Esto Perpetua - Poem by Kate Harrington
Dedicated to the students of the college of physicians and surgeons, at Keokuk, Iowa, classes of 1875-76.
Students ! as again ye gather
Where your feet have trod before,
Ope your minds to Wisdom's teachings,
Drink them in and thirst for more !
In your Alma Mater's shadow
Sages, men of learning, wait,
Ready, with the keys of Science,
To unlock her golden gate.
Those who dwell in mountain-passes,
Narrowed in by rock and vale,
Strive, and serve an humble purpose,
Make their little lives avail.
But, with prairies circling round you,
Stretching beyond human ken,
And this grand old river near you,
Need ye rank as common men?
Why, it seems such thoughts should thrill you
As would leap their prison-bars,
Mounting, eagle-plumed, above you,
Till they almost touched the stars !
Vastness, richness, boundless beauty
Urge you up to loftiest height ;
Rouse you to prolonged endeavor, ―
Nerve you for Life's coming fight.
Be ye watchful, patient, gentle,
Quick to soothe and strong to bear ;
For the healing of the nation
Is confided to your care.
Let your tones be glad and hopeful
If new life ye would impart ;
Let your cheering smiles of greeting
Fall, like sunlight, on the heart.
Oh, be firm as rocks of granite
When temptations bar your way !
Let not vice, with its allurements,
Turn your steadfast steps astray.
Pure should be the man who waiteth
Where a spirit's bonds are riven,
And the freed soul, angel-guided,
Wings its way to home and heaven.
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