Page:Genius, and other essays.djvu/162

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Fill it, then, in summer hours
With the ashes of thy flowers—
Roses, such as on it blow,
Or lilies, like its ground of snow.

The English metrical period, with whose productions, so far as manner is concerned, Mr. Stoddard's art now seems most in sympathy, is that of the Commonwealth and Restoration—the time of Wither, Shirley, and Marvell, whose enduring metres he, among contemporary poets, has made distinctively his own, by infusing beneath their body a new and modern soul. In the pieces for which he chooses these forms of expression, he rises above the Fancy which lightens his songs, and Imagination—often sombre, but sustained and noble—is their dominant force. The gravity and stateliness of such measures are suited to the themes for which he has selected them. There is no better poetry in the book than that written in honor of the great who have passed away, and of one still among us. Certainly the piece entitled "Abraham Lincoln: A Horatian Ode," is the finest tribute yet paid to the memory of the Liberator. Its monotone is grand throughout:

Not as when some great Captain falls
In battle, where his Country calls,
Beyond the struggling lines
That push his dread designs.


Nor as when sink the civic great,
The safer pillars of the State,
Whose calm, mature, wise words
Suppress the need of swords.