WHEN I come to my Father's house he will hear me:"Homeward" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (September 1890), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
I shall not need
With words implore
Compassion at my Father's door:
With yearning mute my heart will plead,
And my Father's heart will hear me.
One thought all the weary day hath caressed me:
Is the way I go,
Though steep is the hill I must climb, yet, oh,
When evening falls and the light is past,
At my Father's house I will rest me.
For thither,—whatsoe'er betide me;
Howe'er I stray,
Beset by fears,
Wearied by effort, or blinded by tears,—
Ah, surely I shall find my way,
Though none there be to guide me!
Monday, July 24, 2017
Sunday, July 23, 2017
|Peach Blossoms—Villiers-le-Bel (1887-89)|
by Childe Hassam
PD image from The Met
I WEAVE the beginning, I fashion the end;"Natura Benigna" by Florence Earle Coates. As published in Poems (1916) Volume I. Also published as "Nature" in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (September 1899) and Mine and Thine (1904).
Life is my fellow, and Death is my friend;
Time cannot stay me,
Nor evil betray me,—
They that would harm me, unknowing, defend.
I ravel asunder, I knit every flaw;
Blossoms I scatter, with tempests I awe;
Birthplace of duty,
And shrine of all beauty,—
Firmly I govern, and love is my law!
Saturday, July 22, 2017
|Wordsworth's Dove Cottage, Grasmere, England|
BREATHLESS we strive, contending for success,"Breathless We Strive" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Century Magazine (September 1904), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
According to the standards of our day.
What is success? Is it to find a way
Wealth out of all proportion to possess?
Is it to care for simple pleasures less
(While grasping at a more extended sway),
And sacrificing to our gods of clay,
Submerge the soul, at last, in worldliness?
By Grasmere stands a cottage small and poor:
The Dove was once its emblem, and the sign
That marked it as a wayside inn obscure;
But, frugal, dwelt high consecration here,
And gratitude still guards it as a shrine,
Hallowed by that success which time but makes more dear!
Friday, July 21, 2017
COME home! The Land that sent you forth"To the Returning Brave" by Florence Earle Coates. Above as published in Poems (1916) Volume I. Published as "Welcome" in The Outlook (3 September 1898) and in Mine and Thine (1904). Also published as "Welcome to Dewey" in Life and Heroic Deeds of Admiral Dewey, Including Battles in the Philippines, & etc. (1899).
From East and West, from South and North,
Looks wistfully beyond her gates,
Extends her arms and waits—and waits!
At duty's call she stilled her woe;
She smiled through tears and bade you go
To face the death you would not shun.
Brave hearts, return! Your task is done.
Not as you journeyed come you back!
A glory is about your track
Of deeds that vanquished tyranny
And set a tortured people free:
Deeds, sprung of manhood's finest grace,
That envious Time shall not efface;
Deeds that proclaim a Nation's worth,
And crown the Land that gave them birth.
America but waits to greet
And bless you, kneeling at her feet,
Your standards fair in honor furled,
The proudest mother in the world!
Come home! The Land that sent you forth
From East and West, from South and North,
Looks wistfully beyond her gates,
Extends her arms and waits!
Thursday, July 20, 2017
WE trekked our way to the desert,"Unrest" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Athenæum (11 September 1915) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
My soul and I, alone:
We passed beyond the world of men,
And all men call their own,
And came where never yet were laws
On parchment writ or stone.
Mid vast and barren stretches
Where Age speaks not to Age,
Where ne'er doth spring a living thing
Save the everlasting sage,
I felt as the savage coyote, free—
With a freedom naught could cage.
No milestones mark the desert:
Though seasons come and go,
Where the arid sands unmeasured lie
None through the hour-glass flow;
The desert has no memory—
Nor can of promise know.
Unfettered mid the silence,
Escaped from rule and law,
The desert, like a sea-floor vast,
Exultantly I saw;
Yet distant heights that pierced the blue,
Still troubled me with awe;
And when, turned from the mountains,
I passed beyond the brush
Where a sea-floor without weed or shell
Burns breathless in the hush,
There came mirage my sense to mock
With grasses sweet and lush.
