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Ode To The Johns Hopkins University Analysis

Author: Poetry of Sidney Lanier Type: Poetry Views: 141

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How tall among her sisters, and how fair, --

How grave beyond her youth, yet debonair

As dawn, 'mid wrinkled Matres of old lands

Our youngest Alma Mater modest stands!

In four brief cycles round the punctual sun

Has she, old Learning's latest daughter, won

This grace, this stature, and this fruitful fame.

Howbeit she was born

Unnoised as any stealing summer morn.

From far the sages saw, from far they came

And ministered to her,

Led by the soaring-genius'd Sylvester

That, earlier, loosed the knot great Newton tied,

And flung the door of Fame's locked temple wide.

As favorable fairies thronged of old and blessed

The cradled princess with their several best,

So, gifts and dowers meet

To lay at Wisdom's feet,

These liberal masters largely brought --

Dear diamonds of their long-compressed thought,

Rich stones from out the labyrinthine cave

Of research, pearls from Time's profoundest wave

And many a jewel brave, of brilliant ray,

Dug in the far obscure Cathay

Of meditation deep --

With flowers, of such as keep

Their fragrant tissues and their heavenly hues

Fresh-bathed forever in eternal dews --

The violet with her low-drooped eye,

For learned modesty, --

The student snow-drop, that doth hang and pore

Upon the earth, like Science, evermore,

And underneath the clod doth grope and grope, --

The astronomer heliotrope,

That watches heaven with a constant eye, --

The daring crocus, unafraid to try

(When Nature calls) the February snows, --

And patience' perfect rose.

Thus sped with helps of love and toil and thought,

Thus forwarded of faith, with hope thus fraught,

In four brief cycles round the stringent sun

This youngest sister hath her stature won.

Nay, why regard

The passing of the years?Nor made, nor marr'd,

By help or hindrance of slow Time was she:

O'er this fair growth Time had no mastery:

So quick she bloomed, she seemed to bloom at birth,

As Eve from Adam, or as he from earth.

Superb o'er slow increase of day on day,

Complete as Pallas she began her way;

Yet not from Jove's unwrinkled forehead sprung,

But long-time dreamed, and out of trouble wrung,

Fore-seen, wise-plann'd, pure child of thought and pain,

Leapt our Minerva from a mortal brain.

And here, O finer Pallas, long remain, --

Sit on these Maryland hills, and fix thy reign,

And frame a fairer Athens than of yore

In these blest bounds of Baltimore, --

Here, where the climates meet

That each may make the other's lack complete, --

Where Florida's soft Favonian airs beguile

The nipping North, -- where nature's powers smile, --

Where Chesapeake holds frankly forth her hands

Spread wide with invitation to all lands, --

Where now the eager people yearn to find

The organizing hand that fast may bind

Loose straws of aimless aspiration fain

In sheaves of serviceable grain, --

Here, old and new in one,

Through nobler cycles round a richer sun

O'er-rule our modern ways,

O blest Minerva of these larger days!

Call here thy congress of the great, the wise,

The hearing ears, the seeing eyes, --

Enrich us out of every farthest clime, --

Yea, make all ages native to our time,

Till thou the freedom of the city grant

To each most antique habitant

Of Fame, --

Bring Shakespeare back, a man and not a name, --

Let every player that shall mimic us

In audience see old godlike Aeschylus, --

Bring Homer, Dante, Plato, Socrates, --

Bring Virgil from the visionary seas

Of old romance, -- bring Milton, no more blind, --

Bring large Lucretius, with unmaniac mind, --

Bring all gold hearts and high resolved wills

To be with us about these happy hills, --

Bring old Renown

To walk familiar citizen of the town, --

Bring Tolerance, that can kiss and disagree, --

Bring Virtue, Honor, Truth, and Loyalty, --

Bring Faith that sees with undissembling eyes, --

Bring all large Loves and heavenly Charities, --

Till man seem less a riddle unto man

And fair Utopia less Utopian,

And many peoples call from shore to shore,

`The world has bloomed again, at Baltimore!'


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