Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/261

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

"veterans," the club gave a reception and dinner on Saturday, April 1. O'Reilly read on that occasion one of his brightest humorous effusions:

TO THOSE WHO HAVE NOT YET BEEN PRESIDENT.

We who have worn the crown salute you! Hail!
The dawn is yours, and ours the sunset pale;
You are the undiscovered land, while we
Are stubble-fields of old fertility.

We who have worn the purple! Ah, my friends.
We are the symbols of your latter ends.
We are the yesterdays; all our glory's scenes
Are pigeon-holed just o'er the might-have-beens.

We are the yellow leaves, the new year's vows
Left withering, yellow, on the young spring's brows,
Ours the glad sadness of the crown unmissed,
The rich wine drunken, the sweet kisses kissed.

Therefore, we hail you, who in turn shall wear
The heavy crown that left our temples bare!
You are the mine in which the gold-vein sleeps;
You are the cloud from which the lightning leaps.

Yes, friends, this honor comes to each in time—
I see the faces changing in my rhyme,
I see the wire-strung meetings year by year,
From which in turn the chosen ones appear.

First, pushing forth like corn in August days
Shoots the soft cone of Babbitt's budding bays.
Then follows one, pressed forward—modest man—
Our Sullivan—(American for Soolivan).
Two years, at least, he rules the noisy whirl
Ere to his chair he leads the "Frivolous Girl."

Then Crocker comes to rule our board with law,
And Chadwick knocks to order, with a saw.
Here Dodd presides, a lily at his throat.
Here Parker sounds his mellow Gloucester note;
Here Howard, dusty from the Board of Trade,
Wields the deft gavel his own hands have made.

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