Sunday, August 20, 2017

SONG: "Friendship from its moorings strays"

FRIENDSHIP from its moorings strays,
     Love binds fast together;
Friendship is for balmy days,
     Love for stormy weather.
For itself the one contends,
     Fancied wrongs regretting—
Love the thing it loves defends,
     All besides forgetting.
Friendship is the morning lark
     Toward the sunrise winging,
Love the nightingale, at dark
     Most divinely singing!
"Song" was published in The Living Age (20 August 1898), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

IN A TENEMENT, a poem

I THINK our alley 's darker now
     Since once I went away—
I can't exactly tell you how—
     In a strange place to play
With other children like myself,
     A whole long summer's day!

It was n't really there, I 'm sure—
     That place so strange to me,
For nobody was cold or poor:
     It just was green, and free,
And up above there seemed of blue
     A million miles to be.

The fairies live there!—little Ruth
     The lame girl told me so:
Yes; and I know it for a truth
     That there the fairies go,
And cover over all the trees
     With flowers white as snow.

The flowers made in Fairyland
     Have breath—oh, breath that 's sweet!
For once I held them in my hand—
     Far off from this dull street!—
And looked down in their hearts and saw
     The tracks of fairy feet.

I dream at night of that strange place,
     And in my dream, quite near,
They dance about before my face,—
     The fairies kind and dear;
And, oh, I want to go to them!
     You see, they can't come here.
"In a Tenement" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Weekly (9 September 1911), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Friday, August 18, 2017

MOTHERLESS, a poem

HE was so small, so very small,
     That since she ceased to care,
'T was easy just to pass him by,
     Forgetting he was there;
But though too slight a thing he seemed
     Of interest to be,—
One heart had loved him with a love
     As boundless as the sea.

He was so poor, so very poor,
     That now, since she had died,
He seemed a tiny threadbare coat
     With nothing much inside;
But, ah! a treasure he concealed,
     And asked of none relief:
His shabby little bosom hid
     A mighty, grown-up grief.
"Motherless" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Bazar (September 1904), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

INFLUENCE, a poem

MY friend leaned o'er the flowery brink
Of evil, bending down to drink;
But though he stooped, resolved to take
     The harmful draught despite my fears,
He yielded for my pleading's sake,
     Feeling my love and tears.

Again he stoops; again I long
To save a fellow-man from wrong.
He was my friend! Fain, in this hour,
     Would I defend him as before:
I strive—but I have lost the power,
     Who love him now no more.
"Influence" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (August 1907), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

LEAVE-TAKING, a poem

THOUGH hence I go—though with the fading day
            I seem to fade away,
Like to a primrose which beguiling Spring,
Too early fanning with perfumèd wing,
            Tempts, only to betray:

Though soon I sleep,—yet sorrow not, nor fear
            That you shall lose me, dear!
For not one cherished memory—
One single yearning of your heart for me,
            Shall fail to bring me near!

How strange could death divide who, living, share
            All happiness and care!
Still as you gaze, bereft of your desire,
On the dull embers of your lonely fire,
            You shall behold me there,

And though through hiemal glooms you sometimes learn
            To doubt, nor hope discern,—
Yet when the timid firstling buds awake,
And birds come back and sing, your heart to break,—
            Always, I shall return!
"Leave-Taking" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (August 1909), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A ROUND, a poem

THE end of life is living,
     And 't is through love we live—
Through taking and through giving.
     Then freely take—and give!

When into life we blunder,
     Love waits to soothe our woe;
And 't is love's hand doth sunder
     Our bonds when hence we go.

Nor life nor love is mortal:
     Love holds of life the key,
And life is the veiled portal
     To love's infinity!
"A Round" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Bellman (15 August 1914) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A SEEKER IN THE NIGHT, a poem

I LIFT my eyes, but I cannot see;
I stretch my arms and I cry to Thee,—
And still the darkness covers me.

Where art Thou? In the chill obscure
I wander lonely, and endure
A yearning only Thou canst cure!

Once—once, indeed, in every face
I seemed thy lineaments to trace
And looked in all to find thy grace:

I thought the thrush—sweet worshiper!—
From the minaret of the balsam-fir
Hymned forth thy praise, my soul to stir;

I thought the early roses came
To lisp in fragrant breaths thy name,
And teach my heart to do the same;

I thought the stars thy candles, Lord!—
I thought the skylark as he soared
Rose to thy throne and Thee adored!