Thirst, not as that for water,—
A thirst ne'er felt before,—
Parched gradual in the soul of me
Till I could bear no more;
Earth seemed to cry: "Now whither fly
From the dearth you struggled for?"
· · · · · · · ·
Reluctant, slow returning
The common lot to share,
With a new and strange emotion—
Half longing, half despair,
I said: "For man is no escape:
Here bides the Law, as there!"
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
On seeing a picture of the cairn and cross under which lie Captain Scott and his men
BRITANNIA, they who perished here have crowned thee—"To Britannia" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1916) Volume I and as "In Remembrance: The Antarctic Heroes of 1912" in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (July 1913).
Have proved the dauntless temper of thy soul;
Great memories of the past, through them have found thee
Intrepid as of old, untouched and whole.
Triumphant Mother! Make an end to sighing
For these, thrice happy!—with sonorous breath
Let bugles sing their requiem who are lying
In all the full magnificence of death!
They knew not failure: dream and aspiration
They knew, indeed, and love, and noble joy;
And at the last faith brought them the elation
That Destiny is powerless to destroy.
The utmost summit of desire attaining,
What further is there left deserving strife?
Ah, there is still the peerless hope remaining,—
In death to prove one's worthiness of life!
Sublime thy grief, Britannia! sons have crowned thee—
With hard-won laurels have enwreathed thy name:
Have shown the world the bulwark set around thee,
Adding new consecration to thy fame.
Nor have they blessed thee, only: Fate defying,
Others in lands remote shall fear contemn,
And find it easier, themselves denying,
To die like heroes, too,—remembering them.
They do not lie in lonely graves forsaken,
Who for high ends can so supremely dare;
From human hearts they can no more be taken,
And Immortality is with them there.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
THOU, thou hast seen the child I seek!"Demeter" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
The vale is thine and the cloudy peak,
Whose eye doth follow
Each secret course! Ah, speak!
I have sued to the other gods in vain:
Thou wilt not disregard my pain;
But by thy power
Win back my flower
To gladden earth again!
Fair as the poppy mid the wheat,—
Her breath as the breath of the wild grape, sweet
In the twilight tender,—
She loved thy splendor
Of perfect day to greet.
And it is thou—of gods most dear!—
Thou, sun-god! who hast led me here:
Whose smile caressing,
My wrong redressing,
Tells me the Maid is near!
Blessèd, O blessèd, be thy light!
She comes from the shadows—blissful sight!—
To the breast that bore her
To the yearning for her,
That fills me, day and night!
Monday, July 17, 2017
|Mary Curzon, Baroness Curzon of Kedleston|
Portrait study by Franz von Lenbach, c. 1902
JULY 17, 1906
INTO the light where beauty doth not pale,"On the Death of Lady Curzon" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
Into the glory that can never fail,
Beyond our yearning care, she passed from view.
Two nations loved and claimed her,—English flower,—
One gave her birth, one gave a regal dower,
But both—ah, both forgot how Heaven must love her too!
Death date in poem is likely incorrect. Most sources cite Wednesday, 18 July 1906.
|James McNeill Whistler (self portrait)|
GREATEST of modern painters, he is dead!—"James McNeill Whistler" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (November 1903), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
Whistler, in whom death seemed to have no part:
He of the nimble wit and jocund heart,
Who sipped youth's nectar at the fountain-head,
And felt its wine through all his veins run red:
Who worshiped the ideal—not the mart,
And blessed the world with an imperial Art,
Whereby who longs for beauty may be fed!
When things men deem momentous are forgot,
Laurels will bloom for him that wither not;
And Death's inverted torch shall fail to smother
The light of genius, tender and sublime,
Which with austere restraint, and for all time,
Painted the gentle portrait of the "Mother"!
|Whistler's Mother (1871), or Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1|
Sunday, July 16, 2017
WOULD you feel the witching spell"The White-throated Sparrow" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (July 1911), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
Of the whitethroat, listen!
There are secrets he can tell
Of the marsh, and of the dell
Where the dewdrops glisten.
Poet of the brooding pine
And the feathery larches,
Dawn-lit summits seem to shine,
Lucent in each throbbing line,
Under azure arches.
