Thursday, August 31, 2017

PROBATION, a poem

FULL slow to part with her best gifts is Fate;
The choicest fruitage comes not with the spring,
But still for summer's mellowing touch must wait,—
For storms and tears, which season'd excellence bring;
And Love doth fix his joyfullest estate
In hearts that have been hushed 'neath Sorrow's brooding wing.

Youth sues to Fame: coldly she answers, "Toil!"
He sighs for Nature's treasures: with reserve
Responds the goddess, "Woo them from the soil."
Then fervently he cries, "Thee will I serve,—
Thee only, blissful Love!" With proud recoil
The heavenly boy replies, "To serve me well, deserve!"
"Probation" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (August 1885), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WHERE HAROLD SLEEPS, a poem

WHERE Harold sleeps the night is blest.
In the Great Mother's easeful breast
     He lies the brave and sweet among
     Who, loved by the wise gods, die young—
The goal achieved without the quest.

Though winds of Autumn from the West
May rudely rock the unsheltered nest,
     Yet shall all joys of Spring be sung
               Where Harold sleeps;

And we, our human griefs confessed,
We, too, by a dear hope caressed—
     Death's hope illimitable, sprung
     From nothing that to earth hath clung—
Shall, waiting a new dawn, find rest
               Where Harold sleeps!
"Where Harold Sleeps" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (September 1914) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Back to School Poems

Poems by Florence Earle Coates about learning, growth, transformation, hope and dreams.

His kindred are the bold who, undismayed,
     Believe that good is ever within reach;
All who move onward—howsoe'er delayed—
     Who learn, that they may teach... 

TRANSITION
AWAKE my soul!
     Thou shalt not creep and crawl—
     An earth-bound creature, pitiful and small,
Whose weak ambition knows no higher goal!
O wistful soul,

When morning sings,
     Forgetful of the night,
     Bathe all thy restless being in the light;
Till 'neath the mesh that close about thee clings
Thou feel thy wings!

Then find life's door,—
     Trusting the instinct true
     That points to Heaven and the aerial blue,
A wingèd thing impelled forevermore
To soar and soar!
"Transition" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (February 1902), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

AN OPTIMIST
"O AGED man, pray, if you know,
     Now answer me the truth!—
Which of the gifts that gods bestow
     Is the greatest gift of youth?

"O aged man, I have far to fare
     By the divers paths of Earth,
Which of the gifts I with me bear
     Is the gift of the greatest worth?

"Is it the might of the good right arm,
     Whereby I shall make my way
Where dangers threaten and evils harm,
     Holding them still at bay?

"Is it the strength wherewith I shall climb
     Where few before have trod—
To the mountain-tops, the peaks sublime
     That glow in the smile of the god?

"Is it the never-failing will,
     Invincible in might,
Which armed against oppression still
     Shall vanquish for the right?
"Or is it the heart, thou aged man!—
     The heart, impassioned, strong,
Which shall be blest, as naught else can,
     In perfect love ere long?"

The old man smiled: a listening breeze
     Grew whist on the sun-lit slope;
The old man sighed: "Ah, none of these!
     Youth's greatest gift is its hope."
"An Optimist" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (March 1903), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

BE THOU MY GUIDE
BE Thou my guide, and I will walk in darkness
     As one who treads the beamy heights of day,
Feeling a gladness amid desert sadness,
     And breathing vernal fragrance all the way.

Be Thou my wealth, and, reft of all besides Thee,
     I will forget the strife for meaner things,
Blest in the sweetness of thy rare completeness,
     And opulent beyond the dream of kings.

Be Thou my strength, O lowly One and saintly!
     And, though unvisioned ills about me throng,
Though danger woo me and deceit pursue me,
     Yet in the thought of Thee I will be strong!
"Be Thou My Guide" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (December 1892), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

TO HELEN KELLER
LIFE has its limitations manifold:
     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!
"To Helen Keller" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Scribner's Magazine (September 1903), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

AB HUMO
THE seedling hidden in the sod
     Were ill content immured to stay;
     Slowly it upward makes its way
And finds the light at last, thank God!

The most despised of mortal things—
     The worm devoid of hope or bliss,
     Discovers in the chrysalis
Too narrow space for urgent wings.

