Sunday, April 30, 2017

VITA NUOVA, a poem

     WHAT miracle is here—
     What vision of forgotten things and dear?
The grass—how green it lies in coverts deep!
The pussy-willows—sentinels of the wood—
How slim, how fair, each 'neath its downy snood,
     They stand, new-waked from sleep!

     And the enchantment cold
     That seemed as death? Could it no longer hold
Against the glow that warmed the breast of Earth?
Hearken! what myriad little lives once more
Come knocking, knocking at the Mother's door,
     Importunate for birth!

     The trees, that look so bare,
     Are conscious that the tender leaves are there—
Folded, yet faintly stirring in the bud;
And upward from each buried rootlet runs,
The golden ichor, gift of vernal suns,
     On-swelling to the flood.

     And, oh! thrice loved of yore—
     Whence comes that note? It was not here before!
The white-throat! By what blest magician's art—
Flung out of silence, comes that clear appeal,
To make the jaded and insensate feel
     New yearnings of the heart?

     A something in the song
     Shall hardly to a later strain belong—
A tremulous and naïve ecstasy
That moves the soul; which, eager then to live,
Petitions life: "Ah, stay awhile, and give
     A little heed to me!

     "I, also, feel the Spring!
     I, also, long to spread my wings and sing,
Unvexed by cares that canker and consume:
To hope, to dream,—ere winter come, to capture
The fleeting thrill, the fragrance and the rapture
     Of beauty in its bloom!"
"Vita Nuova" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

SONG, a poem

THE new-born leaves unfolding fast
     Make nests of green on every bough;
The pilgrim birds, their wanderings past,
With joy return,—but thou, my love,
     Oh, where, my love, art thou?

Soft tumults fill the balmy air,
     Faint breathings of the flowers to be;
Life glows and gladdens everywhere,—
But I am lone for thee, my love,
     Oh, lone, my love, for thee!

Give me the voice of moaning pines,
     The frozen wold, the desert space;
Give me the winter Earth resigns,—
But let me see thy face, my love,
     Oh, let me see thy face!
"Song" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Friday, April 28, 2017

FOR JOY, a poem

FOR each and every joyful thing,
For twilight swallows on the wing,
For all that nest and all that sing,—

For fountains cool that laugh and leap,
For rivers running to the deep,
For happy, care-forgetting sleep,—

For stars that pierce the sombre dark,
For Morn, awaking with the lark,
For life new-stirring 'neath the bark,—

For sunshine and the blessèd rain,
For budding grove and blossomy lane,
For the sweet silence of the plain,—

For bounty springing from the sod,
For every step by beauty trod,—
For each dear gift of joy, thank God!
"For Joy" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1916) Volume I.

Thursday, April 27, 2017


YOU have outstripped me in the race,
Your brow shall wear the laurel's grace;
     But though on-speeding in your might
     You pass beyond my straining sight,
My spirit shall with yours keep pace!

For I have dreamed your dream divine,
For I have worshiped at the shrine
     Whose oracles your faith have moved,
     For I have loved what you have loved—
Your victory is also mine!

Shall the grave gods pronounce their choice
And I not lift in praise my voice?
     Or shall another win the goal
     Whose vision hath illumed my soul,
And I, though distant, not rejoice?

Ah, no! Your greater gifts prevail;
But though to reach your side I fail,
     Through you triumphant in defeat,
     Even in death I will repeat,—
Hail to the victor! Hail!...
"To the Victor" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

TENNYSON, a poem

HOW beautiful to live as thou didst live!
     How beautiful to die as thou didst die,—
     In moonlight of the night, without a sigh,
At rest in all the best that love could give!

How excellent to bear into old age
     The poet's ardor and the heart of youth,—
     To keep to the last sleep the vow of truth,
And leave to lands that grieve a glowing page!

How glorious to feel the spirit's power
     Unbroken by the near approach of death,
     To breath blest prophecies with failing breath,
Soul-bound to beauty in that latest hour!

