Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, UNVEILING THE MONUMENT, by LEVI BISHOP

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

UNVEILING THE MONUMENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The veil remove. Now let the curtain rise
Last Line: And guard his own in future rolling years.
Subject(s): Life; Monuments; Peace; War

The veil remove. Now let the curtain rise;
And let the fair proportions greet the skies.
The stately work, to master genius true,
May now attract and charm the public view.
A breathing, speaking, patriotic soul,
Is seen in every part and in the whole.

The solid base, deep set and adequate,
Bespeaks the firm foundations of the State.
The bird of Jove, with gleaming eye abroad,
The pile shall watch, the nation safely guard.
The center shaft, that lifts its form on high,
Severe in Attic taste, shall please the eye.
The rich medallions, in the bas-reliefs,
About the sides, bespeak the worthy chiefs.
The noble statues which the work adorn,
In armor proof, will every danger scorn; --
The humble brave to high command must yield,
And yet his valiant arm must win the field.
The graceful figure that presides above,
May frown of war or glance the smile of love;
The sword displayed, in hand for ready blow,
A silent caution speaks to every foe.
The shield, extended far, in ample form,
Shall every dart defy and every storm.
The helmet crest and plumes that on it wave,
Present the crowning glories of the brave.

The whole -- it speaks in volumes of the past --
Of war's dread tempest and the fiery blast:
Of mail-clad Labor, brave the sword to draw,
To vindicate the right, maintain the law:
And while it fresh recalls our many fears -
The days of anguish -- days of bitter tears,
It soothes the mourner for the kindred slain,
And swells the glories of the battle plain.
And while it tells of pains and heavy moans --
Of marches, charges, wounds and dying groans,
It speaks with calmness, yet with magic power,
The peace and plenty of the present hour.

The vacant spaces which their crowns demand,
Proclaim the coming future of the land;
As teeming millions, millions yet untold,
The problem of the free shall far unfold.

The work is worthy: Those who fought and fell,
Are here remembered; and this work shall tell
Their deeds of valor. Those who fought and live,
May here review war's dread alternative.

And here the artist in his choicest art,
Has touched the tender fibres of the heart --
The generous heart that wept at every blow,
Tho' distant far perhaps from every foe:
Ah, who the caitiff vile, that cannot feel,
For manly souls that brave the frowning steel;
That hear the roar of battle on the plain;
That hear the groans and bleed among the slain!

The pile is worthy. Figures true to life,
Here silent tell the horrors of the strife.
And this attractive group, at every view,
Shall stir the blood and nerve the arm anew.
As we around it walk and gaze above,
It tells us of the land we dearly love;
As we behold the just proportions blend,
They tell us of the land we must defend;
And still as we admire from base to dome,
Our hearts embrace our dear, our native home
Here as we calmly feast delighted eyes,
We learn our rich inheritance to prize.
Here we may learn the price our freedom cost;
Here firm resolve it never shall be lost.

The work is worthy -- full of art refined;
Who is not here improved is truly blind.
Here sentiment and feeling well conspire,
To fan within a pure -- a sacred fire.
And as our thoughts expand and freely rise,
They seem to reach the outworks of the skies.
And though our country felt the heavy rod,
We bow content beneath the hand of God:
Yea, tho' the nation reeled, and to and fro,
His justice we proclaim in every woe;
And then, as peace returns, our voices raise,
To Him, as justly due, in songs of praise.

And now, as we survey the active past,
The present, and the future brightly cast,
Thick crowding thoughts in thankfulness arise,
And praise and prayer, to Him above the skies.
May He that led us in the early years,
Thro' many toils and many bitter tears;
That nerved our arm against a mother's hate,
And smiled benignant on our infant State; --
May His kind mercy still with us abide;
May He direct and still the nation guide;
May He defend thro' clouds and anxious fears;
And guard His own in future rolling years.

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