The complete writings of James Russell Lowell
Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.
Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC
By: James Russell Lowell
Excerpt from book: In our dark hours he manned our guns again: Remanned ourselves from his own manhood's stores: Pride, honor, country, throbbed through all his strain : And shall we praise ? God's praise was his before: And on our futile laurels he looks down, Himself our bravest crown. ODE RECITED AT THE HARVARD COMMEMORATION JULY ii, 1865 I. Weak-winged is song, Nor aims at that clear-ethered height Whither the brave deed climbs for light: We seem to do them wrong, Bringing our robin's-leaf to deck their hearse Who in warm life-blood wrote their nobler verse, Our trivial song to honor those who come With ears attuned to strenuous trump and drum, And shaped in squadron-strophes their desire, Live battle-odes whose lines were steel and fire : Yet sometimes feathered words are strong, A gracious memory to buoy up and save From Lethe's dreamless ooze, the common grave Of the unventurous throng. To-day our Reverend Mother welcomes back Her wisest Scholars, those who understood The deeper teaching of her mystic tome, And offered their fresh lives to make it good: No lore of Greece or Rome, No science peddling with the names of things, Or reading stars to find inglorious fates, Can lift our life with wings Far from Death's idle gulf that for the many waits, And lengthen out our dates With that clear fame whose memory sings In manly hearts to come, and nerves them and dilates: Nor such thy teaching, Mother of us all ! Not such the trumpet-call Of thy diviner mood, That could thy sons entice From happy homes and toils, the fruitful nest Of those half-virtues which the world calls best, Into War's tumult rude : But rather far that stern device The sponsors chose that round thy cradle stood In the dim, unventured wood, The Veritas that lurks beneath Th...