How sweet to greet, in final kinship owned,
     The master-spirit to thy dreams so dear,—
     At last from his immortal lips to hear
The dirge for Imogen, and thee, intoned!

How beautiful to live as thou didst live!
     How beautiful to die as thou didst die,—
     In moonlight of the night, without a sigh,
At rest in all the best that love could give!
"Tennyson" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (April 1893), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

TO-MORROW, a poem

THE robin chants when the thrush is dumb,
     Snow smooths a bed for the clover,
Life flames anew, and days to come
     Are sweet as the days that are over.

The tide that ebbs by the moon flows back,
     Faith builds on the ruins of sorrow,
The halcyon flutters in winter's track,
     And night makes way for the morrow.

And ever a strain, of joys the sum,
     Sings on in the heart of the lover—
In death sings on—that days to come
     Are sweet as the days that are over!
"To-morrow" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


I, TOO, have loved the Greeks, the Hero-sprung,
     The glad, spoiled children of Posterity:
     Have closed my eyes, more near their shrines to be,
Have hushed my heart, to hear their epics sung.
Upon their golden accents I have hung,
     With Thyrsis wooed to vales of Sicily,
     And Homer, blind, has given me to see
Olympus, where the deathless Gods were young.
But still, that one remembering with awe
Whose vision deeper than all others saw,
     I feel the dearer debt my spirit owes
To him, who towers, peerless and sublime,
The noblest, largest intellect of Time,
     Born where the English Avon softly flows.
"I Too Have Loved" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The North American Review (January 1919).

Keyword: Shakespeare

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Had Henley died, his course half run—
Had Henley died, and Stevenson
     Been left on earth, of him to write,
     He would have chosen to indite
His name in generous phrase—or none.

No envious humor, cold and dun,
Had marred the vesture he had spun,
     All luminous, to clothe his knight—
          Had Henley died!

Ah, well! at rest—poor Stevenson!—
Safe in our hearts his place is won.
     There love shall still his love requite,
     His faults divinely veiled from sight,
Whose tears had fallen in benison,
          Had Henley died!
"The Difference" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Century Magazine (April 1902) and Mine and Thine (1904).

Monday, April 10, 2017

"SO WAR HAS BEGUN", a poem

SO war has begun, they say,
     Well, Spring is here before it;
If war takes much away,
     And leaves us to deplore it,—
Yet see! the woody dells once more
Are turning green, in spite of war.

On yonder maple tree
     The misty buds are swelling;
Violets, timidly,
     Peep from their mossy dwelling,
And bluebirds, far and near, outpour
Their brimming hope, in spite of war.

Rumor, with awful tales
     Of death and of disaster,
May clamor through our vales,
     But Spring comes hither faster,
Humming a tender rune of peace—
Breathing of bloom and life's increase.

Old soldiers still relate
     How at Resaca's battle,—
As if to compensate,—
     Above the din and rattle
Of musketry, continued long,
A mockingbird sang rapturous song:

And one who lay near death,—
     A soldier sorely wounded,
Drew less distressful breath,
     As clear that music sounded,
And felt to his tired spirit come
The most delightful dreams of home.

Ah, well! we talk of war,
     But peace is so much kinder,
That all our strife is for
     Is just the hope to find her:
And see!—how Spring, with look serene,
     Is garlanding her halls in green!
"So War has Begun" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

WAR, a poem

IN the beginning was I born,
     With man from out the dust;
And presently, from earth uptorn,
     Came Cruelty and Lust.
Alway, the vassals of my will,
     They twain go with me still.

Where'er my flashing sword they see,
     Where'er they scent my breath,
Quickly they follow after me,
     Bringing despair and death;
Yet still the mighty wear with pride
My liveries, crimson-dyed!

Once, long ago, in ages gone,
     When man seemed as the brute,
I looked with dread to wisdom's dawn,
     And virtue's ripening fruit:
Now sages wreathe my brow with bays,
And poets chant my praise.