But now a labyrinth I wind,
And needing more thy hand to find,
Grope, darkling, Lord!—for I am blind!

Ah, bridge for me the awful vast,
That I may find Thee at the last!—
Then draw me close, and hold me fast!
"A Seeker in the Night" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Scribner's Magazine (September 1912), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume I.


McKINLEY, a poem

PEACE!—mourn no more the martyr's fate!
Death came—though by the hand of hate,
His faithful life to vindicate,
     His name to set apart.
No more assailed, misunderstood,
He sleeps where love his grave hath strewed,
Safe sentinelled by gratitude,—
     The memory of the heart.
"McKinley" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Era (Oct 1901).

Keywords: William McKinley

Sunday, August 13, 2017

THE LITTLE LASS, a poem

AS Douglas to his castle came,
Emotion nerved his shatter'd frame,
And soft he pondered,—"Presently
My little lass will welcome me!

"As longs the miser for his gold,
As fever longs, with thirst untold,
So yearns my heart her face to see
Who yonder waits to welcome me!"

But as he turned his steed about,
A mournful peal of bells rung out;
Whereat he cried,—"Nay, merrily!
Ring forth my bairn to welcome me!"

He entered at the castle gate;
(None marked him come, for it grew late,)
He stood within his hall at last;
(None noted him, for tears fell fast.)

Quoth Douglas: "Friends, if me ye mourn,
With drooping heads and looks forlorn,
Now for your sorrows comfort ye,—
And fetch my lass to welcome me!

"'T is true that I from out the wars
Bring back a wound and many scars,—
But life is mine, and I am free,
And my brave lass hath ransom'd me!"

Up spoke an ancient servitor:
"We mourn indeed the wrongs of war:
We bless thy loved return,— but she
No more shall rise to welcome thee!"

Sudden as falls the giant oak
When smitten by the lightning stroke,
So swoonèd Douglas to the ground,
And bled afresh his healing wound.

They strove to stay life's ebbing tide,
They chafed his hands, they swathed his side,
But Donald wailed,—"Ah, woe is me!—
Thy little lass hath welcomed thee!"
"The Little Lass" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A REALM OF WONDER, a poem

FAR off there is a realm of wonder,—
          Know you its name?
No region the wide heavens under
          Could be the same!
Dark orange groves it hath, and alleys
     With sunlit verdure covered over
High-mounting hills, great river valleys
     Enriched by crops of maize and clover:
A Land apart, from all asunder,—
          Know you its name?

Walls hath it—two. One—of the mind,—
To the outside world forever blind,
Itself within itself hath still confined;
     Wherefore its brooding and exclusive spirit
Craves but for progress in experience sown,
Noiseless as Nature's own;
     And with that reverence it doth inherit,
Hearkens obediently its sages,
Mysteriously wise from distant ages,
     And with unconscious, tireless sacrifice
     Creates a paradise.

A paradise you say,
Stretching away—and endlessly away!—
     A garden—lovelily abloom
With rice and silk and tea,
Cotton and yam and wheat, all fair to see,
     And breathing forth an exquisite perfume
Of mingled mulberry and orange blows,
Azalea and rose:
     A garden, yet a tomb
Where myriads, sleeping, are remembered still
     By myriads more, who glad their precepts keep,
     And honor them in sleep.

What centuries of industries speak here!
What irrigating waters, silver-clear,
Skirting the uplands, rise, tier above tier!
     What thronged canals, through the Delta plain extending
Hundreds of miles!
     What junks, what bankside villages unending,
What cottages with brown and green roof-tiles!
What fanes! what wildwood temples without cease!
What unperturbed tranquillity! what peace!

Far off there is a realm of wonder,—
          Know you its name?
No region the wide heavens under
          Could be the same!—
     So calm, productive, full of beauty;
Unto contentment so inviting!
     A Land, through service and through duty,
The past and future so uniting
     That Death itself them may not sunder!—
          Know you its name?

