MATER FORTISSIMA.

PHI BETA KAPPA POEM, JUNE 25, 1903.

Again the song the fathers sang before us!

The cheer that rings through voice and heart again!

The multitudinous triumphant chorus!

The mighty mother marshalling her men!

"Come--for behold the East and West are merging;

The frozen Arctic greets the scorching Line;

Come, like the waves on strong New England surging;

Come for to-day the seas and skies are mine!"

And we who own no queen on earth above her,

We, who from boyhood know her sovereign away,

Her sons, her knights, and every knight her lover,

Her minute-men--we hear her and obey.

A thousand more their loyal vows have plighted;

A thousand more low at her feet have kneeled;

And every man, upspringing newly knighted,

Hath lifted high God's truth upon his shield.

And she, who wears the wisdom of the ages,

She, who in everlasting youth abides,

She, who her sons, the heroes, martyrs, sages,

From youth to manhood and to glory guides,--

"Go forth," she cries, "from strength to strength forever;

Serve me by serving God and man," she saith;

"Steadfast, upright, of strong and high endeavor,

Fear nothing, and be faithful into death."

For the message of the Master

Down the centuries has rolled;

And the Pilgrims heard the burning word

Like Evangelists of old;

In the cabin of the Mayflower,

When the northwind swept the seas,

In tongues of flame the message came

To the women on their knees;

To the fathers of New England,

To the bold men of the Bay,

Who lodged in the lair of the wolf and the bear,

And the red man fierce as they;

And the grave young scholar hearkened

To the Master's high behest

As he watched the day fly far away

To the darkness of the west.

And westward still he watches,

The width of our wide land,

As he sits alone on a pillar of stone

With his Bible in his hand.

Be it mountain, lake, or prairie,

Be it city strong and fair,

Be it east or west that his eyes shall rest,

He sees New England there.

Be it east or west that his eyes shall rest,

New England stands the same;

For God and the right, at the front of the fight

Are the men that bear her name.

For the message of the Master

She has breathed with every breath;

And come what will, New England still

Shall be faithful unto death.

Harvard, all hall to the mother that reared thee,

Mother whose grace and whose glory thou art!

Hail to New England, who loved thee and cheered thee,

Nestling thee close to her heroine's heart!

Here in the wilderness bravely she bore thee,

Guarded thee, guided thee, prayed for thee then:

"God in the pillar of fire be before thee;

Child of New England, be mother of men.

"Men who shall live in the light of thy vision,

Men who shall welcome at duty's command

Riches or poverty, praise or derision--

Men who shall work, with the head and the hand.

"Not the dull heart of the meaningless stoic;

Quick with the fires of unquenchable youth,

Quivering yet calm, like the martyrs heroic,

Living or dying, triumphant in truth."

From the North, from the South, from the East from the West,

They come, to be born again:

To the North, to the South, to the East, to the West,

They go, to prove them men.

In the field, at the desk, at the court, in the mart,

With the joy in their eyes and the fire in their heart,

To struggle, to strive, to obey, to command,

To work, and to leaven the land.

When the trumpet blew a shriller blast

And the loud alarum rang.

Marching, galloping, thick and fast,

Forward, forward, on to the last,

Forward again they sprang!

Wounded and bleeding and dying and dead--

On to the last where the captain led,

Bursting the battlements overhead

Where the biting bullets sang.

Danger and death and devotion they saw;

Harvard had heroes then:

Perkins and Dalton and Savage and Shaw,

Lowell, and Lowell again:

First in counsel and first to ride

To death as the bridegroom to meet the bride--

Lovers and leaders of men.

There is one who knew them and loved them well,

Never a braver than he.

Like them he fought and like them he fell;

Yet he lives to wear with a soldier's grace

The scar of the sword-cut on his face;

He lives to work in the wondrous light

That shone for the shepherds on Christmas night;

With heart to love and with hand to guide

He nobly lives as he would have died,

For the truth that makes men free.

The truth that makes men free--there came a seer

With radiant smile, whose eyes profound and keen

Burnt through the mist that shrouds the wildering scene,

Of love and life and death, and saw them clear

As noonday; who, serenely standing near

To the great heart of Nature, banished fear

From all that knew his presence. Where he trod

Is hallowed ground; for, lo, he walked with God.

The truth that makes men free--behold, there came

A prophet with the poet's noblest art,

In stature like a giant, and in heart

Wide as the world, with lips and soul aflame

Christ and His church forever to proclaim;

Impetuous, kingly, true, whose very name

Wrought righteousness, whose sweet and surging voice

Lifted the saddened soul to wonder and rejoice.

The truth that makes men free--the scholar sweet

Who taught us how the daisy's poet sang,

Whose vibrant voice in mirth or sadness rang

Out from the warmest heart that ever beat.

Quick, generous, open, learned--him we greet

Once more in June, with roses at his feet,

To learn of him who knew as none shall know

The brave and simple songs of long ago.

Harvard has heroes yet; unspotted, brave,

Free-hearted, strong, rejoicing still in youth,

Even here the leader of our nation gave

His vow to live for righteousness and truth.

Harvard has heroes yet; supreme, victorious,

Leader of leaders in the nation's van,

Marching erect, behold her captain glorious

Who gives his life to freedom and to man.

From the North, from the South, from the East, from the West,

They come, to be born again;

To the North, to the South, to the East, to the West,

They go to prove them men.

In the field, at the desk, at the court, in the mart,

With the joy in their eyes and the fire in their heart,

To struggle, to strive, to obey, to command,

To work, and to leaven the land.

Again the song the fathers sang before us!

The cheer that rings through voice and heart again!

The multitudinous, triumphant chorus!

The mighty mother marshalling her men!

O mother whose benignant arms enfold us,

O heart of all New England, bravest, best,

Whose voice, forever strong and sweet, hath told us

That life is work and work alone is rest,

God be thy guide as onward still thou farest;

Still breathe upon they sons the hero's breath;

And still, as high and higher yet thou darest,

Fear nothing; "be thou faithful unto death."