Friday, March 31, 2017

On this day in 1922

The auctioning of Mrs. Coates' husband's books. From The Publisher's Weekly (1922):

Friday afternoon and evening, March 31st, at 2:30 and 7:30 p. m. A valuable collection of personal association books and first editions of English and American Authors belonging to the Estate of the late Edward Hornor Coates, formerly President of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. (No. 1296; Items 808.) Stan V. Henkels, 1304 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa. [Auction Calendar]

For more on Mr. Coates, see post "High thought seated in a heart of courtesy"

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

THE "PENSEUR", a poem

The Musée Rodin (Rodin Museum) in Paris, France was formerly the site of The Sacré Cœur (The Convent of the Sacred Heart), where Florence Earle Coates once attended school. It "was a convent school for young girls run by nuns that fell to the French government as a result of the 'religious orders' law of 1904 which involved the separation of church and state, and prohibited religious orders from teaching." (Wikipedia)

Auguste Rodin's Le Penseur
Musée Rodin, Paris, France



RODIN'S it was—this vital thing, this Soul,
This striving force imprisoned in clay,
This monster Shape inert, held in control
          By that it doth enshrine:
     Rodin's it was; but, ah, to-day
          It is the world's—and mine!

What mystery here is meant?
Is this Time's great event—
This creature earthward sent
     With subtle might against himself to strive—
          To struggle upward from the brutish thing
          And, ruling the blood's rioting,
     Keep the celestial spark in him alive?

What miracle is meant,
Suggested by this frame relaxed and bent?
What wonders to this Titan are revealed,
Sitting enisled and motionless as if
Lone on some cloud-invested Teneriffe?
Inward and inward still his vision sinks.
What does he here?—He thinks!

Thought is the travail that absorbs him thus;
Himself the workshop, most mysterious,
Wherein are wrought what human strengths there be.
     Detached, aloof, with eyes that seem to stare
          Beyond us and beyond apparent things,
He gazes far into futurity,
And doth with gods unbourned horizons share.
          For thoughts, upborne on never-tiring wings,
     Boldly adventure regions foul and fair:
To Hades sink, then rise to Heaven again,
     Still finding everywhere
The mystic threads whereof are joy and pain
Shaped in the penetralia of the brain!
"The 'Penseur'" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The North American Review (March 1914) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Sacré Cœur (Sacred Heart) Convent in Paris, France

During the 19th century, convent schools for young girls were established by Madeleine Sophie Barat et al. and run by nuns. Florence Earle Coates attended one such convent school—The Sacred Heart Convent in Paris, France (Rue de Varenne). It was established in 1820, but would eventually fall to the French government as a result of the "religious orders" law in 1904. The law prohibited religious orders from teaching, and the teaching nuns were subsequently banished from France. The site of the convent would eventually become the studio of Auguste Rodin and is the current location of the Rodin Museum.

Formerly Convent of the Sacred Heart, "The Deserted Mansion," 1910.
in Mother Mabel Digby (1914)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

SIBERIA, a poem

THE night-wind drives across the leaden skies,
     And fans the brooding earth with icy wings;
     Against the coast loud-booming billows flings,
And soughs through forest-deeps with moaning sighs.
Above the gorge, where snow, deep-fallen lies,
     A softness lending e'en to savage things—
     Above the gelid source of mountain springs,
A solitary eagle, circling, flies.

O pathless woods, O isolating sea,
     O steppes interminable, hopeless, cold,
O grievous distances, imagine ye,
     Imprisoned here, the human soul to hold?
Free, in a dungeon,—as yon falcon free,—
     It soars beyond your ken its loved ones to enfold!
"Siberia" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Century Magazine (March 1889), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Friday, March 24, 2017

LONGING, a poem

THE lilacs blossom at the door,
          The early rose
Whispers a promise to her buds,
          And they unclose.

There is a perfume everywhere,
          A breath of song,
A sense of some divine return
          For waiting long.

Who knows but some imprisoned joy
          From bondage breaks,—
Some exiled and enchanted hope
          From dreams awakes?