Back of the centuries its birth-hour lonely
          Men vainly seek:
Of its beginnings legend only
          And myth may speak:
Ere Greece of beauty dreamed, or Rome of power,
In some mysterious, unrecorded hour,
Darkling from hushed obscurity it sprung
When the Nile gods and the Vedas yet were young.
"A Realm of Wonder"* by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

*See La Cité Chinoise of Eugène Simon. [Actual footnote]

Friday, August 11, 2017

THE LOST GIOCONDA, a poem

THE world is poorer, Italy's fair child,
          Lacking the face
That for so long its heart beguiled;
          Nor hopeth to replace
With all its riches multiplied,
Thee, eloquent, alone, art-glorified!

But somewhere, Mona Lisa! quietly,
          With folded hands,
And in thine eye's soft mockery
          The look that understands,
Thou wearest, lost to us the while,
Thine own inscrutable, unaging smile!
"The Lost Gioconda" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912).


Vacant spot where the Mona Lisa was displayed in the Salle Carré, Louvre Museum.
The Century Magazine (February 1914)
LibriVox.org has posted a new project, Mine and Thine by Florence Earle Coates. Link here to check out its progress or contribute your voice! Past Librivox.org projects have included recordings of Coates' "Near and Far" and "October."

Thursday, August 10, 2017

ON FINDING BUDDHA'S DUST, a poem

"One hundred million people will experience a thrill of religious enthusiasm at the recent discovery of a relic-casket near Peshawar, India, containing some of the bones of Gautama Buddha."
O ASHES of Gautama, once the shrine
     And outer temple of celestial mind!—
     Home of a spirit, pure and heavenly kind,
That moved by human sympathy benign,
Out-poured itself, like sacrificial wine,
     To bring a light of hope unto the blind,—
     O ashes of Gautama! earth shall find
Naught midst her buried treasure more divine!

Though, centuries gone by, an Emperor sealed
     In crystal and in bronze this royal dust,
     Time may uncover it through waste and rust;
     But while man's heart to aught shall homage give,
Gautama's love, through sacrifice revealed,
     Eternal as that heart itself shall live!
"On Finding Buddha's Dust" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912).

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

OMAR, a poem

AN epicure in Pleasure's mart,
     Pursuing mirth, but never glad,
With melancholy songs his heart
     He soothed, and made a thousand sad.
"Omar" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912).

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

THE IRISH SHAMROCK IN SOUTH AFRICA, a poem

O LITTLE plant, so meek and slight,
     Tinct with the emerald of the sea
Which like a mother, day and night,
          Croons melodies to thee;
Emblem of Erin's hope and pride!
Though crushed and trampled under foot,
          Thou still art found
          The meadows round,
Up-springing from thine own sweet root!

Of sorrow thou hast been the sign
     Through weary, unforgiving years;
The dews upon thy tender vine
     Have seemed thy country's tears;
Now, now, forevermore, thou art
     Symbol of all that's brave and true—
          Blest as a smile
          Of thy sunlit isle,
In the Old World honored, and the New!

     For they lie asleep in a land of strangers,—
Far from the home their fame endears—
     The Inniskillings, the Connaught Rangers,
               The Dublin Fusiliers;
     And the little plant they loved so well—
          Better than fairest flower that blows—
               Is set apart
               In Britannia's heart
     With the Scottish thistle and the rose:

     Is set apart, and never again
          Shall human eyes the shamrock see
     Without a thought of the heroes slain
               Whose splendid loyalty,
     Stronger than ancient hate or wrong,
     Sublimed them 'midst the battle's hell—
               A tidal wave
               From the souls of the brave,
     That made them deathless as they fell!
"The Irish Shamrock in South Africa" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Monday, August 7, 2017

THE CHOSEN, a poem

DEATH pitying stood before one bent and old,
     And said:—"Forbear your griefs, and go with me:
The tale of your misfortunes—all is told,
     And I am come at last to set you free."

But, lo! the man fell trembling to his knees,
     Affrighted, and entreating in sad plight:—
"Though poverty and pain deny me ease,
     Yet spare me!—but a day—a single night!"

Then Death, disdaining misery so base,
     Turned, silently, and sought whom life held dear.
He found you, my belovèd! in the place
     You glorified, and touched you with his spear;

And as one startled wakes from a fair dream
     He fain would dream again, if that might be,
You looked on Death clothed in his might supreme,
     And gave yourself to him,—forgetting me.

