Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
II. Freedom
Heroes
Edna Dean Proctor (1829–1923)
 
THE WINDS that once the Argo bore
  Have died by Neptune’s ruined shrines,
And her hull is the drift of the deep-sea floor,
  Though shaped of Pelion’s tallest pines.
You may seek her crew on every isle        5
  Fair in the foam of Ægean seas,
But out of their rest no charm can wile
  Jason and Orpheus and Hercules.
 
And Priam’s wail is heard no more
  By windy Ilion’s sea-built walls;        10
Nor great Achilles, stained with gore,
  Shouts “O ye gods, ’t is Hector falls!”
On Ida’s mount is the shining snow,
  But Jove has gone from its brow away;
And red on the plain the poppies grow        15
  Where the Greek and the Trojan fought that day.
 
Mother Earth, are the heroes dead?
  Do they thrill the soul of the years no more?
Are the gleaming snows and the poppies red
  All that is left of the brave of yore?        20
Are there none to fight as Theseus fought,
  Far in the young world’s misty dawn?
Or teach as gray-haired Nestor taught?
  Mother Earth, are the heroes gone?
 
Gone? In a grander form they rise.        25
  Dead? We may clasp their hands in ours,
And catch the light of their clearer eyes,
  And wreathe their brows with immortal flowers.
Wherever a noble deed is done,
  ’T is the pulse of a hero’s heart is stirred;        30
Wherever Right has a triumph won,
  There are the heroes’ voices heard.
 
Their armor rings on a fairer field
  Than the Greek and the Trojan fiercely trod;
For Freedom’s sword is the blade they wield,        35
  And the gleam above is the smile of God.
So, in his isle of calm delight,
  Jason may sleep the years away;
For the heroes live, and the sky is bright,
  And the world is a braver world to-day.        40
 
 
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