Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
711. From “In State”
 
By Forceythe Willson
 
 
  O KEEPER of the Sacred Key,
  And the Great Seal of Destiny,
  Whose eye is the blue canopy,
Look down upon the warring world, and tell us what the end will be.
 
  “Lo, through the wintry atmosphere,        5
  On the white bosom of the sphere,
  A cluster of five lakes appear;
And all the land looks like a couch, or warrior’s shield, or sheeted bier.
 
  “And on that vast and hollow field,
  With both lips closed and both eyes sealed,        10
  A mighty Figure is revealed,—
Stretched at full length, and stiff and stark, as in the hollow of a shield.
 
  “The winds have tied the drifted snow
  Around the face and chin; and, lo!
  The sceptred Giants come and go,        15
And shake their shadowy crowns and say:
    ‘We always feared it would be so!’
 
  “She came of an heroic race:
  A giant’s strength, a maiden’s grace,
  Like two in one seem to embrace,        20
And match, and blend, and thorough-blend, in her colossal form and face.
 
  “Where can her dazzling falchion be?
  One hand is fallen in the sea;
  The Gulf-Stream drifts it far and free;
And in that hand her shining brand gleams from the depths resplendently.        25
 
  “And by the other, in its rest,
  The starry banner of the West
  Is clasped forever to her breast;
And of her silver helmet, lo, a soaring eagle is the crest.
 
  “And on her brow, a softened light,        30
  As of a star concealed from sight
  By some thin veil of fleecy white,—
Or of the rising moon behind the rainy vapors of the night.
 
  “The Sisterhood that was so sweet,
  The Starry System sphered complete,        35
  Which the mazed Orient used to greet,
The Four and Thirty fallen Stars glimmer and glitter at her feet.
 
  “And over her,—and over all,
  For panoply and coronal,—
  The mighty Immemorial,        40
And everlasting Canopy and starry Arch and Shield of All.”
 

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