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- Poems of Experience - 2/13 -


They gave her emotions like storm-stirred oceans, And they gave her the heart of a little child.

These Radiant Rulers (who are not human Nor yet divine like the gods above) Poured all their gifts in the soul of woman, That fragile vessel meant only for love. Still more they taught her, Still more they brought her, Till they gave her the world for a harp one day: And they bade her string it, They bade her ring it, While the stars all wondered to hear her play.

She touched the strings in a master fashion, She uttered the cry of a world's despair: Its long hid secret, its pent-up passion, She gave to the winds in a vibrant air. For oh! the heart of her, That was the art of her. Great with the feeling that makes men kin. Art unapproachable, Art all uncoachable, Fragrance and flame from the spirit within.

The earth turns ever an ear unheeding To the sorrows of art, as it cries 'encore.' And she played on the harp till her hands were bleeding, And her brow was bruised by the laurels she wore. She knew the trend of it, She knew the end of it - Men heard the music and men felt the thrill. Bound to the altar Of art, could she falter? Then came a silence--the music was still.

And yet in the echoes we seem to hear it; In waves unbroken it circles the earth: And we catch in the light of her dauntless spirit A gleam from the centre that gave her birth. Still is the fame of her Felt in the name of her - But low lies the harp that once thrilled to her strain; No hand has taken it, No hand can waken it - For the soul of her art was her secret of pain.

TWO GHOSTS

Two dead men boarded a spectral ship In the astral Port of Space; On that ghost-filled barque, they met in the dark, And halted, face to face.

'Now whither away'--called one of the ghosts, 'This ship sets sail for Earth. On the astral plane you must remain, Where the newly dead have birth.'

'But I could not stay and I would not stay,' The other ghost replied; 'I must hurry back to the old Earth track And stand at my loved one's side.

'She weeps for me in her lonely room, In the land from whence I came; Oh! stow me away in this ship, I pray, For I hear her call my name.'

'You must not go, and you shall not go,' The first ghost cried in wrath. 'Your work is planned, in the astral land, And a guide will show you the path.'

'But the one I love'--'I loved her too,' The first ghost stood and cried; 'And year on year I waited here, Yea, waited till you died.

'For I would not come between you two, Nor shadow her joy with fear, But mine is the right, I claim this night To visit the earthly sphere.

'For you are dead, and I am dead, And you had her long--so long. And to look on the grace of her worshipped face, Ah! now it can do no wrong.

'I am fettered to Earth by love of her, And hers is the spell divine, That can help me rise, to the realm that lies Just over the astral line.

'I have kept to the laws of God and man, I have suffered and made no moan; Now my little share of joy, I swear I will have--and have it alone.'

A skeleton crew the anchor drew, And the ship from the port swung free; With a muffled clang the ghost bell rang, And the boat sailed out to sea.

And one ghost stood on the deck and laughed, As only a glad ghost can; While a swooning soul was dragged to his goal, To work out the astral span.

And a woman wept, and prayed ere she slept, For a dream to ease her pain; But she dreamed instead of a man long dead, Who had loved her all in vain.

WOMAN

Strange are the ways that her feet have trod Since first she was set in the path of duty, Finished and fair by the hand of God, To carry her message of love and beauty. Delicate creature of light and shade, She gleamed like an opal, on wide worlds under: And earth looked up to her half afraid, While heaven looked down at her, full of wonder.

Flame of the comet and mist of the moon, And ray of the sun all mingled in her. And the heart of her asked but a single boon - That love should seek her, and find her, and win her. She grasped the scope of the First Intent That made her kingdom FOR HER, no other, And joyfully into her place she went - The primal mate, and the primal mother.

Large was that kingdom and vast her sphere, And lightly she lifted and bore each burden. Lightly she laughed in the eyes of fear, For love was her recompense, love her guerdon. And never in camp, or in cave, or in home, Rose voice of mother or mate complaining. And never the foot of her sought to roam, Till love in the heart of the man seemed waning.

In the broad rich furrows by woman turned Man, unwitting, set plough and harrow. For worlds to conquer she had not yearned, Till he spoke of her feminine sphere as 'narrow.' The lullaby changed to a martial strain - When he took her travail, and song for granted - And forth she forged in his own domain - Till the strange 'new woman,' the old supplanted.

'Strange' with the glow of a wakened soul, And 'new' with the purpose of large endeavour, She turned her face to the higher goal - To the higher goal it is turned for ever. Trade and science and craft and art, Have opened their doors to the call of woman; And greater she grows in her greater part, More tenderly wise, and more sweetly human.

Brave foremothers of freedom's birth Smile through space on your splendid daughters. At one with liberty lighting the earth, Their torches flame o'er the darkest waters. They lend a lustre to sea and land: They sweeten the world with their wholesome graces: As out in the harbour of life they stand To cheer and welcome the coming races.

Brave forefathers and heroes who fought Under the flag of the Revolution, War was the price of the freedom you bought, But PEACE is the watchword of Evolution. The progress of woman means progress of peace, She wars on war, and its hosts alarming; And her great love battle will never cease, Till the glory is seen of a world disarming.

The woman wonder with heart of flame, The coming man of the race will find her. For petty purpose and narrow aim, And fault and flaw she will leave behind her. He grown tender, and she grown wise, They shall enter the Eden by both created; The broadened kingdom of Paradise, And love, and mate, as the first pair mated.

BATTLE HYMN OF THE WOMEN


Poems of Experience - 2/13

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