All his soul a floating song,—
Sweet, too sweet for sadness,—
At his bidding, hither throng
Memories that make us long
With a plaintive gladness.
Ah, were all the woodland bare,
Should those notes but quiver,
Straight I'd see it budding fair!—
And the lilies would be there,
Floating on the river!
Saturday, July 15, 2017
WAS it worth while to paint so fair"The Morning Glory" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (April 1910), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
Thy every leaf—to vein with faultless art
Each petal, taking the boon light and air
Of summer so to heart?
To bring thy beauty unto perfect flower,
Then, like a passing fragrance or a smile,
Vanish away, beyond recovery's power—
Was it, frail bloom, worth while?
Thy silence answers: "Life was mine!
And I, who pass without regret or grief,
Have cared the more to make my moment fine,
Because it was so brief.
"In its first radiance I have seen
The sun!—why tarry then till comes the night?
I go my way, content that I have been
Part of the morning light!"
Friday, July 14, 2017
OLD as the race of man,"Civilization" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
Young as the child new-born,
From glooms Plutonian
I mount to paths of morn;
And as I move o'er vale and hill,
Before me flees the night,
For on into the darkness still
I bear my light.
The desert stayed me long
Its fancied worth to tell;
The savage, subtle and strong,
Opposed me, and he fell:
But the savage learned from conflict past
To battle and succeed,
And the foolish desert came at last
To bloom indeed.
I halt not for the maimed,
I wait not for the blind;
My foot is never lamed,
Whoe'er may lag behind:
I hasten on, like the wind of God,
To the conquest He ordains:
Parting the human from the clod,
The thing that hindereth
My progress as I pass,
Is withered in my breath
Like parchèd summer grass.
I hasten on, like the wind of God,
That must unfettered blow,
Wooing the blossom from the sod
Where'er I go.
I taught the Hindoo throng
To worship: I awoke
The Pyrrhic phalanx strong,
To break the Persian yoke:
I set great Pharaoh's captives free,
The Tarquin's pride down-hurled,
And in a child of Galilee,
O'ercame the world!
Thursday, July 13, 2017
NOTHING that we deem can die"Nothing that can die" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (July 1914) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
Has any thought of death:
The mortal thing, without a sigh—
Without reproachful plaint or cry—
Yields scarcely conscious breath;
The coming sleep to it the same
As that from which it all-unknowing came.
But spirit cannot so resign
A hope that o'er the depths of sorrow
Like to a star remains: a sign
That strengthens, by its beam divine,
To-day with promise of To-morrow!
Nay; longing, vital, and foreseeing,
Itself becomes a pledge of deathless being.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
LITTLE sister, everywhere"To One in Hospital Pent" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (July 1916) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
There is sorrow: here—where men
Greet the day-beam often when
They the lagging moments measure
By the suffering they bear—
Just as there!
Earth-born children all are due
At one goal, and none is free:
Nay; not I, who seem to be
Privileged at large to wander
Where no walls obstruct the blue,
More than you!
But where tears have wet the sod,
Beautiful may flowers spring,
And in cages birds may sing;
For there's love, too, little sister,
Everywhere that grief hath trod;
And there's God!
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Published in the July 1905 issue of The Century Magazine, "Helen Keller with a Rose" was written after Mrs. Coates viewed the above image published in the January 1905 issue of the same magazine.
OTHERS may see thee; I behold thee not;
Yet most I think thee, beauteous blossom, mine:
For I, who walk in shade, like Proserpine—
Things once too briefly looked on, long forgot—
Seem by some tender miracle divine,
When breathing thee, apart,
To hold the rapturous summer warm within my heart.
We understand each other, thou and I!"Helen Keller with a Rose" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Century Magazine (July 1905) and Lyrics of Life (1909).
Thy velvet petals laid against my cheek,
Thou feelest all the voiceless things I speak,
And to my yearning makest mute reply:
Yet a more special good of thee I seek,
For God who made—oh, kind!—
Beauty for one and all, gave fragrance for the blind!
TO HELEN KELLER
LIFE has its limitations manifold:"To Helen Keller" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Scribner's Magazine (September 1903), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
All life; not only that which throbs in thee,
And strains its fetters, eager to be free.
