THE seedling hidden in the sod"Ab Humo" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (April 1905), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
Were ill content immured to stay;
Slowly it upward makes its way
And finds the light at last, thank God!
The most despised of mortal things—
The worm devoid of hope or bliss,
Discovers in the chrysalis
Too narrow space for urgent wings.
These are my kindred of the clay;
But as I struggle from the ground
Such weakness in my strength is found,
I seem less fortunate than they;
Yet though my progress be but slow,
And failure oft obscure the past,
I, too, victorious at last,
Shall reach the longed-for light, I know!
Friday, April 20, 2018
Thursday, April 19, 2018
LOVE came into the world and said:"Love and the Child" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (April 1912), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
"With the tender infant on this bed
Shall be my home; I will impart
The winning graces to its heart
That blessing in life's pathway spread."
So—for Love crooned its lullabies—
His own smile dawned within its eyes,
And into its small being stole
The laughing radiance of his soul,
And all its eager sympathies.
Unconscious as the flowers that bless—
A tiny flame of lovingness—
To any palm it gave at once
A dimpled hand, in quick response,
Nor what "a stranger" meant might guess.
That to distrust is often well,
It heard with smile ineffable.
Then, on a morn, Love came to say:
"Thou child of mine, come, come away!
In Paradise to dwell!"
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
THEY told me: "Pan is dead—Nature is dead:"They Told Me" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
There is no God." I read
The words of Socrates, and then I read
Of Jesus; and I said:—
"''Divinity'' 's not dead!"
Good can nor poisoned be
Nor slain upon a tree:
The soul of good, escaping, still is free,
And in its ministry
Lives God eternally.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
"Eripuit cœlo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis."
FRANKLIN! our Franklin! America's loved son!—"Benjamin Franklin" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Reader (March 1906), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
Loved in his day, and now, as few indeed:
Franklin! whose mighty genius allies won,
To aid her in great need!
Franklin! with noble charm that fear allays,
Tact, judgment, insight, humor naught could dim!—
"Antiquity," said Mirabeau, "would raise
Altars to honor him!"
How should one country claim him, or one hour?
Bound to no narrow circuit, and no time,
He is the World's—part of her lasting dower,
One with her hope sublime.
His kindred are the equable and kind
Whose constant thought is to uplift and bless;
The witty, and the wise, the large of mind,
Who ignorance redress:
His kindred are the bold who, undismayed,
Believe that good is ever within reach;
All who move onward—howsoe'er delayed—
Who learn, that they may teach;
Who overcoming pain and weariness,
In life's long battle bear a noble part;
All who, like him,—greatest of gifts!—possess
The genius of the heart!
How should we praise whose deeds belittle praise,
Whose monument perpetual is our land
Saved by his wisdom, in disastrous days,
From tyranny's strong hand?—
How praise whose Titan-thought, beyond Earth's ken
Aspiring, tamed the lightnings in revolt,
Subduing to the will of mortal men
The awful thunderbolt?
Our debt looms larger than our love can pay:
We know not with what homage him to grace
Whose name outlasts the monument's decay,—
A glory to our race!
*"Eripuit coelo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis": A line in Latin that Marquis Turgot wrote under a portrait of Franklin. An English translation by James Elphinston (pre-1817): "He snatcht the bolt from Heaven's avenging hand, / Disarm'd and drove the tyrant from the land.
Monday, April 16, 2018
THROUGH the rushes by the river"Through the Rushes" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Atlantic Monthly (March 1892), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
Runs a drowsy tremor sweet,
And the waters stir and shiver
In the darkness at their feet;
From the sombre east up-stealing,
Gradual, with slow revealing,
Comes the dawn, and with a sigh
Night goes by.
Here and there, to mildest wooing,
Folded buds are open-blown;
And the drops their leaves bedewing,
Like to seed-pearls thickly sown,
Sinking, with the blessing olden,
Deep into each calyx golden,
A supreme behest obey,
Then melt away.
And while robes of splendor trailing,
Fitly deck the glowing morn,
And a fragrance, fresh exhaling,
Greets her loveliness new-born,
Midst divine melodic voicings,
Midst delicious mute rejoicings,
Strong as when the worlds began,
Sunday, April 15, 2018
by Florence Earle Coates
IT is told of one of our poets that, when in England, he was asked who took Matthew Arnold's place in America, and he answered, "Matthew Arnold." The reply would still be just, and, excepting as he fills it, the place of Matthew Arnold must long continue vacant. Men of genius are not replaced, and if, dying, they leave their work half done, the loss is irreparable. But Arnold's message was delivered, whether in verse or prose, with an amplitude and distinctness to which few messages may lay claim, and is "full of foretastes of the morrow." [read more...]
Saturday, April 14, 2018
THE BAND OF THE TITANIC
"These are the immortal,—the fearless"—Upanishads
UP, lads! they say we've struck a berg, though there's no danger yet,—"The Band of the Titanic" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (July 1912), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
Our noble liner was not built to wreck!—
But women may have felt a shock they're needing to forget,
And when there's trouble, men should be on deck.
Come!—now's the time! They're wanting us to brighten them a bit;
Play up, my lads—as lively as you can!
Give them a merry English air! they want no counterfeit
Like that down-hearted tune you just began!...
I think the Captain's worried, lads: maybe the thing's gone wrong;
Well, we will show them all is right with us!
Of Drake and the Armadas now we'll play them such a song
Shall make them of the hero emulous.
When boats are being lowered, lads, your place and mine are here,—
Oh, we were never needed more than now!
When others go, it is for us those left behind to cheer,
And I am glad, my lads, that we know how!
If it is Death that's calling us, we'll make a brave response;
Play up, play up!—ye may not play again;
The prize that Nelson won at last, the chance that comes but once,
Is ours, my lads!—the chance to die like men!
O NATURE! overmastered by thy power,"The Titanic—Aftermath" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912).
Man is a hero still
And knighthood is in flower!
All save his tameless will
Thou can'st subdue by thine appalling might;
But failest utterly to quench his spirit's light.
Yea, though he seem, in conflict with thy strength,
A pygmy of the dust,
Heroic man, at length
Greater than thou, through trust,
Sovereign through something thou can'st not enslave,
Finds once again, in death, the life he scorned to save!
On 18 May 1912, the New York Times reports that Mr. and Mrs. Coates are among those aboard the S. S. Minnewaska en route to London. This voyage would take place one month after the sinking of the Titanic. Sometime between then and July 1912, Mrs. Coates would write "The Band of the Titanic." She would also pen "The Titanic—Aftermath" to be published in The Unconquered Air and Other Poems released in November of the same year. The Coates' were likely headed to painter John McLure Hamilton's home in Murestead, Grove End Road, London, N. W., England, for it was there, during the summer of 1912, that Mr. Hamilton painted their portraits.
|Edward H. Coates (1912)|
by John McLure Hamilton
The Philadelphia Inquirer, on 10 November 1912, describes the portrait of Mrs. Coates (not shown) as possessing "to a marked degree the charm and vivacity of the sitter, and while it is not an unqualified success in the drawing of the head, the perspective of which is open to criticism, it resembles the curate's egg in the excellence of its parts. The hands are sympathetic and really rather wonderful in their character."