Katharine Lee Bates
Our First Families - Poem by Katharine Lee Bates
SWEET are the manners of the wood,
Our only old society,
Where all the folk are glad and good
In unrebuked variety.
Within this gentle commonweal
No envy falls with fairy gold
On jewel-weed and Solomon's seal,
Moth mullein and marsh marigold.
No rubied vines despise the lot
Of ragged neighbors; whether moss
Be flat or tufted matters not,
Pale peat or glittering feather-moss.
The common milkwort holds estates
And wears his purple royalty;
The bluets keep their ancient traits
With quiet Quaker loyalty.
These families of long descent,
Our tutors in amenities,
Have pedigrees of such extent
They well may share serenities.
Ere first the hollow Catacombs
Thrilled to a Christian litany
There bloomed beside the redmen's homes
Spicebush and fragrant dittany.
This rock's huge shadow rested on
Gentian and nodding trillium
Before the rise of Babylon,
Before the fall of Ilium.
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