Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1. Prelude
By Edmund Clarence Stedman
I SAW the constellated matin choir
Then when they sang together in the dawn,—
The morning stars of this first rounded day
Hesperian, hundred-houred, that ending leaves
Youth’s fillet still upon the New World’s brow;        5
Then when they sang together,—sang for joy
Of mount and wood and cataract, and stretch
Of keen-aired vasty reaches happy-homed,—
I heard the stately hymning, saw their light
Resolve in flame that evil long in wrought        10
With what was else the goodliest demain
Of freedom warded by the ancient sea;
So sang they, rose they, to meridian,
And westering down the firmament led on
Cluster and train of younger celebrants        15
That beaconed as they might, by adverse skies
Shrouded, but stayed not nor discomfited,—
Of whom how many, and how dear, alas,
The voices stilled mid-orbit, stars eclipsed
Long ere the hour of setting; yet in turn        20
Others oncoming shine, nor fail to chant
New anthems, yet not alien, for the time
Goes not out darkling nor of music mute
To the next age,—that quickened now awaits
Their heralding, their more impassioned song.        25


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