Who knows but you are coming back
          To comfort me
For all the languor and the pain,

O come! For one brief spring return,
          Love's tryst to keep;
Then let me share the Stygian fruit,
          The wintry sleep!
"Longing" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poet-lore (January 1898), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Proserpina with Pomegranate (1882)
by Dante Gabriel Rosetti

Thursday, March 23, 2017


"SOME things I never would forgive!"
     So said you, dear, not knowing
That love is dead unless it live
     All charity bestowing.

O you whose heart love so could brim
In cruel need, learn this of him
     Whose all to you is owing:
The one wrong man can not forgive
     Is the wrong of his own sowing!
"Unpardoned" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Weekly (23 March 1912), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Amos N. Wilder on the "revisioning of the world" after WWI

The passage below is from Amos Wilder's Imagining the Real (1978). In a conversation with Margaret Rigg, Wilder describes the "revisioning of the world" after WWI in religion and the arts.
“…anyone who went to college, as I did, around the 1920’s, lived through World War I and the Depression and all, must have registered a change in outlook. The big change for almost all of us was our reaction against Idealism and Romanticism, whether in art or in religion. With what we had gone through we were initiated into a new outlook and sensibility.

“…What does one make of the turn to abstraction in painting? Anyway, the human image became distorted in art. This was true also of poetry and the novel; they reflected the same influences that gave rise to cubism and surrealism. … it was a transition from an inadequate understanding of man, to a richer, more profound sense of the dynamics of human nature. You had to break up the old simplistic representational idealism, break that up, before you could grasp a deeper humanism…
“But … the new sense of reality that went with [the new movements in the arts], as always with movements and culture, soon could become a fashion and a fad and could become a stereotype. … So it seems to me that the critic or even the ordinary person interested in what is genuinely important often has difficulty in distinguishing between the authentic and the imitative or the spurious.”
During WWI, Wilder volunteered in the Ambulance Field Service, and subsequently enlisted in the U.S. Field Artillery in 1917. He graduated from Yale University in 1920, and in 1923, published a volume of poetry entitled Battle-Retrospect (the work winning the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition for that year). According to a letter from Florence Earle Coates to Wilder in January of 1924, Coates had received a copy of the book and was "charmed by new and eloquent lines," offering only the criticism and suggestion that he refrain from using "too many rare and aristocratic words." Wilder would become an ordained minister (1926), and subsequently Professor of Divinity at Harvard University in 1954.
Letters from Florence Earle Coates to
Amos Niven Wilder courtesy of
Wilder's son, Amos Tappan Wilder
Amos N. Wilder was older brother to American playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder. See more about the connection between Wilder and Florence Earle Coates at Amos N. Wilder on Hope and Mrs. Coates.


"And shall not Loveliness be loved for ever?"—Euripides
WHEN I hear men discoursing idle things,
     Who "beauty and corruption" would unite—
     As who should say: "Now call we darkness bright!"
My wondering soul more passionately clings
To every image, every strain that sings
     Of beauty—still, ah, still the world's delight!—
     More valuing that bloom which knows not blight,
To which no touch of Time defacement brings.

From rocky Chios, from sweet Avon's side,
     From Athens, Sicily—our earth to bless—
     From each dear Land where Joy hath dwelt with Truth,
It comes adown Time's inexhausted tide
     In myriad form, the ancient Loveliness,
     Wearing its glory of immortal youth!
"Inviolable" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Athenaeum (21 March 1914) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Friday, March 17, 2017


IN the heart of the forest arising,
     Slim, ghostly, and fair,
Ethereal offspring of moisture,
     Of earth and of air;
With slender stems anchored together
     Where first they uncurl,
Each tipped with its exquisite lily
     Of mother-of-pearl;
Mid the pine-needles, closely enwoven
     Its roots to embale,—
The Indian-pipe of the woodland,
     Thrice lovely and frail!

Is this but an earth-springing fungus—
     This darling of Fate
Which out of the mouldering darkness
     Such light can create?
Or is it the spirit of Beauty,
     Here drawn by love's lure
To give to the forest a something
     Unearthy and pure:
To crystallize dewdrop and balsam
     And dryad-lisped words
And starbeam and moonrise and rapture
     And song of wild birds?
"Indian-Pipe" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (March 1909), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


ROSES are but for a day,
     Amaranths endure for ever;
Joys there be that fade away,
     Dreams that perish never;
But, whate'er the future's holding,—
Crown of all, all else enfolding,—
          Love lives on!

