Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/169

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Two Poems

I—Alere Flammam

To A. C. B.

IN ancient Rome, the secret fire,—
An intimate and holy thing,—
Was guarded by a tender choir
Of kindred maidens in a ring;
Deep, deep within the house it lay,
No stranger ever gazed thereon,
But, flickering still by night and day,
The beacon of the house, it shone;
Thro birth and death, from age to age,
It passed, a quenchless heritage;

And there were hymns of mystic tone
Sung round about the family flame,
Beyond the threshold all unknown,
Fast-welded to an ancient name;
There sacrificed the sire as priest,
Before that altar, none but he,