The faultless eye may not thy vision hold—
Maiden, whose brow with thought is aureoled—
And they who hear may lack the ministry,
The august influence, of Silence, she
Who brooded o'er the void in ages old.
Prisoner of the dark inaudible,
Light, which the night itself could not eclipse,
Thou shinest forth Man's being to reveal.
We learn with awe from thine apocalypse,
That nothing can the human spirit quell,
And know him lord of all things, who can feel!
AGAINST THE GATE OF LIFE
TO HELEN KELLER
AS mute against the gate of life you sit,"Against the Gate of Life" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (December 1910) and The Unconquered Air (1912).
Longing to open it,
Full oft you must behold, in thought, a maid
With banner white, whose lilies do not fade,
And armor glory lit.
Across the years, darkling, you still must see,
In the hush of memory,
Her whom no wrong of Fate could make afraid—
Of all the maidens of the world, The Maid!—
In her brave purity.
For she, like you, was singly set apart,
O high and lonely heart!—
And hearkened Voices, silent save to her,
And looked on visions she might not transfer
By any loving art,—
Knew the dread chill of isolation, when
Life darkened to her ken;
Yet could not know, as round her closed the night,
How radiant and far would shine her light,—
A miracle to men!
Monday, July 10, 2017
HOW fair you are, wondrous maiden,"Romance" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Athenaeum (July 1916) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
As from the aisle I behold you
In the old English cathedral,
Standing so rapt and apart!
Glintings of gold from the stained glass
Brighten the coils of your dark hair
Waving away from a forehead
Pure with the freshness of youth,
And your face flower-like lifted,
With the blue eyes full of worship,
Fairer you seem than the angels
Carved near the altar, in stone.
What though I know not your name, dear,—
Though I to-day first behold you—
You who must pass as a vision
Nobly enthralling and glad?
Does he who, lone in the forest,
Finds there an exquisite blossom,
Joy in it less that its beauty
Blooms not to fade on his breast?
Nay: nor does one who at nightfall
Harkens the voice of the mavis
Feel less delight that the singer
Blesses him, high out of reach.
So, though you pass—and for ever,
Yet I, afar, shall remember
That the world holds such a maiden,
And, you remembering, love!
Sunday, July 9, 2017
CONTEMPLATIVE and fair, with look divine,"Poetry" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Critic (July 1905), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
Her wistful vision fixed on the unseen,—
The future hers, as the long past has been,—
She waits apart. Who disregard her shrine,
Who pour to her libations of red wine,
Who heal their griefs at her loved Hippocrene,
She noteth not—enwrapt in thought serene,
And pondering grave meanings, line by line.
She has envisaged the veiled heart of things—
Has passed through Purgatory, and her way,
Darkling, unravelled through the deeps of Hell;
And thence arising where the blessèd dwell,
Has touched the stars with her aspiring wings,
And knows that she is deathless as are they!
Saturday, July 8, 2017
I LOOKED from out my window once"Cruel Love—Anacreontic" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (July 1907), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
And saw Love standing there;
No cloak had he to cover him,
His dimpled feet were bare,
And fast and chill the snowflakes fell
On his ambrosial hair.
He lifted up to mine a face
Filled with celestial light;
Fond, fond with pity grew my heart
To see his hapless plight,
And down I sped to offer him
Warm shelter for the night:—
"Come in, come in, thou tender child,
A wanderer from thine own!
Hath all the world abandoned thee,
That thou art thus alone?
Come in, come in! that straightway I
For others may atone!"
I took his icy hand in mine,—
Why swifter throbbed each vein?
Was it the impulse of my blood
To ease his frozen pain?—
Yet still his lips refused to smile,
Still fell his tears like rain.
Bashful he seemed, as half inclined
To shiver there apart:
I led him closer to the fire,
I drew him to my heart:
Ah, cruel Love! my trustful breast
He wounded with a dart!
Ah, cruel Love! He smiled at last—
A wondrous smile to see!
And passing from my sheltering door,
With step alert and free,
He took my warmth, my joy with him,—
His tears he left to me!