These are my kindred of the clay;
     But as I struggle from the ground
     Such weakness in my strength is found,
I seem less fortunate than they;

Yet though my progress be but slow,
     And failure oft obscure the past,
     I, too, victorious at last,
Shall reach the longed-for light, I know!
"Ab Humo" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (April 1905), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

PER ASPERA
THANK God, a man can grow!
     He is not bound
With earthward gaze to creep along the ground:
Though his beginnings be but poor and low,
Thank God, a man can grow!
The fire upon his altars may burn dim,
     The torch he lighted may in darkness fail,
     And nothing to rekindle it avail,—
Yet high beyond his dull horizon's rim,
Arcturus and the Pleiads beckon him.
"Per Aspera" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Atlantic Monthly (December 1906, as "Onward"), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

DREAM THE GREAT DREAM
DREAM the Great Dream, though you should dream—you, only,
     And friendless follow in the lofty quest.
Though the dream lead you to a desert lonely,
     Or drive you, like the tempest, without rest,
Yet, toiling upward to the highest altar,
     There lay before the gods your gift supreme,—
A human heart whose courage did not falter
     Though distant as Arcturus shone the Gleam.

The Gleam?—Ah, question not if others see it,
     Who nor the yearning nor the passion share;
Grieve not if children of the earth decree it—
     The earth, itself,—their goddess, only fair!
The soul has need of prophet and redeemer:
     Her outstretched wings against her prisoning bars,
She waits for truth; and truth is with the dreamer,—
     Persistent as the myriad light of stars!
"Dream the Great Dream" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Pathfinder (June 1911), The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Monday, August 28, 2017

SOCRATES, a poem

HE raised the hemlock to his lips,
     He drained the fatal draught,
Calmly conversing with his friends,
     As he a wine had quaffed;
And, ah! what wine so rich to bless?
     The torch of day grown dim,
Death's cup has less of bitterness
     For all, because of him!
"Socrates" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Reader (September 1903), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

On Joan of Arc

"A Light of Ancient France"'' by George William Joy (1895)
"She laid her head upon the straw..."
ROUEN: IN THE PRISON OF JOAN OF ARC

SHE laid her head upon the straw,
     She who had crowned a king of France,
And angel shapes, whom no man saw,
     For her deliverance,
Knelt at her feet—less pure, less sweet—
     A blessing in each glance.

She laid her head upon the straw,
     She who gave France her liberty,
And angel shapes, whom no man saw—
     Ah me! how could men see?—
Watched till the day, then bore away
     Something the flames set free.
Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (January 1902), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

JOAN OF ARC

HER spirit is to France a living spring
     From which to draw deep draughts of life. To-day,—
     As when a peasant girl she led the way
Victorious to Rheims and crowned the King,—
High and heroic thoughts about her cling,
     And sacrificial faiths as pure as they,
     Moving the land she loved, with gentle sway,
To be, for love of her, a better thing!

Was she unhappy? No: her radiant youth
     Burned, like a meteor, on to swift eclipse;
     But where it passed, there lingers still a light.
She waited, wistful, for the word of truth
     That breathed in blessing from immortal lips
     When earthly comfort failed, and all around was night.
Published in Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

"BLESSÈD"

BLESSÈD: so have they named her. With just pride,
Deliberate care, and cautious circumstance,
The Holy Council have beatified
The Maid of Orleans, martyred child of France,
Who, at Domrémy's village altar kneeling,—
          Ignored by friend and foe,
Through all her young unsullied spirit feeling
The tears of a despairing people flow,—
Implored relief; and following the word
          Which none save she had heard,
Delivered France, and crowned her—long ago.
Rejoice, Domrémy, 'midst thy bowery green!
She was thine own, whom all, at last, would claim—
The greatest miracle that Earth hath seen
Since out of Nazareth a Saviour came.
Lowly as thou (though sheathed in armor bright),
          Her soul was as the snow—
Yea, as the lilies of her banner, white.
The Church hath blessed her; but man's heart, less slow,
Remembering her service and the price
          Of her dear sacrifice,
Gave her the name of blessèd—long ago.
Published in The Century Magazine (August 1904), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.


Ms. of poem published in the August 1904 issue of The Century Magazine

Saturday, August 26, 2017

THEY LIVE SO LONG, a poem

THEY live so long, the Gods!
They know
What æons passed before a rose could blow;
What ages numberless, without a name,
Went out in darkness ere the saurian came,
A crawling dulness from the slime of Earth;
What further centuries with movement slow
Were borne along on Time's unebbing flow
Before the weakling man-child came to birth:
All this, and more, they know.

