Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
919. The Heroic Age
By Richard Watson Gilder
HE speaks not well who doth his time deplore,
Naming it new and little and obscure,
Ignoble and unfit for lofty deeds.
All times were modern in the time of them,
And this no more than others. Do thy part        5
Here in the living day, as did the great
Who made old days immortal! So shall men,
Gazing long back to this far-looming hour,
Say: “Then the time when men were truly men;
Though wars grew less, their spirits met the test        10
Of new conditions; conquering civic wrong;
Saving the state anew by virtuous lives;
Guarding the country’s honor as their own,
And their own as their country’s and their sons’;
Defying leaguëd fraud with single truth;        15
Not fearing loss, and daring to be pure.
When error through the land raged like a pest,
They calmed the madness caught from mind to mind
By wisdom drawn from eld, and counsel sane;
And as the martyrs of the ancient world        20
Gave Death for man, so nobly gave they Life:
Those the great days, and that the heroic age.”
  ATHENS, 1896.


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