Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THREE SINGING FRIENDS, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

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THREE SINGING FRIENDS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Schoolmaster and songmaster!
Last Line: Thou meadow-lark no less than nightingale.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Friendship; Love; Singing & Singers



SCHOOLMASTER and Songmaster! Memory
Enshrines thee with an equal love, for thy
Duality of gifts, -- thy pure and high
Endowments -- Learning rare, and Poesy.
These were as mutual handmaids, serving thee,
Throughout all seasons of the years gone by,
With all enduring joys 'twixt earth and sky --
In turn shared nobly with thy friends and me.
Thus is it that thy clear song, ringing on,
Is endless inspiration, fresh and free
As the old Mays at verge of June sunshine;
And musical as then, at dewy dawn,
The robin hailed us, and all twinklingly
Our one path wandered under wood and vine.



Thy rapt song makes of Earth a realm of light
And shadow mystical as some dreamland
Arched with unfathomed azure -- vast and grand
With splendor of the morn; or dazzling bright
With orient noon; or strewn with stars of night
Thick as the daisies blown in grasses fanned
By odorous midsummer breezes and
Showered over by all bird-songs exquisite.
This is thy voice's beatific art --
To make melodious all things below,
Calling through them, from far, diviner space,
Thy clearer hail to us. -- The faltering heart
Thou cheerest; and thy fellow mortal so
Fares onward under Heaven with lifted face.



Bard of our Western world! -- its prairies wide,
With edging woods, lost creeks and hidden ways;
Its isolated farms, with roundelays
Of orchard warblers heard on every side;
Its cross-road schoolhouse, wherein still abide
Thy fondest memories, -- since there thy gaze
First fell on classic verse; and thou, in praise
Of that, didst find thine own song glorified.
So singing, smite the strings and counterchange
The lucently melodious drippings of
Thy happy harp, from airs of "Tempe Vale,"
To chirp and trill of lowliest flight and range,
In praise of our To-day and home and love --
Thou meadow-lark no less than nightingale.

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