Edward Rowland Sill

Edward Rowland Sill Poems

THE royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: 'Sir Fool,

This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:-
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged

MY tower was grimly builded,
With many a bolt and bar,
'And here,' I thought, 'I will keep my life
From the bitter world afar.'


THE stars know a secret
They do not tell;
And morn brings a message
Hidden well.

CLEAR water on smooth rock
Could give no foot-hold for a single flower,
Or slenderest shaft of grain:


BLACK, frost-cold distance, sparsely honey-combed
With hollow shells of glimmering golden light;
Mere amber bubbles floating through the night,

O GOD, our Father, if we had but truth!
Lost truth—which thou perchance
Didst let man lose, lest all his wayward youth

WHAT am I glad will stay when I have passed
From this dear valley of the world, and stand
On yon snow-glimmering peaks, and lingering cast

When I was yet but a child, the gardener gave me a tree,
A little slim elm, to be set wherever seemed good to me

FIVE mites of monads dwelt in a round drop
That twinkled on a leaf by a pool in the sun.
To the naked eye they lived invisible;

FAREWELL to such a world! Too long I press
The crowded pavement with unwilling feet.
Pity makes pride, and hate breeds hatefulness.

AH, could I but be understood!'
(I prayed the powers above)
'Could but some spirit, bright and good,
Know me and, knowing, love!'

I LAY awake and listened, ere the light
Began to whiten at the window pane.
The world was all asleep: earth was a fane

A PURPLE cloud hangs half-way down;
Sky, yellow gold below;
The naked trees, beyond the town,
Like masts against it show,—

A TROOP of babes in Summer-Land,
At heaven's gate—the children's gate:
One lifts the latch with rosy hand,

A SEA of shade; with hollow heights above,
Where floats the redwood's airy roof away,
Whose feathery lace the drowsy breezes move,


STILL earth turns and pulses stir,
And each day hath its deed;
But if I be dead to her,
What is the life I lead?

ALL the skies had gloomed in gray,
Many a week, day after day.
Nothing came the blank to fill,
Nothing stirred the stagnant will.

WHITE in her snowy stone, and cold,
With azure veins and shining arms,
Pygmalion doth his bride behold,

GROWING old, and looking back
Wistfully along his track,
I have heard him try to tell,
With a smile a little grim,

Edward Rowland Sill Biography

Edward Rowland Sill (April 29, 1841 – February 27, 1887), American poet and educator, was born in Windsor, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale in 1861, where he was Class Poet. He engaged in business in California, and entered the Harvard Divinity School in 1867 but soon left it for a position on the staff of the New York Evening Mail. After teaching at Wadsworth and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (1868-1871), he became principal of the Oakland High School, California. He was professor of English literature at the University of California during the period 1874–1882. His health was failing, and he returned to Cuyahoga Falls in 1883. He devoted himself to literary work, abundant and largely anonymous, until his death in Cleveland, Ohio. Much of his poetry was contributed to The Atlantic Monthly, the Century Magazine, and the Overland Monthly. Many of his graceful prose essays appeared in The Contributors Club, and others appeared in the main body of the Atlantic. He was a modest and charming man, a graceful essayist, a sure critic. His contribution to American poetry is small but of fine quality. His best poems, such as "The Venus of Milo," "The Fool's Prayer" and "Opportunity," gave him a high place among the minor poets of America, which might have been higher but for his early death.)

The Best Poem Of Edward Rowland Sill

The Fool's Prayer

THE royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: 'Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!'

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: 'O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

'No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin; but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

' 'Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

'These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

'The ill-timed truth we might have kept-
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say-
Who knows how grandly it had rung?

'Our faults no tenderness should ask,
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders-oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

'Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!'

The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
'Be merciful to me, a fool!'

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