Biography of Henry Abbey
Henry Abbey was an American poet who is best remembered for the poem, What do we plant when we plant a tree? He is also known for The Bedouin's Rebuke.
In much of his work, Abbey displays traditional characteristics of the nineteenth century American poetic approach. He uses inversions and has fluid feel; his style takes notable influence from that of English poet James Henry Leigh Hunt. The Bedouin's Rebuke can be compared to Hunt's Abou Ben Adhem, which employs similar metric flow. Abbey was fond of simple subject matter, such as remorse or happiness; his poetry often forms an anecdote or short story which builds in intensity, reaches a climactic struggle between two opposing entities, and then ends in an implied moral. His poetry is reminiscent of the Romantic Era, with particular influence from Shelley and Coleridge. He remains relatively well known with the poetry-reading public, as well as a respected figure in literary circles.
Henry Abbey's Works:
* May Dreams (1862)
* Ralph and other Poems (1866)
* Stories in Verse (1869)
* Ballads of Good Deeds (1872)
* Poems (1879)
* The City of Success and other Poems (1883)
* Dream of Love (1910)
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Henry Abbey Poems
Along the cliff I walk in silence, While over the blue of the waves below, The white birds gleam in the sun like silver And ships in the offing come and go,
The Drawbridge Keeper
Drecker, a drawbridge keeper, opened wide The dangerous gate to let the vessel through; His little son was standing by his side, Above Passaic River deep and blue,
Along the Nile
We journey up the storied Nile; The timeless water seems to smile; The slow and swarthy boatman sings; The dahabëah spreads her wings;
On A Great Warrior
When all the sky was wild and dark, When every heart was wrung with fear, He rose serene, and took his place, The great occasion's mighty peer.
O white, white, light moon, that sailest in the sky, Look down upon the whirling world, for thou art up so high,
How mild and fair the day, dear love! and in these garden ways The lingering dahlias to the sun their hopeless faces raise. The buckwheat and the barley, once so bonny and so blithe, Fall before the rhythmic labor of the cradler's gleaming scythe.
Invocation to the Sun
O Sun, toward which the earth's uneven face Turns ever round, strong Emperor of Day, To thee I bring my tribute of large praise; And yet not I; but that which in me is,
All night I cried in agony Of grief and bitter loss, And wept for Him whom they had nailed Against the shameful cross.
In Memory of General Grant
WHITE wings of commerce sailing far, Hot steam that drives the weltering wheel, Tamed lightning speeding on the wire,
All bold, great actions that are seen too near, Look rash and foolish to unthinking eyes; But at a distance they at once appear In their true grandeur: so let us be wise,
Moons on moons ago, In the sleep, or night, of the moon, When evil spirits have power, The monster, Ontiora,
When might made right in days of chivalry, Hatot and Ringsdale, over claims of land, Darkened their lives with stormy enmity, And for their cause agreed this test to stand:
The King and the Naiad
When the wrongs of peace grow mighty, They beget the wrong of war, Whose wild night, with deeds immortal, Sparkles brightly, star on star.
The Age of Good
I had a vision of mankind to be: I saw no grated windows, heard no roar From iron mouths of war on land and sea; Ambition broke the sway of peace no more
When from the vaulted wonder of the sky
The curtain of the light is drawn aside,
And I behold the stars in all their wide
Significance and glorious mystery,
Assured that those more distant orbs are suns
Round which innumerable worlds revolve,—
My faith grows strong, my day-born doubts dissolve,
And death, that dread annulment which life shuns,
Or fain would shun, becomes to life the way,