Landmarks

BUILDING

by George Alfred Townsend

THE mountain summit grows apace
With walls and walks and spires,
The tribute to ancestral place
By one of waning fires,
Who never loved but haunts of men,
And earned in cities, bread,
Yet sought the shaggy rock and glen
To lay, at last, his head.

The thrill of Nature in his craze
Was like his love of play -
Medicinal for some brief days,
And, then, to turn away:
To try the mart and measure Art
With captains of his guild,
Then, in the lonely mountain's heart,
To dig and plan and build.

His habitation who can know,
When life is but a breath?
Or that his bones are safe below
The cheerless den of death?
Yet, in their day, all builded well,
Like warrior ants their hills, --
And tender beauty haunts the cell
Taste and Industry wills.

So if we leave where nothing stood
Some structure pure and true,
Succeeding times will count it good
And others learn to do.
The bookman's art is left behind
And letters only vex;
Write, then in stone, ye men of mind!
And live as architects!


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From: Poems of Men and Events, by George Alfred Townsend, 1896, pp. 269-270.

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