Strong to destroy, but powerless to create,
And ignorant of all that made our fathers great,
Their hands would take away thy golden crown,
And shake the pillars of thy freedom down
In Anarchy’s ocean, dark and desolate.
O should that storm descend,
What fortress shall defend
The land our fathers wrought for,
The liberties they fought for?
What bulwark shall secure
Her shrines of law, and keep her founts of justice pure?
Then, ah then,
As in the olden days,
The builders must upraise
A rampart of indomitable men.
And once again,
Dear Mother, if thy heart and hand be true,
There will be building work for thee to do;
Yea, more than once again,
Thou shalt win lasting praise,
And never-dying honour shall be thine,
For setting many stones in that illustrious line,
To stand unshaken in the swirling strife,
And guard their country’s honour as her life.
Softly, my harp, and let me lay the touch
Of silence on these rudely clanging strings;
For he who sings
Even of noble conflicts overmuch,
Loses the inward sense of better things;
And he who makes a boast
Of knowledge, darkens that which counts the most,—
The insight of a wise humility
That reverently adores what none can see.
The glory of our life below
Comes not from what we do, or what we know,
But dwells forevermore in what we are.
There is an architecture grander far
Than all the fortresses of war,
More inextinguishably bright
Than learning’s lonely towers of light.
Framing its walls of faith and hope and love
In souls of men, it lifts above
The frailty of our earthly home
An everlasting dome;
The sanctuary of the human host,
The living temple of the Holy Ghost.
If music led the builders long
When Arthur planned the halls of Camelot,
And made the royal city grow,
Fair as a flower in that forsaken spot;
What sweeter music shall we bring,
To weave a harmony divine
Of prayer and holy thought
Into the labours of this loftier shrine,
This consecrated hill,
Where through so many a year
Our Alma Mater’s hand hath wrought,
With toil serene and still,
And heavenly hope, to rear
Eternal dwellings for the Only King?
Here let no martial trumpets blow,
Nor instruments of pride proclaim
The loud exultant notes of fame!
But let the chords be clear and low,
And let the anthem deeper grow,
And let it move more solemnly and slow;
For only such an ode
Can seal the harmony
Of that deep masonry
Wherein the soul of man is framed for God’s abode.