Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, INTRODUCTORY AND VALEDICTORY, by LEVI BISHOP

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

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INTRODUCTORY AND VALEDICTORY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Our patrons all! In form of simple lay
Last Line: Fare you well.
Subject(s): Commencement; Life; Schools; Soul; Graduation; Students

OUR PATRONS ALL! In form of simple lay,
We bid you welcome on this closing day.
We now recount the labors of the year --
Our earnest toil, in this the humble sphere.
The germ of mind we here present to view,
The swelling bud and fragrant blossom too.
Our course of study here is various,
As business life is multifarious.
Of letters, arts and science, here we trace
The outline -- here we sweep the solid base.
Here sweetly open on the mind of youth,
The genial rays of elemental truth.
'Tis like the rising moon upon the eye,
When darkness flees and light invades the sky;
Or like the cooling draught so rarely won,
Amid the sands beneath a tropic sun:
We quaff the waters of the sparkling pool,
And bless the teacher of the public school.
At times we deem ourselves already wise,
And play the inkhorn with pedantic cries;
And for one mighty self all wisdom claim,
As if already on the rolls of fame;
The many dry details of books we spurn,
And coolly ask, what more there is to learn.
The cure for this may be applied at once;
The pointed question sinks us to the dunce,
Suffused with blushes of the deepest hue,
To see how small the sum of all we knew.
When thinking minds in friendly contest meet,
The truth revealed will banish self-conceit.
No exclamation, then, how fast we grow!
But simply this, how little do we know!
And thus with patient effort press we on,
Till many weary days and weeks are gone.
Though oft discouraged, earnestly we tell
The plodding round, and in the end excel.
As cities by the spark are set on fire,
So from electric flash our minds aspire.
Those simple letters, twenty-six in all --
Ah, how the untaught urchin they appall --
Are elemental powers, unbounded, vast,
In which a Webster's solid fame was cast.
We learn to dot the "i" and cross the "t";
We sometimes try a task at poetry;
But while in unpretentious rhyme we sing,
The soul may rise as on the eagle's wing.
Here we may count the seconds of the years;
Here we may trace the orbits of the spheres;
Here we may weigh a world, divide a fraction;
Here learn the proper end of human action.
And yet, dear friends, we see and deeply feel
Our nothingness; and now to you appeal.
Thrice welcome then, your happy smiles and cheers;
Your sympathy removes our anxious fears.
We pass the test of this examination,
If we can win your kindly approbation.


INDULGENT FRIENDS! Our yearly work is done;
The goal we touch, the victory is won.
Strong was the hope and strong the moving cause,
To reach that goal with honor and applause.
Defects are the exception, not the rule,
In any well conducted Union School.
Perhaps you would prefer it more "select."
The child from "vulgar contact" to protect;
But child, to manhood grown, will soon be hurled,
Against an unselect and heartless world.
This point we hold, refute it if you can,
The public school's the place to make the man.
How broad the field that here before us lies,
Where thoughts in never ending progress rise!
A never ending work of new creations,
A vast, a boundless range of combinations!
By patient thought true knowledge we coerce;
'Tis simple thought that rules the universe.
Where'er in life successful men abound,
There thoughtless men are rarely to be found.
We grant misfortune may perform a part,
Depress the resolution, chill the heart;
With gloom and darkness shroud the future life,
And make the prize seem hardly worth the strife:
Yet still, success is mainly in the man;
Whoever says he will, will find he can.
Say you, not all can rank among the great?
They need not; virtue this may compensate.
The laws of worthy action, and of mind,
And heart and body -- all are here combined.
We test the truth by process analytic;
We re-adjust the parts in mode synthetic;
The whole -- a happy order of induction --
The true Baconian method of instruction.
A varied social life we here embrace;
See true politeness beam in every face;
And see in every scholar, if you scan,
The little lady -- little gentleman.
And higher culture here is unconfined;
The drawings on the walls adorn the mind.
The moral, too, is not neglected here;
In proper case, the right, the wrong appear.
From golden rule, the wrong we here eschew;
We learn the just, we learn the good and true.
In public spirit, too, our souls aspire;
We feel the glow of patriotic fire.
While other sterling virtues here expand,
We learn to love our own, our native land.
Its manly freedom here we learn to cherish;
Oh, far the day when liberty shall perish!
Inspire, Oh gentle Goddess! every heart,
In thy defence to act a worthy part.
And higher still our daily teachings tend;
They show the pathway to the happy end.
The law divine is ever kept in view,
In all the various studies we pursue:
They gently flow like sweet Siloa's stream,
Fast by the radiant light of heavenly beam.
The jarring discords of the sects they shun,
But point unerring to th' Eternal One.
While thus the subject vast before us lies --
From center earth to yonder vaulted skies;
While we the harvest proudly gather now,
Like tempting burden on the autumn bough;
Yet, patrons -- friends! Your gracious presence here,
Has crowned the many labors of the year.
Their fruits upon the future age shall tell;
Oh, may you live to see them! --

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