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Theodore Roosevelt Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Roosevelt by Vilda Sauvage Owens
  2. What Roosevelt Said Once at Harvard by Amos Russel Wells
  3. Theodore Roosevelt by Amos Russel Wells
  4. Roosevelt by John Jay Chapman
  5. Roosevelt by Raymond Garfield Dandridge

  1. Roosevelt

    by Vilda Sauvage Owens

    He was a very valiant Knight; yet wore
    No shining armor, no accoutrements
    Or rich caparisons of chivalry.
    Truth was his breastplate, courage was his lance,
    His shield an infinite humanity.
    His was the faith that knew no obstacle;
    The strength that shunned the pleasant paths of ease,
    Choosing the roughened roads of toil; and his
    The courage that withstood adversity,
    And made defeat a winged Victory.
    Sorrow was his, yet none might dream that when
    A grave was made upon a foreign field
    He knew a mortal hurt. His dauntless soul
    Shone with a radiancy that conquered pain,
    And mocked at suffering. In truth he was
    A valiant Knight, a very valiant Knight.
    And like a warrior he laid him down
    To seek repose against the morrow's toil.
    'Twas thus Death found him, sleeping. Straight arose
    A cry of sorrow wide as the world is wide.
    But bugles sounded on the other side!

  2. What Roosevelt Said Once at Harvard

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Said Mr. Roosevelt: "Those are sticks
    That keep away from politics,
    Let upright fellows jump right in,
    And try their best to fight and win.
    You'll do the nation good; and you
    Will get good from the nation, too.
    If you cant work with other men,
    Perhaps you are too good; and then
    Perhaps you aren't, but finicky,--
    A foolish eccentricity."
    Which isn't vague magniloquence,
    But downright Roosevelt common sense!

  3. Theodore Roosevelt

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The sturdy mountain sides have dowered him;
    The prairie and the forest and the stream
    Have been a second college. Nature knows
    To build uncounted forms, but chiefly knows
    To build the crowning majesty of man.
    From east to west, through many ranging years,
    He learned to ken his country,--suddenly,
    At fearful phase, that country called to serve.
    With woodland swing that parts the undergrowth
    He hastens to the dread, imperious task.
    Comrade of hills, good-fellow with the trees,
    Well can he blaze a path, or follow well
    Another's footprints. To its hidden lair
    He knows to track a panther--or a thief.
    The cool, dark stream, familiar with his line,
    Has taught him how to fish with many baits,
    And tactfully. The facile, swift canoe
    Has bound its Indian fibre to his brain,
    As swift, direct, and sure. He could not learn,
    Sweeping across the prairies wild and free
    With men as free and wild the quibbler's art,
    And so he never learned it. In the woods
    One turns to many a craft, as men have need;
    So he, in wood or city. Where the stars
    Gleam through the reverent branches of the pines,
    He learned the littleness of little men,
    The majesty of great ones, and was taught
    How one man--with the stars--can front the world.
    Those stars direct our woodland President,
    Steady his course with quiet influence;
    Lead him right onward where the triumph is,
    Draw him right upward where the blessing is
    And ever through the crowding cares of state
    Pour the serenity of hills and trees.

  4. Roosevelt

    by John Jay Chapman

    [Lines read at the Harvard Club, New York, on February 9, 1919]

    Life seems belittled when a great man dies;
    The age is cheapened and time's furnishings
    Stare like the trappings of an empty stage.
    Ring down the curtain! We must pause, go home
    And let the plot of the world reshape itself
    To comprehensive form. Roosevelt dead!
    The genial giant walks the earth no more,
    Grasping the hands of all men, deluging
    Their hearts, like Pan, with bright Cyclopean fire
    That dizzied them at times, yet made them glad.

    Where dwells he? Everywhere! In cottages,
    And by the forge of labor and the desk
    Of science. The torn spelling book
    Is blotted with the name of Roosevelt,
    And like a myth he floats upon the winds
    Of India and Ceylon. His brotherhood
    Includes the fallen kings. Himself a king,
    He left a stamp upon his countrymen
    Like Charlemagne.

    Yes, note the life of kings!
    A throne's a day of judgment in itself,
    And shows the flaw within the emerald.
    For every king must seem more than he is;
    Ambition holds her prism before his eye,
    Burlesques his virtues, rides upon his car
    Clouded with false effulgence, till the man
    Loses his nature in a second self,
    Which is his rôle. Yet Theodore survived—
    Resumed his natural splendor as he sank
    Like Titan in the ocean.

    The great war
    Was all a fight for Paris—must she fall
    And be a heap of desolation ere
    Relief could reach her? Sad America
    Dreamed in the distance as a charmèd thing
    Till Roosevelt, like Roland, blew his horn.
    Alone he did it! By his personal will.
    Alone—till others echoed—bellowing
    From shore to shore across the continent,
    Like a sea monster to the sleeping seals
    Of Pribylov. Then, slowly wakening,
    The flock prepared for war. 'Twas just in time!
    One blast the less, and our preparedness
    Had come an hour too late.

    Ay, traveller,
    Who wanderest by the bridges of the Seine,
    Past palaces and churches, marts and streets,
    Whose names are syllables in history,
    'Twas Roosevelt saved Paris. There she stands!
    Look where you will—the towers of Notre Dame,
    The quays, the columns, the Triumphal Arch—
    To those who know, they are his monument.

  5. Roosevelt

    by Raymond Garfield Dandridge

    "Put out the light!"
    He had no need of man-made glow
    With celestial Dawn in sight:
    Unflinchingly, we saw him go
    Onward, to mount the highest Height.
    "Put out the light!"

    "Put out the light!"
    His noble soul, stranger to fear,
    Sought not the guidance of a spark:
    His active conscience, ever clear,
    Knew little gloom and less of dark.
    "Put out the light!"

    "Put out the light!"
    Apostle of "Preparedness,"
    Who lived and died prepared,
    Had he not seen a just redress,
    Could he—would he have dared
    "Put out the light?"

    "Put out the light!"
    A sacred wreath we hang on high
    Upon immortal mem'ry's wall,
    To never wither, droop or die,
    Until we, too, have heard the call—
    "Put out the light!"