the Mason's Standard|
with the Compliments of
Poet Laureate of Freemasonry
Little Rock, Arkansas
Poet Laureate of Freemasonry
Poem at Laureation
"Laurel Crown that Camest to Me"
STRIKE hands with me, O brethren mine;
And hear me, each, with hand in thine,
If yet that grace reside in me,
Make promise for the time to be.
If that the Muse, of measure true,
doth not, in listless fashion, through
The slow decrease of high desire,
Sit silent by a faded fire;
If yet there comes, in finer hour,
some lingerings of that Spirit's power,
That creeps within the inner soul,
her gems of beauty to unroll;
O, then, I trust, if even slight,
Some ray of that ungoverned light
Upon my waiting soul may stream,
And light it with her clearest beam;
May wake to life thia feeble tongue,
To sing deep lays, as yet unsung;
Then would my Spirit joy amain,
As thirsting plants drink grateful rain.
If so, O then, I dedicate
Whatever strength that, soon or late,
May come to me, to this fair Cause,
Wrought out through scope of higher laws;
That all that beareth Beauty's name,
Be hailed with welcome and acclaim;
The Good be ever forward set:
The cause of Truth be stronger yet.
So may it be. That grace abide
In gentle measure by my side.
God grant my life, imperfect here,
Some essence from that higher sphere.
October 5, 1908|
CITY by the inland sea,
Fair thy borders seem to me;
As memory, backward turning, gleans
A fruitful harvest from thy scenes.
Long hath my vision wandered through
Yon water's trembling fields of blue;
And watched the feathered waves that break
By the walk-way, wrested from the lake.
Fair lie thy terraced hillocks, hard
By miles of level boulevard;
Where scarce for speed mine eyes descry
The forms that flit like arrows by.
Ah me! The Parks, with verdure mown;
The trees, with branching arms outspread,
With long leaves quivering overhead;
The statued forms, that lordly stand;
The buds; the blooms, on every hand;
The Palaces, with gardens fair;
The towering structures, high in air;
The long streets, stolen from the Night,
With the dazzling glow of their changing light;
All these come back, and more unnamed,
Like a pleasing picture, golden-framed.
But yet, O City, more than this,
Aye more than all thy splendor is,
I hold that high fraternal care,
That fills the breasts of the breatheren there.
The kindly word, the grasp of hand;
The thrill that the soul can understand.
Full well I know, O bretheren, ye
Gave a brother's greeting unto me;
In words whose kind uplifting cheers
My heart through the waste of the fleeting years;
In deeds of which the sweetness folds
Over all for me that the Future holds.
City by the inland sea,
Ever will I cherish thee,
As the homestead of Fraternity.
And long may this gentle spirit grace
The Craft in each abiding-place;
And Joy bestow on all her crown,
To last as long as the stars shine down.
October 21, 1908
LAUREL crown that camest to me,
As least among the favored three;
Look down the while my soul receives
The lesson of thy gleaming leaves.
What counsel dost thou bring to me,
Thou emblem of Eternity;
In that thou, circle-wise, doth bend,
With not beginning, nor with end?
A charge, with deepest meaning fraught,
Is in thy twisted branches taught
In that thou standest unto me
As the voice of a great Fraternity;
A voice that spake from shore to shore;
And by the message that it bore
Hath made me debtor, evermore.
But deeper yet thy worth shall be,
O circlet fair, if unto me
Thou bringest back, through kinder ways,
The Summer warmth of earlier days;
Of days when Life was fresh, and through
Its varied changes Pleasure drew;
When Fancy, wakened, wandered far;|
And Hope shone like a rising star;
When Nature gave, in accent fine,
Her solace in the sighing pine;
When Autumn held her riches spread
In oaken branches, splotched with red;
Days when, unvexed with passing harm,
Each hour was bright, and brought its charm;
Days lying in a fairy land,
When Youth and Warmth went hand in hand.
Nay, nay. Thou can'st not. Nor can'st bring
To Autumn's chill the flush of Spring.
Thy power to do is dwarfed and strait.
The Past is past, and sealed of Fate.
I can but turn mine eyes to rest
On yon light, fading in the West;
And see, below the purpling skies,
Its glow die out, no more to rise.
Stead me, laurel crown, to be
Strong and loyal unto thee.
And lift me, by some potent spell,
To heights wherein the Muses dwell;
That there some sacred spark may roll,
Like lightning-flash upon my soul;
And wake some burst of melody,
To make its way from sea to sea;
Like wind-blown seeds to find a place
To grow in vigor and in grace.
Laurel crown, henceforward be
Guide and guerdon unto me.
November 1, 1908
Jewel of 33º presented to Fay Hempstead by the Scottish Rite|
Bodies of the Valley of Little Rock, commemorating his
Coronation as Poet Laureate of Freemasonry, Oct. 21st, 1908
|It's instructive to note the chronology of these poems:|
|Poem at Laureation||October 5, 1908|
|date of commemorative medal||October 21, 1908|
|Chicago||October 21, 1908|
|Laurel Crown||November 1, 1908|
|date rubber stamped on bookplate||Jan 1, 1909|