

far She has not gathered from the years

In fame, and born beneath a milder star), Grandeur of tragedies and tears,

That to Earth's orphans, far as curves the Nor from long leisure the unrest

dome That finds repose in forms of classic grace: Of death-deaf sky, the bounteous West These may delight the coming race

means home, Who haply shall not count it to our crime With dear precedency of natural ties That we who fain would sing are here That stretch from roof to roof and make before our time.

men gently wise ? She also hath her monuments;

And if the nobler passions wane, Not such as stand decrepitly resigned

Distorted to base use, if the near goal To ruin-mark the path of dead events

Of insubstantial gain That left no seed of better days behind, Tempt from the proper race-course of the The tourist's pensioners that show their

soul scars

That crowns their patient breath And maunder of forgotten wars ;

Whose feet, song-sandalled, are too fleet She builds not on the ground, but in the

for Death, mind,

Yet may she claim one privilege urbane Her open-hearted palaces

And haply first upon the civic roll, For larger-thoughted men with heaven and That none can breathe her air nor grow earth at ease :

humane. Her march the plump mow marks, the

3. sleepless wheel, The golden sheaf, the self-swayed com- Oh, better far the briefest hour monweal ;

Of Athens self-consumed, whose plastic The happy homesteads hid in orchard

power trees

Hid Beauty safe from Death in words or Whose sacrificial smokes through peaceful stone; air

Of Rome, fair quarry where those eagles Rise lost in heaven, the household's silent

crowd prayer;

Whose fulgurous vans about the world had What architect hath bettered these ?

blown With softened eye the westward traveller Triumphant storm and seeds of polity;

Of Venice, fading o'er her shipless sea, A thousand miles of neighbors side by side, Last iridescence of a sunset cloud;



Than this inert prosperity,

With care that whispers and forebodes:
This bovine comfort in the sense alone! Nor this our triumpb-day can blunt Me-
Yet art came slowly even to such as those, gæra's goads.
Whom no past genius cheated of their own
With prudence of o’ermastering precedent;
Petal by petal spreads the perfect rose, Murmur of many voices in the air
Secure of the divine event;

Denounces us degenerate,
And only children rerd the bud half-blown Unfaithful guardians of a noble fate,
To forestall Nature in her calm intent: And

prompts indifference or despair: Time hath a quiver full of purposes Is this the country that we dreamed in Which miss not of their aim, to us un

youth, known,

Where wisdom and not numbers should And brings about the impossible with ease: have weight, Haply for us the ideal dawn shall break Seed-field of simpler manners, braver truth, From where in legend-tinted line

Where shams should cease to dominate The peaks of Hellas drink the morning's In household, church, and state ? wine,

Is this Atlantis ? This the unpoisoned soil, To tremble on our lids with mystic sign Sea-whelmed for ages and recovered late, Till the drowsed ichor in our veins awake Where parasitic greed no more should coil And set our pulse in tune with moods Round Freedom's stem to bend awry and divine:

blight Long the day lingered in its sea-fringed What grew so fair, sole plant of love and nest,

light? Then touched the Tuscan hills with golden Who sit where once in crowned seclusion sate lance

The long-proved athletes of debate And paused; then on to Spain and France Trained from their youth, as none thinks The splendor flew, and Albion's misty

needful now? crest:

Is this debating club where boys dispute, Shall Ocean bar him from his destined And wrangle o'er their stolen fruit, West ?

The Senate, erewhile cloister of the few, Or are we, then, arrived too late,

Where Clay once flasbed and Webster's Doomed with the rest to grope disconsolate, cloudy brow Foreclosed of Beauty by our modern date ? Brooded those bolts of thought that all the

horizon knew ?


Oh, as this pensive moonlight blurs my Poets, as their heads grow gray,

pines, Look from too far behind the eyes,

Here while I sit and meditate these lines, Too long-experienced to be wise


dreams of what they are by In guileless youth's diviner way;

day, Life sings not now, but prophesies; So would some light, not reason's sharpTime's shadows they no more behold,

edged ray, But, under them, the riddle old

Trance me in moonshine as before the That mocks, bewilders, and defies:

In childhood's face the seed of shame, Of years had won me this unwelcome right
In the green tree an ambushed flame, To see things as they are, or shall be soon,
In Phosphor a vaunt-guard of Night, In the frank prose of undissembling noon!
They, though against their will, divine,

And dread the care-dispelling wine
Stored from the Muse's vintage bright, Back to my breast, ungrateful sigh !
By age imbued with second-sight.

Whoever fails, whoever errs,
From Faith's own eyelids there peeps out, The penalty be ours, not hers !
Even as they look, the leer of doubt; The present still seems vulgar, seen too
The festal wreath their fancy loads







The golden age is still the age that 's past: Of ancient wisdom channelled deep in law, I ask no drowsy opiate

The undaunted few To dull my vision of that only state Who changed the Old World for the New, Founded on faith in man, and therefore And more devoutly prized sure to last.

Than all perfection theorized For, O my country, touched by thee, The more imperfect that had roots and The gray hairs gather back their gold;

grew. Thy thought sets all my pulses free; They founded deep and well, The heart refuses to be old;

Those danger-chosen chiefs of men The love is all that I can see.

