Verse > Anthologies > Higginson and Bigelow, eds. > American Sonnets
Higginson and Bigelow, comps.  American Sonnets.  1891.
1643 “Veritas” 1878
By Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)
(The Harvard University Motto)

TRUTH: So the frontlet’s older legend ran,
  On the brief record’s opening page displayed;
  Not yet those clear-eyed scholars were afraid
Lest the fair fruit that wrought the woe of man
By far Euphrates,—where our sire began        5
  His search for truth, and seeking, was betrayed,—
  Might work new treason in their forest shade,
Doubling the curse that brought life’s shortened span.
Nurse of the future, daughter of the past,
  That stern phylactery best becomes thee now:        10
  Lift to the morning star thy marble brow!
Cast thy brave truth on every warring blast!
  Stretch thy white hand to that forbidden bough,
And let thine earliest symbol be thy last!

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