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Poems and Songs

Part VI
THE POET
(See Note 72)
The poet does the prophet's deeds;
In times of need with new life pregnant,
When strife and suffering are regnant,
His faith with light ideal leads.
The past its heroes round him posts,
He rallies now the present's hosts,
The future opes
Before his eyes,
Its pictured hopes
He prophesies.
Ever his people's forces vernal
The poet frees,--by right eternal.
He turns the people's trust to doubt
Of heathendom and Moloch-terror;
'Neath thought of God, cold-gray with error,
He sees grow green each fresh, new sprout.
Set free, these spread abroad, above,
Bear fruit of power and of love
In each man's soul,
And make it warm
And make it whole,
In wrath transform,
Till light and courage fill the nation:
In _life_ is God's best revelation.
Away the kingly cloak he tears
And on the people's shoulder places,
So it no more need make grimaces
To borrowed clothes some highness wears,
But be itself its majesty
In right of spirit-dynasty,
In saga's light
On heart and brain,
In men of might
From its loins ta'en,
In will unbiased and unbroken,
In manly deed and bold word spoken.
 
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