Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ODE; ON OCCASION OF UNVEILING OF BUST OF JOHN HOWARD PAYNE, by JOHN GODFREY SAXE



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ODE; ON OCCASION OF UNVEILING OF BUST OF JOHN HOWARD PAYNE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: To him who sang of 'home, sweet home'
Last Line: "so sweetly sang the joys of home!"
Subject(s): Payne, John Howard (1791-1852)


TO him who sang of "Home, sweet Home,"
In strains so sweet the simple lay
Has thrilled a million hearts, we come
A nation's grateful debt to pay.
Yet not for him the bust we raise;
Ah no! can lifeless lips prolong
Fame's trumpet voice? The poet's praise
Lives in the music of his song!

The noble dead we fondly seek
To honor with applauding breath:
Unheeded fall the words we speak
Upon "the dull, cold ear of death."
Yet not in vain the spoken word,
Nor vain the monument we raise;
With quicker throbs our hearts are stirred
To catch the nobleness we praise!

Columbia's sons, -- we share his fame;
'T is for ourselves the bust we rear,
That they who mark the graven name
May know that name to us is dear;
Dear as the home the exile sees, --
The fairest spot beneath the sky, --
Where first -- upon a mother's knees --
He slept, and where he yearns to die.

But not alone the lyric fire
Was his; the Drama's muse can tell
His genius could a Kean inspire;
A Kemble owned his magic spell;
A Kean, to "Brutus'" self so true
(As true to Art and Nature's laws),
He seemed the man the poet drew,
And shared with him the town's applause.

Kind hearts and brave, with truth severe,
He drew, unconscious, from his own;
O nature rare! But pilgrims here
Will oft'nest say, in pensive tone,
With reverent face and lifted hand,
"'T was he -- by Fortune forced to roam --
Who, homeless in a foreign land,
So sweetly sang the joys of home!"





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