THE MANY-MANSIONED HOUSE
AND OTHER POEMS


By
EDWARD WILLIAM THOMSON




 

TO THEODORE ROOSEVELT

(ON HIS DEPARTURE FOR AFRICA)



SHALL we to great Deliverers be blind
If they within our sight have daily wrought?
Must we forever cast our gaze behind,
Praising the past immortals of our kind,
And to our present heroes grudging aught?

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     Shall we lament that now no Hercules
     Clubs down oppressors, and the people frees?
We, who have seen one valiant soul alone
Fronting the banded pirates of the State,
Renewing millions in a hope long flown,

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Rousing his Nation to a heart elate.

There was no man bent faithful to his work
In all the Land but deemed this man his friend;
No woman did her natural duties shirk
But felt his scorn within her conscience irk;

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No losel knave but longed to see an end
     Of him who, Samson strong, smote every foe
     That, guileful, gathered gain from public woe.
This man gave such example in high seat
That nevermore a President dares gaze

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Gently on those who shivered while his feet
Trod in the righteous ruthlessness which slays.

Sought ye the Lord’s anointed mid the Kings
Enthroned in pomp barbaric and outworn,
Entinselled, millinered, bedizened things

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Pranked out as butterflies of peacocked wings,
Or gaudy poppies in the useful corn?
     Go seek mid them who do, like him, oppose [Page 131]
     Their strength in equal fight with equal foes
Where Worth can summon Friendship to its side,

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Can help the piteous Weak, can smite the Base,
Can spurn the flauntings of a gewgaw pride,
Effeminate Pleasure’s cunning lures deride,
And, Godlike laboring, animate the Race.

Let cynic drollards fling the easy jeer

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At him who by mysterious Fate’s uplift
Received anointment true, when chose to steer,
Watchful, enduring, staunch from year to year,
The Ship of Freedom’s Hope from anxious drift.
     He is no paragon of virtues mild,

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     No meek Academy’s precisian child;
     Hot indignation gives him tones that ring
     As steely mallet battering iron thing,—
     But, oh, his strokes befit a Man of men!
     And long may we desire his like again.

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Go to the lions—safe thou shalt return—
No martyr soul in thee confronts their frown—
’T is for thy homebound ship that we shall yearn;
Ephesian beasts may then again discern
God’s hammer smashing their defences down. [Page 132]

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