What wreaths shall we entwine
For our dear boys to deck their holy shrine?
Goldenrod and asters blue,
Purple loosestrife, prince’s-pine,
All the native blooms that grew
In these fresh woods and pastures new,
Wherein they loved to ramble and to play.
Bring no exotic flowers:
America was in their hearts,
And they are ours
For ever and a day.
O happy warriors, forgive the tear
Falling from eyes that miss you:
Forgive the word of grief from mother-lips
That ne’er on earth shall kiss you;
Hear only what our hearts would have you hear,—
Glory and praise and gratitude and pride
From the dear country in whose cause you died.
Now you have run your race and won your prize,
Old age shall never burden you, the fears
And conflicts that beset our lingering years
Shall never vex your souls in Paradise.
Immortal, young, and crowned with victory,
From life’s long battle you have found release.
And He who died for all on Calvary
Has welcomed you, brave soldiers of the cross,
Into eternal Peace.
Come, let us gird our loins and lift our
Companions who are left on life’s rough road,
And bravely take the way that we must tread
To keep true faith with our beloved dead.
To conquer war they dared their lives to give,
To safeguard peace our hearts must learn to live.
Help us, dear God, our forward faith to hold!
We want a better world than that of old.
Lead us on paths of high endeavor,
Toiling upward, climbing ever,
Ready to suffer for the right,
Until at last we gain a loftier height,
More worthy to behold
Our guiding stars, our hero-stars of gold.
Ode for the Memorial Service,
Princeton University, December 15, 1918.
In the blue heaven the clouds will come and go,
Scudding before the gale, or drifting slow
As galleons becalmed in Sundown Bay:
And through the air the birds will wing their way
Soaring to far-off heights, or flapping low,
Or darting like an arrow from the bow;
And when the twilight comes the stars will show,
One after one, their tranquil bright array
In the blue heaven.
But ye who fearless flew to meet the foe,
Eagles of freedom,—nevermore, we know,
Shall we behold you floating far away.
Yet clouds and birds and every starry ray
Will draw our heart to where your spirits glow
In the blue Heaven.