William Stanley Braithwaite (1878-1962)
William Stanley Braithwaite of Arlington Heights, Mass., was a poet and the editor of the annual Anthology of Magazine Verse. He also taught at Atlanta University. (Information from the University of North Carolina Library)
From Lyrics of Life and Love (1904) (University of Michigan)
From The House of Falling Leaves with Other Poems (1908) (University of Michigan)
(March 19, 1907)
WHAT sudden bird will bring us any cheer
Whose song in the chill dawn gives hope of Spring;
Can we be glad to give it welcoming
Though April in its music be so near?
Not while the burden of our memories bear
The weight of silence that we know will cling
About the lips that nevermore will sing
The heart of him with visions voiced so clear.
There is a pause in meeting before speech
Between men who have fed their souls with song;
The strangeness of an echo beyond reach
Cleaves silence deep for speech to pass along.
There are no words to tell the loss, but each
Of our hearts feels the sorrow deep and strong.
The Wondersmith in vocables is dead!
The Builder of the palaces of rhyme
Shall build no more his music out of Time.
In the deep, breathless peace to which he fled
He sits with Landor's hands upon his head
Watching our suns and stars that sink and climb
Between him and our tears' continuous chime --
Sorrowing for his presence vanishèd.
Aldrich is dead! but the glory of his life
Is in his song, and this will keep his name
Safe above change and the assaults of strife.
Poet, whose artistry, his constant aim
Kept true above defections that were rife,
Death taking him, still leaves his deathless fame.
March 20, 21, 1907.
For His Eighty-third Birthday
BENEATH the bare-boughed Cambridge elms to-day
Time takes no flight in his unwintered heart;
Where fourscore years and three came to depart,
The vision shines that cannot burn away.
In perils of change his voice is still our stay,
Who kept the true direction from the start.
He knew no deed born from his thoughts apart --
And held his pen Truth's summons to obey.
O reverend head, take this our crown of praise,
On this, thy Birthday, hallowed by our love;
A soldier's honor and a poet's bays;
In public heed thy virtues held to prove --
Though long, we wish thee longer, length of days,
To lead us up the heights where we would move.
HE heard the four winds and the seven seas,
And voices inland under alien stars,
And drove ambition like auroral cars
Striking the hill-tops when the darkness flees.
Vain in his dreams, but brave in his vanities;
No carpet-knight yet versed in parlor wars;
And half a rogue when honesty debars
The desire to take the prize his fancy sees.
And yet he knew the silences of speech --
The leaf-heard utterance of April rains;
The echoes in the twilight out of reach
Beyond the dim horizon where it wanes.
And like the distant sea-wash on the beach
He sang a few sad tender lyric strains.