Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
992. From “Wishmakers’ Town”
 
By William Young
 
 
I
THE BELLS

      AWAKE! Awake!
    All living things that be,
      In nest or fold!—
    All lives that solace take,
And dreamful ease, in tent, or wind-blown tree,        5
Or curtained couch, your wanderings forsake
In the dim realms of unreality!
      Awake, for shame
    Of languor’s soft delight!
Lo, once again earth’s heaving disk is rolled        10
      In rosy flame,
    And through the camps of night,
The flying Moon, beneath her splintered targe,
Sore-stricken by the feathered shafts of Dawn,
And harried by her hounds, like Actaeon, Kneels,        15
      Stoops, and wheels
    Adown the western marge!
 
II

      Awake to toil!
    In wood, and rock-ribbed hill,
      And loamy mead,        20
    What golden largess lies!
Awake to strife, and far-resounding deed,
In love’s sweet quest, or honor’s high emprise,
With trumpets blown, and clash of steed with steed!
      Awake to care,        25
    And triumph’s frequent foil!
But still pursue! O hand with strength to take—
O dauntless heart, to suffer, and to dare—
      O swerveless will,
    To bend, or else to break—        30
To life, to love, to conquest, and to spoil,
      Awake! Awake!
 
THE FLOWER-SELLER

MYRTLE, and eglantine,
For the old love and the new!
And the columbine,        35
With its cap and bells, for folly!
And the daffodil, for the hopes of youth! And the rue,
    For melancholy!
But of all the blossoms that blow,
Fair gallants all, I charge you to win, if ye may,        40
    This gentle guest,
Who dreams apart, in her wimple of purple and gray,
Like the blessed Virgin, with meek head bending low
    Upon her breast.
 
For the orange flower        45
Ye may buy as ye will; but the violet of the wood
Is the love of maidenhood;
And he that hath worn it but once, though but for an hour,—
He shall never again, though he wander by many a stream,
No, never again shall he meet with a flower that shall seem        50
So sweet and pure; and forever, in after years,
At the thought of its bloom, or the fragrance of its breath,
The past shall arise,
And his eyes shall be dim with tears,
And his soul shall be far in the gardens of Paradise,        55
Though he stand in the shambles of death.
 
THE CONSCIENCE-KEEPER

REPENT, O ye, predestinate to woe!
  ’T is mine to cry—albeit, well I wis,
  Ye may not heed. And ye, elect to bliss,
Must e’en be saved, whether I cry or no.        60
 
And yet, repent! Repent ye, and atone,
  In either case. Forswear your wisdom’s pride,
  And pray for faith—though some must be denied!
Nor yet by prayer, nor yet by faith alone,
 
But by your works, attest your penitence.        65
  Give to the poor!—of whom ye see in me
  God’s almoner—and in your charity
Deign to forget not Peter and his pence.
 
THE PAWNS

PRINCE, and Bishop, and Knight, and Dame,
  Plot, and plunder, and disagree!        70
O but the game is a royal game!
  O but your tourneys are fair to see!
 
None too hopeful we found our lives;
  Sore was labor from day to day;
Still we strove for our babes and wives—        75
  Now, to the trumpet, we march away!
 
“Why?”—For some one hath willed it so!
  Nothing we know of the why or the where—
To swamp, or jungle, or wastes of snow—
  Nothing we know, and little we care.        80
 
Give us to kill!—since this is the end
  Of love and labor in Nature’s plan;
Give us to kill and ravish and rend,
  Yea, since this is the end of man.
 
States shall perish, and states be born:        85
  Leaders, out of the throng, shall press,—
Some to honor, and some to scorn:
  We, that are little, shall yet be less.
 
Over our lines shall the vulture soar;
  Hard on our flanks shall the jackals cry;        90
And the dead shall be as the sands of the shore;
  And daily the living shall pray to die.
 
Nay, what matter!—When all is said,
  Prince and Bishop will plunder still:
Lord and Lady must dance and wed.        95
  Pity us, pray for us, ye that will!
 
THE BRIDAL PAIR
He

THOUGH the roving bee, as lightly,
  Sip the sweets of thyme and clover,
Though the moon of May, as whitely,
  Silver all the greensward over,        100
    Yet, beneath the trysting tree,
    That hath been which shall not be!
 
She

Drip the viols, ne’er so sweetly,
  With the honey-dew of pleasure—
Trip the dancers, ne’er so featly,        105
  Through the old remembered measure,
    Yet, the lighted lanthorn round,
  What is lost shall not be found!
 

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