Song of the Exposition

Song of the Exposition


(AH little recks the laborer,
How near his work is holding him to God,
The loving Laborer through space and time.)

After all not to create only, or found only,
But to bring perhaps from afar what is already
To give it our own identity, average, limitless, free,
To fill the gross the torpid bulk with vital religious
Not to repel or destroy so much as accept, fuse, rehabilitate,
To obey as well as command, to follow more than to lead,
These also are the lessons of our New World;
While how little the New after all, how much the Old,
     Old World!

Long and long has the grass been growing,
Long and long has the rain been falling,
Long has the globe been rolling round.


Come Muse migrate from Greece and Ionia,
Cross out please those immensely overpaid accounts,
That matter of Troy and Achilles' wrath, and Æneas,
     Odysseus' wanderings,
Placard Removed and To Let on the rocks of your
     snowy Parnassus,
Repeat at Jerusalem, place the notice high on Jaffa's gate
     and on Mount Moriah,
The same on the walls of your German, French and Spanish
     castles, and Italian collections,
For know a better, fresher, busier sphere, a wide, untried
     domain awaits, demands you.


Responsive to our summons,
Or rather to her long-nurs'd inclination,
Join'd with an irresistible, natural gravitation,
She comes! I hear the rustling of her gown,
I scent the odor of her breath's delicious fragrance,
I mark her step divine, her curious eyes a-turning, rolling,
Upon this very scene.

The dame of dames! can I believe then,
Those ancient temples, sculptures classic, could none of
     them retain her?
Nor shades of Virgil and Dante, nor myriad memories,
     poems, old associations, magnetize and hold on to her?
But that she's left them all — and here?

Yes, if you will allow me to say so,
I, my friends, if you do not, can plainly see her,
The same undying soul of earth's, activity's, beauty's,
     heroism's expression,
Out from her evolutions hither come, ended the strata of
     her former themes,

Hidden and cover'd by to-day's, foundation of to-day's,
Ended, deceas'd through time, her voice by Castaly's fountain,
Silent the broken-lipp'd Sphynx in Egypt, silent all those
     century-baffling tombs,
Ended for aye the epics of Asia's, Europe's helmeted warriors,
     ended the primitive call of the muses,
Calliope's call forever closed, Clio, Melpomene, Thalia dead,
Ended the stately rhythmus of Una and Oriana, ended the quest
     of the Holy Graal,
Jerusalem a handful of ashes blown by the wind, extinct,
The Crusaders' streams of shadowy midnight troops sped with
     the sunrise,
Amadis, Tancred, utterly gone, Charlemagne, Roland, Oliver
Palmerin, ogre, departed, vanish'd the turrets that Usk from
     its waters reflected,
Arthur vanish'd with all his knights, Merlin and Lancelot and
     Galahad, all gone, dissolv'd utterly like an exhalation;
Pass'd! pass'd! for us, forever pass'd, that once so mighty
     world, now void, inanimate, phantom world,
Embroider'd, dazzling, foreign world, with all its gorgeous
     legends, myths,
Its kings and castles proud, its priests and warlike lords
     and courtly dames,
Pass'd to its charnel vault, coffin'd with crown and armor on,
Blazon'd with Shakspere's purple page,
And dirged by Tennyson's sweet sad rhyme.

I say I see, my friends, if you do not, the illustrious emigré,
     (having it is true in her day, although the same, changed,
     journey'd considerable,)
Making directly for this rendezvous, vigorously clearing a
     path for herself, striding through the confusion,
By thud of machinery and shrill steam-whistle undismay'd,
Bluff'd not a bit

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.