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Two Sonnets: Harvard Post by :Scott_Logan Category :Poems Author :Oliver Wendell Holmes Date :November 2010 Read :2289

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Two Sonnets: Harvard

At the meeting of the New York Harvard Club,
February 21, 1878.

"CHRISTO ET ECCLESLE." 1700

To GOD'S ANOINTED AND HIS CHOSEN FLOCK
So ran the phrase the black-robed conclave chose
To guard the sacred cloisters that arose
Like David's altar on Moriah's rock.
Unshaken still those ancient arches mock
The ram's-horn summons of the windy foes
Who stand like Joshua's army while it blows
And wait to see them toppling with the shock.
Christ and the Church. Their church, whose narrow door
Shut out the many, who if overbold
Like hunted wolves were driven from the fold,
Bruised with the flails these godly zealots bore,
Mindful that Israel's altar stood of old
Where echoed once Araunah's threshing-floor.


1643 "VERITAS." 1878

TRUTH: So the frontlet's older legend ran,
On the brief record's opening page displayed;
Not yet those clear-eyed scholars were afraid
Lest the fair fruit that wrought the woe of man
By far Euphrates--where our sire began
His search for truth, and, seeking, was betrayed--
Might work new treason in their forest shade,
Doubling the curse that brought life's shortened span.
Nurse of the future, daughter of the past,
That stern phylactery best becomes thee now
Lift to the morning star thy marble brow
Cast thy brave truth on every warring blast!
Stretch thy white hand to that forbidden bough,
And let thine earliest symbol be thy last!


(The end)
Oliver Wendell Holmes's poem: Two Sonnets: Harvard

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