Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
Richard Watson Gilder. 1844–1909
221. The Heroic Age
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; 
Tho' 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'; 
Proclaiming service the one test of worth;  15
Defying leagued fraud with single truth; 
Knights of the spirit; warriors in the cause 
Of justice absolute 'twixt man and man; 
Not fearing loss; and daring to be pure. 
When error through the land raged like a pest,  20
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 
Gave Death for man, so nobly gave they Life: 
Those the great days, and that the heroic age."

  Athens, 1896.

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