Charles Warren Stoddard

By George Sterling

O Muse! Within thy western hall,
  To mellow chord and crystal string,
  At many harps thy chosen sing:
His was the gentlest soul of all.

He sang not as the leaping faun
  By voiceless rivers cool and clear,
  Nor yet as chants the visioned seer
When darkness trembles with the dawn.

A milder music held his lyre—
  A wistful strain, all human-sweet,
  Between the ashes at our feet
And stars that pass in alien fire.

His skies were somber, but he lit
  His garden with a lamp of gold,
  Where tropic laughter left untold
The sadness buried in his wit.

Lonely, he harbored to the last
  A boyish spirit, large and droll;
  Tardy of flesh and swift of soul,
He walked with angels of the Past.
With tears his laurels still are wet;
  But now we smile, whose hearts have known
  The fault that harmed himself alone,—
The art that left a world in debt.

Of all he said, I best recall:
  "He knows the sky who knows the sod,
  And he who loves a flower, loves God."
Sky, flower and sod, he loved them all.

From all he wrote (not for his day),
  A sense of marvel drifts to me—
  Of morning on a purple sea,
And fragrant islands far away.

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