To James Whitcomb Riley With Admiration And Regard
O lyrist of the lowly and the true,
The song I sought for you
Hides yet unsung. What hope for me to find,
Lost in the dëdal mind,
The living utterance with lovely tongue!
To say, as erst was sung
By Ariosto of Knight-errantry,
Through lands of Poesy,
Song's Paladin, knight of the dream and day,
The wizard shield you sway
Of that Atlantes power, sweet and terse,
The skyey-builded verse:
The shield that dazzles, brilliant with surprise,
Our unanointed eyes.
Oh, had I written as 't were worthy you,
Each line, a spark of dew,
As once Ferdusi shone in Persia,
Had strung each rosy spray
Of the unfolding flower of each song;
And Iran's bulbul tongue
Had sobbed its heart out o'er the fountain's slab
In gardens of Afrasiab.
Madison Julius Cawein
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