The Little Book of Modern Verse; a Selection from the Work of Contemporaneous American Poets

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Author: Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

VI

Crouched in the sea-fog on the moaning sand
All night he lay, speaking some simple word
From hour to hour to the slow minds that heard,
Holding each poor life gently in his hand
And breathing on the base rejected clay
Till each dark face shone mystical and grand
Against the breaking day;
And lo, the shard the potter cast away
Was grown a fiery chalice crystal-fine,
Fulfilled of the divine
Great wine of battle wrath by God’s ring-finger stirred.
Then upward, where the shadowy bastion loomed
Huge on the mountain in the wet sea light,
Whence now, and now, infernal flowerage bloomed,
Bloomed, burst, and scattered down its deadly seed, —
They swept, and died like freemen on the height,
Like freemen, and like men of noble breed;
And when the battle fell away at night
By hasty and contemptuous hands were thrust
Obscurely in a common grave with him
The fair-haired keeper of their love and trust.
Now limb doth mingle with dissolved limb
In nature’s busy old democracy
To flush the mountain laurel when she blows
Sweet by the Southern sea,
And heart with crumbled heart climbs in the rose: —
The untaught hearts with the high heart that knew
This mountain fortress for no earthly hold
Of temporal quarrel, but the bastion old
Of spiritual wrong,
Built by an unjust nation sheer and strong,
Expugnable but by a nation’s rue
And bowing down before that equal shrine
By all men held divine,
Whereof his band and he were the most holy sign.

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Chicago: Jessie Belle Rittenhouse, "VI," The Little Book of Modern Verse; a Selection from the Work of Contemporaneous American Poets, ed. Keil, Heinrich, 1822-1894 and trans. Seaton, R. C. in The Little Book of Modern Verse; a Selection from the Work of Contemporaneous American Poets (New York: George E. Wood, 1850), Original Sources, accessed April 22, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8TULKX7GGYN437B.

MLA: Rittenhouse, Jessie Belle. "VI." The Little Book of Modern Verse; a Selection from the Work of Contemporaneous American Poets, edited by Keil, Heinrich, 1822-1894, and translated by Seaton, R. C., in The Little Book of Modern Verse; a Selection from the Work of Contemporaneous American Poets, New York, George E. Wood, 1850, Original Sources. 22 Apr. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8TULKX7GGYN437B.

Harvard: Rittenhouse, JB, 'VI' in The Little Book of Modern Verse; a Selection from the Work of Contemporaneous American Poets, ed. and trans. . cited in 1850, The Little Book of Modern Verse; a Selection from the Work of Contemporaneous American Poets, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 22 April 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8TULKX7GGYN437B.