Who still believed in Heaven and Hell, Not to thy natal-day belong

Nor hoped to find a spell, Time's prudent doubt or age's wrong,

In some fine flourish of a pen, But gifts of gratitude and song:

To make a better man Unsummoned crowd the thankful words, Than long-considering Nature will or can, As sap in spring-time floods the tree, Secure against his own mistakes, Foreboding the return of birds,

Content with what life gives or takes,
For all that thou hast been to me!

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 commonweal.

They wasted not their brain in schemes Flawless his heart and tempered to the Of what man might be in some bubble

sphere, Who, beckoned by the forward-leaning As if he must be other than he seems wave,

Because he was not what he should be First left behind him the firm-footed shore,

here, And, urged by every nerve of sail and Postponing Time’s slow proof to petulant oar,

dreams: Steered for the Unknown which gods to Yet herein they were great

Beyond the incredulous lawgivers of yore, Of thought and action the mysterious door, And wiser than the wisdom of the shelf, Bugbear of fools, a summons to the brave: That they conceived a deeper-rooted state, Strength found he in the unsympathizing Of hardier growth, alive from rind to core, sun,

By making man sole sponsor of himself. And strange stars from beneath the horizon

3. won, And the dumb ocean pitilessly grave: God of our fathers, Thou who wast, High-hearted surely he;

Art, and shalt be when those eye-wise who But bolder they who first off-cast

flout Their moorings from the habitable Past Thy secret presence shall be lost And ventured cbartless on the sea

In the great light that dazzles them to Of storm-engendering Liberty:

doubt, For all earth's width of waters is a span, We, sprung from loins of stalwart men And their convulsed existence mere repose, Whose strength was in their trust Matched with the unstable heart of man, That Thou wouldst make thy dwelling in Shoreless in wants, mist - girt in all it

their dust knows,

And walk with those a fellow-citizen
Open to every wind of sect or clan,

Who build a city of the just,
And sudden-passionate in ebbs and flows. We, who believe Life's bases rest

Beyond the probe of chemic test,

Still, like our fathers, feel Thee near, They steered by stars the elder shipmen Sure that, while lasts the immutable deknew,

cree, And laid their courses where the currents The land to Human Nature dear draw

Shall not be unbeloved of Thee.

mortals gave;



This title was given to the volume of poems collected and published in 1888 after Lowell's return private life.

He took occasion to

glean after his earlier harvest and preserved in it several poems written before the publication of Under the Willows.



Como Dicesti egli ebbe ? non viv' egli ancora ? Non fiere gli occhi suoi lo dolce lome ?

came over here. And so by degrees my poem worked itself out. The parts came to me as I came awake, and I wrote them down in the morning. I had all my bricks — but the mortar would n't sel, as the masons say. However, I got it into order at last. You will see there is a logical sequence if you look sharp. It was curious to me after it was done to see how fleshly it was. This impression of Agassiz had wormed itself into my consciousness, and without my knowing it had colored my whole poem. I could not help feeling how, if I had been writing of Emerson, for example, I should have been quite otherwise ideal. But there it is, and you can judge for yourself. I think there is some go in it somehow, but it is too near me yet to be judged fairly by me. It is old-fashioned, you see, but none the worse for that." The poem was dated February, 1874.


Lowell was in Florence when Agassiz died, and sent this poem home to Mr. Norton for publication.

“His death,” he says, home to me in a singular way, growing into my consciousness from day to day as if it were a graft new-set, that by degrees became part of my own wood and drew a greater share of my sap than belonged to it, as grafts sometimes will. I suppose that, unconsciously to myself, a great part of the ferment it produced in me was owing to the deaths of my sister Anna (Mrs. Charles R. Lowell], of Mrs. -, whom I knew as a child in my early manhood, and of my cousin Amory, who was inextricably bound up with the primal associations of my life, associations which always have a singular sweetness for me. A very deep chord had been touched also at Florence by the sight of our old lodgings in the Casa Guidi, of the balcony Mabel used to run on, and the windows we used to look out at so long ago. I got sometimes into the mood I used to be in when I was always repeating to myself,



"King Pandion he is dead; All ihy friends are lapt in lead,'

verses which seem to me desolately pathetic. At last I began to hum over bits of my poem in my head till it took complete possession of me and worked me up to a delicious state of excitement, all the more delicious as my brain (or at any rate the musical part of it) had been lying dormant so long. My old trick of seeing things with my eyes shut after I had gone to bed (I mean whimsical things utterly alien to the train of my thoughts — for example, a hospital ward with a long row of white, untenanted beds, and on the farthest a pile of those little wooden dolls with redpainted slippers) revived in full force. Nervous, horribly nervous, but happy for the first time (I mean consciously happy) since I

THE electric nerve, whose instantaneous

thrill Makes next-door gossips of the antipodes, Confutes poor Hope's last fallacy of ease, The distance that divided her from ill: Earth sentient seems again as when of old

The borny foot of Pan Stamped, and the conscious horror ran Beneath men's feet through all her fibres

cold: Space's blue walls are mined; we feel the

tbroe From underground of our night-mantled


The flame-winged feet Of Trade's new Mercury, that dry-shod run Through briny abysses dreamless of the


Are mercilessly fleet,
And at a bound annihilate
Ocean's prerogative of short reprieve;

Surely ill news might wait,
And man be patient of delay to grieve:

Letters have sympathies
And tell-tale faces that reveal,

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