A poem by John Charles McNeill

Oh, I am weary, weary, weary
Of Pan and oaten quills
And little songs that, from the dictionary,
Learn lore of streams and hills,
Of studied laughter, mocking what is merry,
And calculated thrills!

Are we grown old and past the time of singing?
Is ardor quenched in art
Till art is but a formal figure, bringing
A money-measured heart,
Procrustean cut, and, with old echoes, ringing
Its bells about the mart?

The race moves on, and leaves no wildernesses
Where rugged voices cry;
It reads its prayer, and with set phrase it blesses
The souls of men who die,
And step by even step its rank progresses,
An army marshalled by.

If it be better so, that Babel noises,
Losing all course and ken,
And grief that wails and gladness that rejoices
Should never wake again
To shock a world of modulated voices
And mediocre men,

Then he is blest who wears the painted feather
And may not turn about
To dusks when muses romped the dewy heather
In unrestricted rout
And dawns when, if the stars had sung together,
The sons of God would shout!

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