An Ode To The Soldiers' And Sailors' Monument

A poem by Edward Smyth Jones

Thou most majestic Queen of sculptural art,
What learnèd architect designed thy throne?
Who traced thy stately form in head and heart,
And sent the sculptor forth to carve the stone?
O speak, fair Queen, for thou art not alone;
Ten thousand unseen voices join refrain
That softly floats in one melodious tone,
As sweet as any ancient harper's strain
In odes to Indiana's silent victors slain.

Thy court well marks the conquest of the West,
A citadel sprung out the forest wild,
A mecca where the pilgrims quietly rest:
Each dame's content - content each sportive child;
The fiery redmen nevermore revile,
Nor haunt the footprints of thy daring sons,
Whose noble spheres are widening all the while,
Like as some brilliant star its orbit runs
And sheds on earth its light down from a thousand suns.

Thy throne emblazoned with the rarest jewels,
Each wall adorned with battered coats of mail,
Choice relics of some bloody fields or duels,
A legend or some untold battle tale.
I see the scouts go forth upon the trail,
And soldiers charging over battlements -
The weeping mother sends to God her wail;
While passion's rage the mortal heart laments,
The dove of peace is caged in direst banishments.

But see yon arms, full flushing victory
Brings hope, and joy is ringing everywhere
Beneath the "starry banner of the free,"
That shields her children from the tyrant's snare.
The peasant turns him to his lowly fare,
The rich pursues wild phantoms at his ease,
The rustic plies his long-forsaken share,
And lo! the dove is cooing, "Peace, sweet peace;"
For Mars has snatched his bolts from out the rosy East.

And when the last familiar scene has gone,
And brightest dawn has kissed the sable night,
Then thou shalt smile on faces yet unborn,
And be to them a gleaming beacon light;
For Might shall fall and on his throne sit Right,
When bloody wars and petty strifes have ceased;
Then thou shalt don thy spotless robe of white,
And say to man as hostess of the feast:
"My brother, sheath thy sword; the end of life is peace."

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