Friday, July 7, 2017
MIGHT I return to that May-day of gladness"Might I Return" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (July 1896), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
When life is young, and all its promise fair;
Might I efface each memory of sadness,
And put away the weary load of care,—
To pluck the rose that in Time's Eden blows,
I would not go, were I to miss you there!
Might I ascend unto those realms of rapture
Whose amaranthine joys fade not again,
Might I the secrets of Elysium capture,
And find fruition for my longings vain,—
I would forego these dear delights, to know
That you were with me, and to share your pain.
Thursday, July 6, 2017
ADIEU! I know that I no more"Adieu" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
Shall behold you,
Your future lies beyond her door
Who consoled you;
The world has promised to redeem
Each new sorrow,
It beckons, and you lightly dream
Of a morrow.
I weep not, nor shall futile sighs
Hold you longer,
The pity in your loveless eyes
Makes me stronger,
For terrible, past loss of mine,
The dread to know what was your shrine—
But your prison.
I listen while your lips protest,
For by your wishes unexpressed—
We are parted:
I listen, and hope's fickle glow
Why mock my grief? If you can go—
In all the past we still were true,
You and I, love;
Few words suffice to bid adieu,
Few to die, love;
The loneliest stand face to face,
And thoughts of love that strain through space
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
SORROW, quit me for a while!"An Adieu" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (July 1913) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
Wintry days are over;
Hope again, with April smile,
Violet sows and clover.
Pleasure follows in her path,
Love itself flies after,
And the brook a music hath
Sweet as childhood's laughter.
Not a bird upon the bough
Can repress its rapture,
Not a bud that blossoms now
But doth beauty capture. . . .
Sorrow, thou art Winter's mate,
Spring cannot regret thee;
Yet, ah, yet—my friend of late—
I shall not forget thee!
Trivia: "An Adieu" was read by actress Jenny Agutter in A Schubert Song Cycle performance featuring baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Susie Allan.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
THY children are inspired by thee:"America" by Florence Earle Coates (before the war for the liberation of Cuba). Published in The Outlook (9 July 1898), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
Blest by thy gift of liberty,
They go to make the wretched free,
They were indeed not sons of thine
Could they withhold that gift divine.
Of liberty thou art the shrine,
Thy children glory in thy name;
They write it, as with words of flame,
In deeds that put thy foes to shame,
In deeds of daring unforecast,
In deeds of valor unsurpassed,
In deeds that make thee known at last,
Thy strength it was that made them strong;
Thy justice taught them hate of wrong;
They are of thee, to thee belong,
Their lungs are filled with thy sweet breath;
Thy voice they hear, and what it saith;
They love thee, and they fear not death,
Monday, July 3, 2017
ALL are not strangers whom we so misname:"Affinity" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Putnam's Monthly (July 1907), Lyrics of Life (1909), and Poems (1916) Volume II.
Man's free-born spirit, which no rule can tame,
Careless of time, o'er vasty distance led,
Still finds its own where alien altars flame,
Still greets its own, amongst the deathless dead!
Sunday, July 2, 2017
THOU art more ancient than the oldest skies,"Life" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (July 1889), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
But youth forever glances from thine eyes;
Time wars against thee, and consumes thy fires,
Yet, wingèd, thou from ashes dost arise!
According to an 1860 Census, Florence had just turned 10 years old, and lived with her father ("Atty at law"), mother, and was the eldest of her siblings: Alice, Mary, George H. Jr., and "Fanny" (Frances). The family had a "servant" named Maggie Wallace, from Ireland, who was 19 years old at the time. The Earle's estate was valued at $5,000 (Philadelphia Ward 15).
Saturday, July 1, 2017
BLEST is the right to share
The grief of hearts forlorn,—
With other men to bear
What must by men be borne;
For night bestows dawn's orient rose
And glories of the morn;
And as its shadow-wing
Lends to the sunlight worth,
So out of suffering
Arise the joys of earth—
The good and ill, united still
And offspring of one birth.
Great is the gift of life"Privilege" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Independent (30 December 1909), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume II.
To him who lives indeed,
A partner in the strife,
The toil, the pain, that speed—
Like hidden rills veined through the hills—
Life's ocean-deeps to feed!