All beauteous in the blossom-time of youth,
     Ere yet a cloud your radiance could dim,—
You knew him for God's messenger, in truth,
     And like an angel, went away with him.
"The Chosen" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

EROS, a poem

I, WHO am Love, come clothed in mystery,
As rose my beauteous mother from the Sea,
     Veiling my luminous wings from mortal sight—
     Whether at noon or in the star-strewn night—
That I may pass unrecognized and free.

Ignoring them that idly seek for me,
Unto mine own, from all eternity
     I come with heart aflame and torch alight—
               I who am Love!

What bring I them? Ah, draughts that sweeter be
Than welling waters of Callirrhoe!
     What give I them? Life!—even in Death's despite;
     And upward still I lead them to the height
Of an immortal passion's purity!—
               I who am Love.
"Eros" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN, a poem


LIFE laid upon his forehead a caress
     And, smiling, gave him for his birthright dower,
     Humor and judgment, passion, purpose, power,
And gifts of vision, pure and limitless:
Then—for she ever tempers man's success,
     Nursing the canker in Earth's fairest flower,—
     She added pain; and taught him, hour by hour,
To know that only blessèd which doth bless!

So, following the Gleam from early youth,
     He lent a strengthening hand, and gave his heart,
     And aided feet, less sure than his, to climb:
He sacrificed not others to his art,
     But worshiped beauty with unselfish truth,
     And lives, the well-belovèd of his time!
"Edmund Clarence Stedman" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Century Magazine (September 1902), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Friday, August 4, 2017

HEIMWEH, a poem

THE birds returning seem so glad
     As from the South they come,
They teach my heart, forlorn and sad,
     How distant is my home:
O'er land and sea wild roaming free,
     They little understand—
Glad nomads—that there is for me
     One home—one only Land!

And yonder dancing rivulet
     That merrily on doth go,
Humming a tune I 'd fain forget,
     Adds something to my woe:
Ah, had it but a thought for me
     'T would either now be dumb,
Or it would croon a melody
     Less dear to me at home!

Fond memories of days of yore!—
     My heart so hungereth,
The smell of upland clover or
     The dew-wet violet's breath
Might quickly fill it with delight;
     But exiled here I roam,
And dread, beyond all else, to-night,
     The scents that speak of home!
"Heimweh" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Bazar (September 1911) and The Unconquered Air (1912).

Thursday, August 3, 2017

CENDRILLON, a poem

        I  AM a dream,
        A fairy gleam
     Of rose and amethyst;
A creature of the moonlight and the mist,
Woven of stars that, meeting, silent kissed.
     Think of me as a dream!
I am a note of melody that woke
Within your breast, and to your longing spoke:
          A lonely strain
          Of ecstasy and pain;
     A hope that, glimpsed, must fade;
     A form, illusion made,
That, vanishing, shall come no more again!
     Regret me not that I
     Must like to music die!
        The virgin rose,
In blossoming, hastes to its fragrant close,
And whatsoe'er this magic hour I seem,
I am enchantment, only, and a dream,—
     Love always is a dream!

"Cendrillon" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (August 1912), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

WHO WALKS THE WORLD WITH SOUL AWAKE, a poem

WHO walks the world with soul awake
     Finds beauty everywhere;
Though labor be his portion,
     Though sorrow be his share,
He looks beyond obscuring clouds,
     Sure that the light is there!

And if, the ills of mortal life
     Grown heavier to bear,
Doubt come with its perplexities
     And whisper of despair,
He turns with love to suffering men—
     And, lo! God, too, is there.
"Who Walks the World with Soul Awake" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Outlook (2 August 1913) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"ASK WHAT YOU WILL", a poem

Mrs. Coates with her niece, Florence Earle Johnson
Photo courtesy of Florence Earle Morrisey

ASK what you will, I must obey your hest!
Thus much, my lady-bird, seems manifest
     To you and me, who well each other know.
     What you, small tyrant, beg, I must bestow.
Come; falter not, but proffer your request!
Is it the flower I wear here on my breast?
My favorite nag? The book I love the best?
     Some dainty gown? Some brooch or necklace? No?
          Ask what you will!
See how the sun, down-sinking to his rest,
Gilds with his glory all the roseate west!
     I linger on, in life's chill afterglow.
     Nay; smile, beloved!—like your mother—so!
Stay but a moment! Now—my own! my blest!
          Ask what you will!

"Ask What You Will" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Century Magazine (August 1902), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.