Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FUIT ILIUM, by EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

FUIT ILIUM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: One by one they died
Last Line: Down the old house goes!
Subject(s): Houses

One by one they died, --
Last of all their race;
Nothing left but pride,
Lace, and buckled hose,
Their quietus made,
On their dwelling place
Ruthless hands are laid:
Down the old house goes!

See the ancient manse
Meet its fate at last!
Time in his advance,
Age nor honor knows;
Ax and broadax fall,
Lopping off the Past;
Hit with bar and maul,
Down the old house goes!

Seven score years it stood:
Yes, they built it well,
Though they built of wood
When that house arose,
For its cross-beams square
Oak and walnut fell;
Little worse for wear,
Down the old house goes!

Rending board and plank,
Men with crowbars ply,
Opening fissures dank,
Striking deadly blows.
From the gabled roof
How the shingles fly!
Keep you here aloof, --
Down the old house goes!

Holding still its place,
There the chimney stands,
Staunch from top to base,
Frowning on its foes.
Heave apart the stones,
Burst its iron bands!
How it shakes and groans!
Down the old house goes!

Round the mantelpiece
Glisten Scripture tiles;
Henceforth they shall cease
Painting Egypt's woes,
Painting David's fight,
Fair Bathsheba's smiles,
Blinded Samson's might, --
Down the old house goes!

On these oaken floors
High-shoed ladies trod;
Through those panelled doors
Trailed their furbelows;
Long their day has ceased;
Now, beneath the sod,
With the worms they feast, --
Down the old house goes!

Many a bride has stood
In yon spacious room;
Here her hand was wooed
Underneath the rose;
O'er that sill the dead
Reached the family tomb;
All that were have fled, --
Down the old house goes!

Once, in yonder hall,
Washington, they say,
Led the New Year's ball,
Stateliest of beaux!
O that minuet,
Maids and matrons gay!
Are there such sights yet?
Down the old house goes!

British troopers came
Ere another year,
With their coats aflame
Mincing on their toes;
Daughters of the house
Gave them haughty cheer,
Laughed to scorn their vows, --
Down the old house goes!

Doorway high the box
In the grass-plot spreads;
It has borne its locks
Through a thousand snows;
In an evil day
From those garden beds
Now 'tis hacked away, --
Down the old house goes!

Lo! the sycamores,
Scathed and scrawny mates,
At the mansion doors
Shiver, full of woes;
With its life they grew,
Guarded well its gates;
Now their task is through, --
Down the old house goes!

On this honored site
Modern trade will build, --
What unseemly fright
Heaven only knows!
Something peaked and high
Smacking of the guild;
Let us heave a sigh, --
Down the old house goes!

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