And once, in little Bethlehem—
     Once only, not again—
Peace wore a royal diadem:
     But I could trust to men,
And crucified upon a tree,
Peace is a memory!
"War" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (April 1904), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Friday, April 7, 2017


IN far-off plains of Picardy
     Our country's Flag is flying,
And Life and Death are battling there;
     But no man there fears dying.
So large a hope has set men free
From fear, in far-off Picardy!

To us, across the ocean deep,
     A wondrous strain comes winging;
It is the song of lads who march
     On to the conflict, singing—
Our lads, who so have longed to be
Where heroes strive, in Picardy!

Their strength is tried, their hearts so brave
     Were fed on Freedom's story;
"The coming of the Lord," they sing—
     "Mine eyes have seen the glory!"
The glory all at last shall see,
Rise o'er the plains of Picardy!

O Union Jack! O Tricolor!
     No more you grieve us, calling!
No more we wait, our hearts aflame,
     While brave men there are falling,
Our Stars and Stripes have crossed the Sea,
And we are one, in Picardy!
"In Plains of Picardy" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The New York Times (7 April 1918); above as rendered in The Protectionist (May 1918).

Thursday, April 6, 2017

THE SINGER, a poem

HE came to us with dreams to sell—
     Ah, long ago it seems!
From regions where enchantments dwell,
He came to us with dreams to sell,
     And we had need of dreams.

Our thought had planned with artful care,
     Our patient toil had wrought,
The roomy treasure-houses where
Were heaped the costly and the rare,—
     But dreams we had not bought:

Nay; we had felt no need of these,
     Until with dulcet strain,
Alluring as the melodies
That mock the lonely on the seas,
     He made all else seem vain:

Bringing an aching sense of dearth,
     A troubled, vague unrest,
A fear that we, whose care on Earth
Had been to garner things of worth,
     Had somehow missed the best.

Then, as had been our wont before,—
     Unused in vain to sigh,—
We turned our treasure o'er and o'er,
But found in all our vaunted store
     No coin that dreams would buy.

We stood with empty hands: but gay
     As though upborne on wings,
He left us; and at set of day
We heard him singing, far away,
     The joy of simple things!

He left us, and with apathy
     We gazed upon our gold;
But to the world's ascendancy
Submissive, soon we came to be
     Much as we were of old.

Yet sometimes when the fragrant dawn
     In early splendor beams,
And sometimes when, the twilight gone,
The moon o'er-silvers wood and lawn,
     An echo of his dreams

Brings to the heart a swift regret
     That is not wholly pain,
And, grieving, we would not forget
The vision, hallowed to us yet,—
     The hope that seemed so vain.

And then we envy not the throng
     That careless passes by,
With no remembrance of the song,—
Though we must listen still, and long
     To hear it till we die!
"The Singer" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Century Magazine (April 1906), as "A Traveller from Altruria" in Lyrics of Life (1909) and as "The Singer" in Poems (1916) Volume II.

A Traveler from Altruria (1894) is a Utopian novel by William Dean Howells.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


I HEARD a voice say: "You,
Who worship, should pursue:
The good you dream of—do.

"Arise!—perfection seek.
Surmounting what is weak,
Toil on from peak to peak!"

"Henceforth, through sun and shade,"
I answered, "unafraid,
I follow the shy maid:

"Yea, beauty to create,
Accept with heart elate
Whate'er may be my fate."

Then, in youth's ardor, strong,
I toiled my way along,
Upon my lips a song;

But as I climbed on high,
Toward the forbidding sky
Perfection seemed to fly;

And though I strove the more,
Still through some viewless door
She ever passed before.

Heart-wearied and forespent,
With body earthward bent,
I ceased from the ascent;

Then, when hope seemed too late,
Despairing,—at Death's gate
I heard a voice say: "Wait!"
"I Heard a Voice" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (April 1913) and Poems (1916) Volume I.