Monday, May 29, 2017

REVEILLE, a poem

Adonis (1800, 1806) by Benjamin West
WHAT frolic zephyr through the young leaves plays,
     Scattering fragrance delicate and sweet?
     What impulse new moves Robin to repeat
     To pale Anemone his roundelays?
What winning wonder fills the world with praise
     In this mysterious time? Lo, all things greet
     A loved one, new redeemed from death's defeat—
     A youth whose languid head fair nymphs upraise!

For him the crocus dons his bravery,—
     And violets for him their censers swing;
     For him the shy arbutus, blushfully,
Peeps through the mosses that about her cling;
     Adonis wakes! Awake, earth's minstrelsy!
     In swelling diapason hymn the Spring!
"Reveille" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

On this day in 1900

Daughter Alice marries John Ellingwood Trask at 4:30pm in St. Luke's Church in Germantown.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

WATER LILIES, a poem

Water Lilies (ca. 1906, printed 1912)
by Adolf de Meyer
from The Met
I GATHERED them—the lilies pure and pale,
     The golden-hearted lilies, virgin fair,
     And in a vase of crystal, placed them where
Their perfumes might unceasingly exhale.
High in my lonely tent above the swale,
     Above the shimmering mere and blossoms there,
     I solaced with their sweetness my despair,
And fed with dews their beauteous petals frail.

But when the aspens felt the evening breeze,
     And shadows 'gan across the lake to creep,
When hermit-thrushes to the Oreades
     Sang vesper orisons, from cloisters deep,—
My lilies, lulled by native sympathies,
     Upfolded their white leaves and fell asleep.
"Water Lilies" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

THE "UNFINISHED" SYMPHONY, a poem

To Carl Pohlig

The inspired Leader of the Philadelphia Orchestra, on listening to the great Schubert.

O MUSIC of divine imagining!
     Does he not hear you in his dreams to-night?
Can you no wonder to his spirit bring—
     And no delight?

His love created you; his hopes, his fears,
     Are poignant in these tones, surmounting death—
These melodies that dim the eyes with tears,
     And snatch the breath! . . .

And can he longer sleep, nor note this strain
     Whose magic enters now, with lovelier art
That like a benediction thrills the brain
     And fills the heart?

Ah, not to one shall all earth's joys belong!
     So have the gods ordained, whom we obey,
Lest mortal men should deem themselves as strong,
     As blest as they.

On Schubert, out of love, the ecstasy
     That wrote this godlike music they conferred:
To us they gave to hear the symphony
     He never heard.

"The 'Unfinished' Symphony" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (May 1911), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Friday, May 26, 2017

THE MOURNER, a poem

A Figure Weeping over a Grave (1827 or 1829)
by George Richmond
Image from The Met
"'TIS over—all over!" the mourner said.
"My love, in the grave of my love, lies dead:
Barren of bloom as yon wintry tree,
Lifeless and chill, is the heart of me!
"I shall smile no more: a tale that is told
Is the rapture of being.  Now would I were old,
Who wearying years would no longer see
Stretching away unendingly!
"What value has Time?  The last to-morrow
For me will hold but the one, one sorrow
Which, lone, I still shall endure, forlorn
As the bird that, above me, its mate doth mourn."
·            ·            ·            ·            ·            ·
Full wearily wasted the months; and still
Guarding his grief with a constant will,
It chanced that the mourner, one halcyon day,
Wandering sadly the self-same way,
Beheld, half doubting, the wintry tree
A bower of blossom—a thing to see!—
And heard with emotion the sad bird sing:—
"O beauty! O love! O delight!—It is Spring!"
"The Mourner" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (May 1914).

Thursday, May 25, 2017

THE IDEAL, a poem

"Not the treasures is it that have awakened in me so-unspeakable a desire, but the Blue Flower is what I long to behold."—Novalis.
SOMETHING I may not win attracts me ever,—
     Something elusive, yet supremely fair,
Thrills me with gladness, but contents me never,
     Fills me with sadness, yet forbids despair.

It blossoms just beyond the paths I follow,
     It shines beyond the farthest stars I see,
It echoes faint from ocean caverns hollow,
     And from the land of dreams it beckons me.

It calls, and all my best, with joyful feeling,
     Essays to reach it as I make reply;
I feel its sweetness o'er my spirit stealing,
     Yet know ere I attain it I must die!
"The Ideal" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Atlantic Monthly (May 1891), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

30th Anniversary of the P.M.T.A.

From the August 1921 issue of The Etude

On 24 May 1921, Mrs. Coates attended the thirtieth anniversary of the formation of the Philadelphia Music Teacher's Association. Making the first address, Coates read her poem "Dream the Great Dream." The anniversary banquet was held in Philadelphia at the ballroom of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. Her address is as follows:

"Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: I can but feel it an especial privilege to be here this evening with all these many honored representatives of the universal art, the art which requires no translator—best beloved by men—the art which most closely unites men of alien lands and interests. In thinking of this art to which all the early years of my life were devoted, an art which I have always greatly loved, many thoughts crowd upon the mind. But with so many distinguished speakers present, I feel that I can say nothing so eloquent as the silence which will give us an opportunity to listen to them; so with this word and one more, I shall take my place again.
DREAM THE GREAT DREAM
Dream the Great Dream, though you should dream—you, only,
     And friendless follow in the lofty quest.
Though the dream lead you to a desert lonely,
     Or drive you, like the tempest, without rest,
Yet, toiling upward to the highest altar,
     There lay before the gods your gift supreme,—
A human heart whose courage did not falter
     Though distant as Arcturus shone the Gleam.
The Gleam?—Ah, question not if others see it,
     Who nor the yearning nor the passion share;
Grieve not if children of the earth decree it—
     The earth, itself,—their goddess, only fair!
The soul has need of prophet and redeemer:
     Her outstretched wings against her prisoning bars,
She waits for truth; and truth is with the dreamer,—
     Persistent as the myriad light of stars!"

"Dream the Great Dream" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Pathfinder (June 1911), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume II.