Memorial Hall.

From: The Bird and the Bell with Other Poems (1875)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: Osgood and Company 1875 Boston


AMID the elms that interlace
Round Harvard’s grounds their branches tall,
We greet no walls of statelier grace
Than thine, our proud Memorial Hall!

Through arching boughs and roofs of green
Whose dappled lights and shadows lie
Along the turf and road, is seen
Thy noble form against the sky.

And miles away, on fields and streams,
Or where the woods the hilltop crown,
The monumental temple gleams,
A landmark to each neighboring town.

Nor this alone; New England knows
A deeper meaning in the pride
Whose stately architecture shows
How Harvard’s children fought and died.

Therefore this hallowed pile recalls
The heroes, young and true and brave,
Who gave their memories to these walls,
Their lives to fill the soldier’s grave.

The farmer, as he drives his team
To market in the morn, afar
Beholds the golden sunrise gleam
Upon thee, like a glistening star.

And gazing, he remembers well
Why stands yon tower so fair and tall.
His sons perhaps in battle fell;
For him, too, shines Memorial Hall.

And sometimes as the student glides
Along the winding Charles, and sees
Across the flats thy glowing sides
Above the elms and willow-trees,

Upon his oar he’ll turn and pause,
Remembering the heroic aims
Of those who linked their country’s cause
In deathless glory with their names.

And as against the moonlit sky
The shadowy mass looms overhead,
Well may we linger with a sigh
Beneath the tablets of the dead.

The snow-drifts on thy roof shall wreathe
Their crowns of virgin white for them;
The whispering winds of summer breathe
At morn and eve their requiem.

For them the Cambridge bells shall chime
Across the noises of the town;
The cannon’s peal recall their time
Of stern resolve and brief renown.

Concord and Lexington shall still,
Like deep to deep, to Harvard call;
The tall gray shaft on Bunker Hill
Speak greetings to Memorial Hall.

O, never may the land forget
Her loyal sons who died that we
Might live, remembering still our debt,
The costly price of Liberty!

CAMBRIDGE, MASS., April, 1874.

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