Lyrics of Life (1909)/An American at Lincoln

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For other versions of this work, see An American at Lincoln.


AN AMERICAN AT LINCOLN

The vast cathedral-crown of the high hill,
The long, low-vaulted nave, the transepts where
The light is glory shed through windows rare
In rainbow tintings: glory deep and still,
Gift of a past forever present there!


Beyond the lantern, the carved Gothic Choir,
And, as interpreting the hallowed place
Athrob with harmonies, a boyish face—
English, yet with the look of awed desire
Which speaks America,—the younger race.


In the half parted lips without a smile,
In the whole rapt, impassioned gaze,
I read the travail of the distant days,
The wistful hunger of the Long Exile—
The yearning that survives through all delays:


I read thy soul, my Country! thou dear Land
Across the deep and all-dividing sea!
I read thy soul and theirs who founded thee
With sacrifices few could understand—
Renouncing and enduring silently.


And I perceived that thou hast still retained
Their strength to toil, their courage to resist:
That seeking ardently whate'er they missed,
Thou hast remained—in spite of all, remained—
That which they made thee—an idealist!


And once again I felt how blest it is
To hunger and to thirst: anew I saw
That by eternal high-appointed law,
Sublimity and beauty most are his
In whom they move the deepest thrill of awe!