Saturday, November 25, 2017

MY DREAM, a poem

          THOUGH full of care
I tread the round
Of toil in which man's eager life is bound,
I faint not 'neath the load I bear;
For grievous though the burden sometimes be,
               I dream of thee!

          And when, at night,
I lie enwound
In silence that is sweeter than all sound,
The darkness, kindlier than light,
Shuts out the busy world awhile, and free,
               I dream of thee!

          Like to a breath
Of fragrance blown
From some shy blossom, hidden and alone,
Redeeming frost and wintry death,
So ever comes, like scent of bloom to me,
               My dream of thee!
"My Dream" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Smart Set (November 1902), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Friday, November 24, 2017

FREDERICK, a poem

"RESPECT the Future, which belongs to me!"
     So speak thy yearning and imperious will,
     Making the Present distant faiths fulfil,
And raised from falling kingdoms—Germany.

No idle name, no doubtful dream to thee
     That Future: actual, its clasp grown chill,
     It led thee, and thy soul sublimed it still,—
Heir of a more than earthly dynasty!

O didst thou think, untimely called to rest,
     The preparation of a life o'erthrown—
To lose what thou so bravely didst resign?

Forevermore the Fatherland shall own
     Her nobler liberties thy dear bequest:
     The future thy great spirit saw—was thine!
"Frederick" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The American (24 November 1888).

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Poems on Thanksgiving

GIVING THANKS

Thou that dost save through pain,
     And dost, afflicting, bless,
We offer Thee from prostrate hearts
     The Greater Thankfulness!
Lord, Thou hast humbled pride—
     Hast shown the world at length
What ruthlessness may dwell with Power,
     What bankruptcy with Strength;
And teaching us the scorn
     Of trifles that beguile,
Hast given us, dear God, to live
     When life is most worth while!
We thank Thee for the dream
     That heroes dreamed of yore,
For the desire of good, the will
     Earth's freedom to restore;
Spoiled children of the Past,
     To-day, more nobly blest,
We thank Thee who hast wakened us,
     And asked of us our best!
God of the young and brave
     Who nothing know of fear,
Who hold the things that life outlast
     Than life itself more dear,
We thank Thee that our souls
     Are strong as theirs to give—
All, all we cherish most on earth,
     That Liberty may live!
That we, O Good supreme!
     Still through our tears can see
On the brow of Death an aureole
     Of Immortality!
"Giving Thanks" by Florence Earle Coates, as published in The Unitarian Ledger (27 December 1917. Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger.


THANKSGIVING 

NOW gracious plenty rules the board,
     And in the purse is gold;
By multitudes in glad accord
     Thy giving is extolled.
Ah, suffer me to thank Thee, Lord,
     For what thou dost withhold!
I thank Thee that howe'er we climb
     There yet is something higher;
That though through all our reach of time
     We to the stars aspire,
Still, still beyond us burns sublime
     The pure sidereal fire!
I thank Thee for the unexplained,
     The hope that lies before,
The victory that is not gained,—
     O Father, more and more
I thank Thee for the unattained,
     The good we hunger for!
I thank Thee for the voice that sings
     To inner depths of being;
For all the spread and sweep of wings,
     From earthly bondage freeing;
For mystery—the dream of things
     Beyond our power of seeing!
"Thanksgiving" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Scribner's Magazine (November 1905), Lyrics of Life and Poems (1916) Volume II.

NOCTURNE, a poem

Flock of Sheep by
Ferdinand Chaigneau (1830-1906)

THE houseless wind has gone to rest
     In some rude cavern-bed of ocean,
And Neptune smooths his foamy crest,
     At Dian's will, with meek devotion;
The shepherd, gathering his sheep,
          Has brought them safely to the fold,—
          And in my arms my world I hold!
                         Sleep!

Forespent with hunting on the hill,
     My truant, in the dusk returning,
Finds the lone heart, he left at will,
     With the one worship burning.
The moonlight pales—the shade grows deep—
          The nightingale doth silence break!
          Ah, love, until the lark shall wake,
                         Sleep!

No homeless wanderer art thou!
     Here, pillowed safe, thy head is lying.
The nightingale! Ah, listen now!
     What passion—death itself defying!
Peace! Stars above us vigil keep,
          While breathes for thee each mystic flower
          A-bloom to-night in Dreamland bower:
                         Sleep!
"Nocturne" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (November 1907), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

The Coates' owned Ferdinand Chaigneau's Guarding the Flock, and it was gifted to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) by Mrs. Coates in 1923.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

THE LOVE OF LIFE, a poem

MY son is dead!" the aged woman wailed,
     "My son, who was the only help I had!
     My good, good son is dead—my faithful lad
Who ne'er in duty to his mother failed!"

Eager to comfort her distress, I spoke
     Words that have solaced many a soul bereaved
     Since kingly David uttered them when, grieved,
First to its final loss his heart awoke.

"Though he, indeed, shall not to you return,
     Yet, sorrowing mother, you shall go to him.
     Lo, even now, your lamp of life burns dim,
And you may find him soon for whom you yearn!"

Sudden the tears ceased on that face of woe
     As the poor creature turned my words to meet,
     And sighed, to my amaze:—"Still, life is sweet!"
Then I perceived she had no wish to go.
"The Love of Life" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912).

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SONG OF LIFE, a poem

MAIDEN of the laughing eyes,
     Primrose-kirtled, wing├Ęd, free,
Virgin daughter of the skies—
Joy!—whom gods and mortals prize,
     Share thy smiles with me!

Yet—lest I, unheeding, borrow
     Pleasure that to-day endears,
And benumbs the heart to-morrow,
Turn not wholly from me, Sorrow!
     Let me share thy tears!

Give me of thy fullness, Life!
     Pulse and passion, power, breath,
Vision pure, heroic strife,—
Give me of thy fullness, Life!—
     Nor deny me death!
"Song of Life" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (November 1901), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Monday, November 20, 2017

REPROACH NOT DEATH, a poem

REPROACH not Death, nor charge to him, in wonder,
     The lives that he doth separate awhile,
But think how many hearts that ache, asunder,
     Death, pitying Death, doth join and reconcile!
"Reproach Not Death" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lyrics of Life (1909), Scribner's Magazine (November 1911) and Poems (1916) Volume I.