Edmund Clarence Stedman
American poet, critic, and essayist
- What if there be a fated day
When the Faery Isle shall pass away,
And its beautiful groves and fountains seem
The myths of a long, delicious dream!
A century's joys shall first repay
Our hearts, for the evil of that day;
And the Elfin-King has sworn to wed
A daughter of Earth, whose child shall be,
By cross and water hallowe'd,
From the fairies' doom forever free.
What if there be a fated day!
It is far away! it is far away!
Maiden, fair Maiden, I, who sing
Of this summer isle am the island King.
- "Elfin Song" (1850).
- O child! dear child!
Above the clouds I lift my wing
To hear the bells of Heaven ring;
Some of their music, though my flights be wild,
To Earth I bring;
Then let me soar and sing!
- "The Singer" (1860).
- In the lap of hoary Europe lie her children ill at rest,
Reaching hands of supplication to their brethren of the West;
Pale about the lifeless fountain of their ancient freedom, wait
Till the angel move its waters and avenge their stricken state.
Let me then, a new crusader, to the eastward set my face,
Wake the fires of old tradition on each sacred altar-place,
Till a trodden people rouse them, with a clamor as divine
As the winds of autumn roaring through the clumps of forest-pine.
I myself would seize their banner; they should follow where it led,
To the triumph of the victors or the pallor of the dead.
- "Flood-Tide" (1860).
- O, our feeble tests of greatness! Look for one so calm of soul
As to take the even chalice of his life and drink the whole.
Noble deeds are held in honor, but the wide world sorely needs
Hearts of patience to unravel this, — the worth of common deeds.
- "Flood-Tide" (1860).
- The year of jubilee has come;
Gather the gifts of Earth with equal hand;
Henceforth ye too may share the birthright soil,
The corn, the wine, and all the harvest-home.
- "The Feast of the Harvest" in The Blameless Prince : And Other Poems (1869).
- I dare aver
He is a brave discoverer
Of climes his elders do not know.
He has more learning than appears
On the scroll of twice three thousand years.
- "The Discoverer".
- At last the god cometh!
The air runs over with splendor;
The fire leaps high on the altar;
Melodious thunders shake the ground.
Hark to the Delphic responses!
Hark! it is the god!
- I loved: and in the morning sky,
A magic castle upward grew!
- Let the winds blow! a fiercer gale
Is wild within me! what may quell
That sullen tempest? I must sail
Whither, O whither, who can tell!
- Hopeless of all he dared to hope so long,
The music born within him dies away;
Even the song he loved becomes a pain,
Full-freighted with a yearning all in vain.
- "Hope Deferred".
- Where's he that died o' yesterday?
What better chance hath he
To clink the can and toss the pot
When this night's junkets be?
For the lad that died o' yesterday
Is just as dead — ho! ho! —
As the whoreson knave men laid away
A thousand years ago.
- "Falstaff's Song".
- Crops failed; wealth took a flight; house, treasure, land,
Slipped from my hold—thus plenty comes and goes.
One friend I had, but he too loosed his hand
(Or was it I?) the year I met with Rose.
- "The World Well Lost".
- Give me to die unwitting of the day,
And stricken in Life's brave heat, with senses clear!
- "Mors Benefica".