Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
II. Freedom
Hallowed Ground
Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)
 
WHAT ’s hallowed ground? Has earth a clod
Its Maker meant not should be trod
By man, the image of his God,
      Erect and free,
Unscourged by Superstition’s rod        5
      To bow the knee?
 
That ’s hallowed ground where, mourned and missed,
The lips repose our love has kissed;—
But where ’s their memory’s mansion? Is ’t
      Yon churchyard’s bowers?        10
No! in ourselves their souls exist,
      A part of ours.
 
A kiss can consecrate the ground
Where mated hearts are mutual bound:
The spot where love’s first links were wound,        15
      That ne’er are riven,
Is hallowed down to earth’s profound,
      And up to heaven!
 
For time makes all but true love old;
The burning thoughts that then were told        20
Run molten still in memory’s mould;
      And will not cool
Until the heart itself be cold
      In Lethe’s pool.
 
What hallows ground where heroes sleep?        25
’T is not the sculptured piles you heap!
In dews that heavens far distant weep
      Their turf may bloom;
Or Genii twine beneath the deep
      Their coral tomb.        30
 
But strew his ashes to the wind
Whose sword or voice has served mankind,—
And is he dead, whose glorious mind
      Lifts thine on high?—
To live in hearts we leave behind        35
      Is not to die.
 
Is ’t death to fall for Freedom’s right?
He ’s dead alone that lacks her light!
And murder sullies in heaven’s sight
      The sword he draws:—        40
What can alone ennoble fight?
      A noble cause!
 
Give that,—and welcome War to brace
Her drums, and rend heaven’s reeking space!
The colors planted face to face,        45
      The charging cheer,
Though Death’s pale horse lead on the chase,
      Shall still be dear.
 
And place our trophies where men kneel
To Heaven!—but Heaven rebukes my zeal!        50
The cause of Truth and human weal,
      O God above!
Transfer it from the sword’s appeal
      To Peace and Love.
 
Peace, Love! the cherubim, that join        55
Their spread wings o’er Devotion’s shrine,
Prayers sound in vain, and temples shine,
      Where they are not,—
The heart alone can make divine
      Religion’s spot.        60
 
To incantations dost thou trust,
And pompous rites in domes august?
See mouldering stones and metal’s rust
      Belie the vaunt,
That man can bless one pile of dust        65
      With chime or chant.
 
The ticking wood-worm mocks thee, man!
Thy temples,—creeds themselves grow wan!
But there ’s a dome of nobler span,
      A temple given        70
Thy faith, that bigots dare not ban,—
      Its space is heaven!
 
Its roof, star-pictured Nature’s ceiling,
Where, trancing the rapt spirit’s feeling,
And God himself to man revealing,        75
      The harmonious spheres
Make music, though unheard their pealing
      By mortal ears.
 
Fair stars! are not your beings pure?
Can sin, can death, your worlds obscure?        80
Else why so swell the thoughts at your
      Aspect above?
Ye must be heavens that make us sure
      Of heavenly love!
 
And in your harmony sublime        85
I read the doom of distant time;
That man’s regenerate soul from crime
      Shall yet be drawn,
And reason on his mortal clime
      Immortal dawn.        90
 
What ’s hallowed ground? ’T is what gives birth
To sacred thoughts in souls of worth!—
Peace! Independence! Truth! go forth
      Earth’s compass round;
And your high-priesthood shall make earth        95
      All hallowed ground.
 
 
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