Our dates—how brief!
We cry:—
"Bless us to-day! to-morrow we shall die!"
Divided ever between hope and fear,
Warring with evil which we deem grows strong,
Our knowledge bounded by one little sphere,
We cannot share, for hope of good not nigh,
The peace of the unfathomable sky;
But the Gods patient be; they live so long,
And know that naught can die.
"They Live So Long" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Bellman (26 August 1916) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Friday, August 25, 2017

DEARTH, a poem

AS one who faring o'er a desert plain
     Sees fountains clear in the mirage arise,
  And, parchèd, longs the nectar sweet to gain
     Which still before him flies—
  So, wistfully, half doubting, half-believing,
  Scornful of hope—yet hopeful, self-deceiving,
     I thirst for love, which wastes before my eyes.
"Dearth" by Florence Earle Coates. Above as published in Poems (1916) Volume I; also published in Lyrics of Life (1909). An additional first stanza is present in The Smart Set version (August 1908):
AS one who thirsting waits, while mocking him
     The waves o'erleap his shattered vessel's brink;
And, drifting on, life's cup but once to brim,
     Fain to sheer depths would sink—
So everywhere beholding love neglected,
Carelessly set aside, despised, rejected,
     I faint for a pure draught not mine to drink.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

DEATH, a poem

I AM the key that parts the gates of Fame;
I am the cloak that covers cowering Shame;
I am the final goal of every race;
I am the storm-tossed spirit's resting-place:

The messenger of sure and swift relief,
Welcomed with wailings and reproachful grief;
The friend of those that have no friend but me,
I break all chains, and set all captives free.

I am the cloud that, when Earth's day is done,
An instant veils an unextinguished sun;
I am the brooding hush that follows strife,
The waking from a dream that Man calls—Life!
"Death" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Century Magazine (August 1888), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

THE CHERUBIM, a poem

TWO angels stood at Eden's gate
     And neither uttered word:
In the eyes of one, indignant hate
     Flamed like the flame of his sword.
The other's brand burned also red
     With the fire that, avenging, sears,
And he waved the warning thing of dread;
     But his eyes were soft with tears.

They twain had watched the Fall's disgrace,
     But only one had seen
The mortal pain in the woman's face,
     Where never pain had been:
Had marked the clasp of the woman's hand
     On his who, Eden gone,
Seemed, through her trembling touch, new-manned,
     As he drew her gently on.

Two angels turned from Eden's gate,
     For Man had wandered far:
The one passed quickly, joy elate,
     From star to beckoning star;
But the other angel sighed, as lone
     The heavenly way he trod,
And came at last to the awful throne,
     And fell at the feet of God.

Then spake God's voice:—"What earth-born grief
     Dims radiance such as thine?"
The angel sighed:—"I beg relief
     For woes that are not mine!—
I plead for them that exiled live.
     If grace be of Thy plan,
Have mercy!—ah, have mercy! Give
     Some comfort, Lord, to Man!"

The fearful angel waited: came
     Long silence, then the Voice:—
"Love cannot take from wrong its blame:
     Man's woes are of Man's choice;
Yet do thou bear—thy pity's price—
     To them that outcast grope
This last, best gift of Paradise—
     This key whose name is Hope!"
"The Cherubim" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The North American Review (August 1913) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

BEAUTY'S PATH, a poem

ALL ugliness wears on its brow the brand
     Of Time and Dissolution. From of old,
Its doubtful journey through a shifting sand,
     The life in its ophidian breast is cold.
But beauty's path is one forever bright'ning
     In glory to each far horizon's rim.
Warm in the rose and golden in the lightning,
     Love's altar flame, the upward way to Him,—
Beauty, transcending all that bans and bars,
Moves as the light moves on, eternal as the stars!

Too well acquaint with passions that benumb,
     Earth is with them no more in kind accord.
'T is only by ascending we may come
     Where waits for her the new, the unexplored.
She longs—ah, how she longs!—to break asunder
     Her ancient chains, to lave in morning dew,
To stand a little space mid realms of wonder,
     To feel her nearness to the good and true:
She longs for beauty—vernal through the years—
To touch the dried-up spring and fount of happy tears!
"Beauty's Path" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Outlook (22 August 1908), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Monday, August 21, 2017

PARIS, a poem

WHEN to thee, Trojan—firebrand of the night,
     Whom Hecuba, in fear, to Priam bore—
     The choice was given which should calm restore
To vexed Olympos, thou didst spurn the right
Of regal sovereignty, and the grave might
     Of godlike wisdom,—so renouncing more
     Than e'er was offered to a man before,—
In poor exchange for sensual delight.
Thy fame is an undying infamy;
     And the great city that hath fairest bloomed
Thine adolescent graces,—strangely she,
     As if a name resembling thine foredoomed,
Maintains the standards that appealed to thee,
     And by thy very vices is consumed.
"Paris" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Mine and Thine (1904).

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.