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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Stedman
 
        Above the clouds I lift my wing
To hear the bells of Heaven ring;
Some of their music, though my flights be wild,
To Earth I bring;
Then let me soar and sing!
  1
        Alas, by what rude fate
Our lives, like ships at sea, an instant meet,
Then part forever on their courses fleet.
  2
        Bird of the amber beak,
Bird of the golden wing!
Thy dower is thy carolling;
Thou hast not far to seek
Thy bread, nor needest wine
To make thy utterance divine;
Thou art canopied and clothed
And unto Song betrothed.
  3
        But every human path leads on to God;
He holds a myriad finer threads than gold,
And strong as holy wishes, drawing us
With delicate tension upward to Himself.
  4
        Is there a rarer being,
Is there a fairer sphere
Where the strong are not unseeing,
And the harvests are not sere;
Where, ere the seasons dwindle
They yield their due return;
Where the lamps of knowledge kindle
While the flames of youth still burn?
  5
        Music waves eternal wands,—
Enchantress of the souls of mortals!
  6
        My lips till then had only known
  The kiss of mother and of sister,
But somehow, full upon her own
  Sweet, rosy, darling mouth—I kissed her.
  7
        O fresh-lit dawn! immortal life!
O Earth’s betrothal, sweet and true!
  8
        The trickling rain doth fall
Upon us one and all;
The south-wind kisses
The saucy milk-maid’s cheek,
The nun’s, demure and meek,
Nor any misses.
  9
        The weary August days are long;
The locusts sing a plaintive song,
The cattle miss their master’s call
When they see the sunset shadows fall.
  10
                        Thy soul  *  *  *
Is as far from my grasp, is as free,
As the stars from the mountain-tops be,
As the pearl in the deaths of the sea,
From the portionless king that would wear it.
  11
                War! war! war!
        Heaven aid the right!
God move the hero’s arm. in the fearful fight!
God send the women sleep in the long, long night,
When the breasts on whose strength they leaned shall heave no more.
  12
        When, buttercups are blossoming,
  The poets sang, ’tis best to wed:
So all for love we paired in spring—
  Blanche and I—ere youth had sped.
  13
              Whither away, Bluebird,
        Whither away?
The blast is chill, yet in the upper sky,
  Thou still canst find the color of thy wing,
      The hue of May.
Warbler, why speed thy southern flight? ah, why,
  Thou too, whose song first told us of the Spring?
          Whither away?
  14
  A critic must accept what is best in a poet, and thus become his best encourager.  15
  A poet must sing for his own people.  16
  Eccentricity is not a proof of genius, and even an artist should remember that originality consists not only in doing things differently, but also in “doing things better.”  17
  Faith and joy are the ascensive forces of song.  18
  Fashion is a potency in art, making it hard to judge between the temporary and the lasting.  19
  Men are egotists, and not all tolerant of one man’s selfhood; they do not always deem the affinities elective.  20
 
 
  Natural emotion is the soul of poetry, as melody is of music; the same faults are engendered by overstudy of either art; there is a lack of sincerity, of irresistible impulse in both the poet and the composer.  21
  Progress comes by experiment, and this from ennui that leads to voyages, wars, revolutions, and plainly to change in the arts of expression; that cries out to the imagination, and is the nurse of the invention whereof we term necessity the mother.  22
  Science has but one fashion—to lose nothing once gained.  23
  The critic’s first labor is the task of distinguishing between men, as history and their works display them, and the ideals which one and another have conspired to urge upon his acceptance.  24
  The crystal-pointed tents from hill to hill.  25
  The imagination never dies.  26
  The poet is a creator, not an iconoclast, and never will tamely endeavor to say in prose what can only be expressed in song.  27
  The poet who does not revere his art, and believe in its sovereignty, is not born to wear the purple.  28
 
 
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