Well they know, who with content
     Hear his oft-repeated story,
How to earthly glooms are lent
     Reflexes of glory!
Rapture's first and final giver,
Star of Charon's rayless river,—
          Love lives on!
"A Little Song" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (March 1909), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


NOTHING that man's creative mind hath wrought
     Is wholly foreign to the mind of man:
     He looks before and after; in his span
Of life infinities of life are caught,—
Brooding, mysterious, and travail-fraught,—
     And near and distant answer, as they can,
     Enkindled at the flame Promethean
Of world-embracing, heaven-illumined Thought!

Last night a woman played in Paris here
     The rôle of Hamlet, each distinctive grace,
     By genius all-subduing and sublime,
     Made native in an alien land and time,—
As though she, listening with accustomed ear,
     Had learned of English Shakespeare, face to face!
"At The Sarah-Bernhardt Theatre" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (March 1901), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Inscriptions to Lady Agnes Macdonell

Inscriptions to Lady Agnes Macdonell, author of Quaker Cousins (1879) in 3 vols., et. al. and wife of Sir John Macdonell, KCB ("Slubby"). Reinscribed from Margaret Rachel Bruce Alder (daughter of Lady Macdonell) to what appears to be "Mildred Yarnall Garrison", who was married to Frank Wright Garrison, grandson of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Margaret Alder ("Shibby") and her husband Charles were correspondents of Frank Garrison.

In Mine and Thine

In Lyrics of Life

Thursday, March 9, 2017

On Twitter @WorldsAspire

Promoting Hope through the poetry of Florence Earle Coates, The FEC Project is now tweeting at Twitter @WorldsAspire

A ROSE, a poem

A SINGLE rose in yonder ruined bed
Makes beauty where all beauty else had fled;
Like love, which, careless or of time or death,
     About earth's shattered hopes its tendrils wreathing,
     Blooms in the wilderness, divinely breathing,
Till all around grows fragrant with its breath.
"A Rose" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (March 1893), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Foremost American Lyrist

William Stanley Braithwaite
A Foremost American Lyrist
An Appreciation
by William Stanley Braithwaite
Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (March 1913)

"...She draws from the Olympian world figures that typify some motive or desire in human conduct, and in the modern world the praise of men and women, heroic in attainment or sacrifice; or laments events that effect social and ethical progress, showing how beneficently she has brought her art, without modifying in the least its abstract function as a creator of beauty and pleasure, into the service of profound and vital problems..." Read more

Monday, March 6, 2017


LAST night I dreamed, mine enemy,
     That you were at my side,
As in the days ere coldness came
     Our spirits to divide.

You smiled again with cordial eyes
     And simple heart elate,
As in the happy olden time
     That nothing knew of hate,

And I forgot, in converse glad,
     The bitterness since then,
And nearer to my thought you seemed—
     Dearer—than other men;

For memory, with softened touch
     Of pity, that caressed,
Made every kindness glow more bright,—
     And blotted out the rest.

Last night from dreams, mine enemy,
     I woke in tears, and knew
The soul, apart from mortal strife,
     Has naught with hate to do.
"Last Night I dreamed" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (March 1911), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

On this day in 1881

Josephine Wisner Coates, only child to Florence and Edward H. Coates, dies in infancy.

Friday, March 3, 2017

TO THE MUSE, a poem

ONE spot of green, watered by hidden streams,
Makes summer in the desert where it gleams;
     And mortals, gazing on thy heavenly face,
Forget the woes of earth, and share thy dreams!
"To the Muse" by Florence Earle Coates. Published as "Poetry" in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (March 1897) and Poems (1898); as "To the Muse" in Poems (1916) Volume II.

Originally published as "Poetry." Below as inscribed in an 1898 copy of Poems to

Mrs. Charles F. Weber,
with the cordial regard of
          Florence Earle Coates
     April 29/98

along with the following autograph verse: