James Russell Lowell

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James Russell Lowell – 13 September 2007

I found a selection from the poem “Flowers” by James Russell Lowell in an old book of American poetry. In this poem the poet’s use of the word “flowers” appears to be a metaphor for eternal ideals to live by and to leave as a legacy. There is much food for thought here, and I especially like the last four lines:

And by thy life a poem write,
Built strongly day by day –
And on the rock of Truth and Right
Its deep foundations lay.

Born 22 February 1819, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, James Russell Lowell was a poet, critic, editor, and diplomat who served as minister to Spain and ambassador to Britain. Although he received a law degree from Harvard, he did not practice law, but later taught at Harvard and wrote against slavery. He died 12 August 1891 in the city of his birth.

FLOWERS
(Selection)
By James Russell Lowell
1819-1891

O Poet! Above all men blest,
Take heed that thus thou store them;
Love, Hope, and Faith shall ever rest,
Sweet birds (upon how sweet a nest!)
Watchfully brooding o’er them.
And from those flowers of Paradise
Scatter thou many a blessèd seed,
Wherefrom an offspring may arise
To cheer the hearts and light the eyes
Of after-voyagers in their need.
They shall not fall on stony ground,
But, yielding all their hundred-fold,
Shall shed a peacefulness around,
Whose strengthening joy may not be told!
So shall thy name be blest of all,
And thy remembrance never die;
For of that seed shall surely fall
In the fair garden of Eternity.
Exult then in the nobleness
Of this thy work so holy,
Yet be not thou one jot the less
Humble and meek and lowly,
But let thine exultation be
The reverence of a bended knee;
And by thy life a poem write,
Built strongly day by day –
And on the rock of Truth and Right
Its deep foundations lay.

Also visit:
http://www.all-creatures.org/poetrydir.html
 


"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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