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Midnight—september 19, 1881 - Poem by John Boyle O'Reilly


ONCE in a lifetime, we may see the veil
Tremble and lift, that hides symbolic things;
The Spirit's vision, when the senses fail,
Sweeps the weird meaning that the outlook brings.

Deep in the midst of turmoil, it may be—
A crowded street, a forum, or a field,—
The soul inverts the telescope to see
To-day's event in future's years revealed.

Back from the present, let us look at Rome:
Behold, what Cato meant, what Brutus said.
Hark! the Athenians welcome Cimon home!
How clear they are those glimpses of the dead!

But we, hard toilers, we who plan and weave
Through common days the web of common life,
What word, alas! shall teach us to receive
The mystic meaning of our peace and strife?

Whence comes our symbol? Surely, God must speak-
No less than He can make us heed or pause:
Self-seekers we, too busy or too weak
To search beyond our daily lives and laws.

From things occult our earth-turned eyes rebel;
No sound of Destiny can reach our ears;
We have no time for dreaming—Hark! a knell—
A knell at midnight! All the nation hears!

A second grievous throb! The dreamers wake—
The merchant's soul forgets his goods and ships;
The weary workmen from their slumbers break;
The women raise their eyes with quivering lips;

The miner rests upon his pick to hear;
The printer's type stops midway from the case;
The solemn sound has reached the roysterer's ear,
And brought the shame and sorrow to his face.

Again it booms! O Mystic Veil, upraise!
—Behold, 'tis lifted? On the darkness drawn,
A picture lined with light! The people's gaze,
Prom sea to sea, beholds it till the dawn!

A death-bed scene—a sinking sufferer lies,
Their chosen ruler, crowned with love and pride;
Around, his counselors, with streaming eyes;
His wife, heart-broken, kneeling by his side:

Death's shadow holds her—it will pass too soon;
She weeps in silence—bitterest of tears;
He wanders softly—Nature's kindest boon;
And as he murmurs, all the country hears:

For him the pain is past, the struggle ends;
His cares and honors fade—his younger life
In peaceful Mentor conies, with dear old friends;
His mother's arms take home his dear young wife.

He stands among the students, tall and strong,
And teaches truths republican and grand;
He moves—ah, pitiful—he sweeps along
O'er fields of carnage leading his command!

He speaks to crowded faces—round him surge
Thousands and millions of excited men:
He hears them cheer—sees some vast light emerge—
Is borne as on a tempest—then—ah, then,

The fancies fade, the fever's work is past;
A deepened pang, then recollection's thrill;
He feels the faithful lips that kiss their last.
His heart beats once in answer, and is still!

The curtain falls: but hushed, as if afraid,
The people wait, tear-stained, with heaving breast;
'Twill rise again, they know, when he is laid
With Freedom, in the Capitol, at rest.

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Poems About September

  1. 51. Midnight—september 19, 1881 , John Boyle O'Reilly
  2. 52. September , Theodora (Theo) Onken
  3. 53. In September , Roderic Quinn
  4. 54. Jeffries Wyman Died September 4, 1874. , James Russell Lowell
  5. 55. In September... , (brief renderings) Joe Fazio
  6. 56. The Soft September Sunlight Shone , ANDREW BLAKEMORE
  7. 57. September Comes , Daniel Brick
  8. 58. Come September And Sweet Heart , Akhtar Jawad
  9. 59. A Beautiful Night In September , Francis Duggan
  10. 60. Photograph From September 11 , Wislawa Szymborska
  11. 61. September, The Cruellest Of Months , indira babbellapati
  12. 62. Ode For September , Robert Laurence Binyon
  13. 63. September , Steven Silent Wolf
  14. 64. ! Song Of September! , Rema Prasanaa
  15. 65. September Song , David Harris
  16. 66. September, 1903 , Constantine P. Cavafy
  17. 67. September , Viggo Stuckenberg
  18. 68. In September , Edward Dowden
  19. 69. Silent September , Poetheart Morgan
  20. 70. At Brunswick Heads, New South Wales, Sep.. , Peter Bakowski
  21. 71. My September Musings , M.D Dinesh Nair
  22. 72. (...............11sept2) September 1.. , Max Reif
  23. 73. September Rain , ANDREW BLAKEMORE
  24. 74. September 22 , David Lehman
  25. 75. September The 5th , Jean Ann Owens
  26. 76. September Musings , Gillena Cox
  27. 77. Remember, Remember The Eleventh Of Septe.. , Ronberge (anno tercio)
  28. 78. September Showers (Alliteration Poem) , Marieta Maglas
  29. 79. 911 (September 11th) , Leslie Alexis
  30. 80. In September… , Tsira Gogeshvili
  31. 81. September Sky , James Grengs
  32. 82. September 11th , Micah Bell
  33. 83. September , Aldous Huxley
  34. 84. September Song , Laurence James Duggan
  35. 85. September Love , april braley
  36. 86. Look Forward To September , Richard R. Navarro
  37. 87. September Glory , Joyce Hemsley
  38. 88. Falling In Love In September , Peter S. Quinn
  39. 89. September Day , Fay Slimm
  40. 90. September , Aldo Kraas
  41. 91. September 11,2001 , Joseph James Breunig 3rd
  42. 92. 19th September , Edward Kofi Louis
  43. 93. September 11,2001 , Gordon Jackson
  44. 94. Come September , Daniel Thomas Moran
  45. 95. September 11,2001 , William F Dougherty
  46. 96. Two Weeks Into September , Francis Duggan
  47. 97. A September Day , Francis Duggan
  48. 98. Boston Bombing & September 11th! , Tom Zart
  49. 99. An Elegy Of September 11 , Walterrean Salley
  50. 100. Elegy For September 10 , John Sarvay
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