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Around The Sun

Katharine Lee Bates 1859 (Falmouth) – 1929 (Wellesley)



THE weazen planet Mercury,
Whose song is done,
— Rash heart that drew too near
His dazzling lord the Sun!—
Forgets that life was dear,
So shriveled now and sere
The goblin planet Mercury.
But Venus, thou mysterious, Enveilèd one,
Fairest of lights that fleet
Around the radiant Sun,
Do not thy pulses beat
To music blithe and sweet,
O Venus, veiled, mysterious?
And Earth, our shadow-haunted Earth,
Hast thou, too, won
The graces of a star
From the glory of the Sun?
Do poets dream afar
That here all lusters are,
Upon our blind, bewildered Earth?
We dream that mighty forms on Mars,
With wisdom spun
From subtler brain than man's,
Are hoarding snow and sun,
Wringing a few more spans
Of life, fierce artisans,
From their deep-grooved, worn planet Mars.
But thou, colossal Jupiter,
World just begun,
Wild globe of golden steam,
Chief nursling of the Sun,
Transcendest human dream,
That faints before the gleam
Of thy vast splendor, Jupiter.
And for what rare delight,
Or woes to shun,
Of races increate,
New lovers of the Sun,
Was Saturn ringed with great
Rivers illuminate,
Ethereal jewel of delight?
Far from his fellows, Uranus
Doth lonely run
In his appointed ways
Around the sovereign Sun, —
Wide journeys that amaze
Our weak and toiling gaze,
Searching the path of Uranus.
But on the awful verge
Of voids that stun
The spirit, Neptune keeps
The frontier of the Sun.
Over the deeps on deeps
He glows, a torch that sweeps
The circle of that shuddering verge.
On each bright planet waits
Oblivion,
Who casts beneath her feet
Ashes of star and sun,
But when all ruby heat.
Is frost, a Heart shall beat,
Where God, within the darkness, waits.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Katharine Lee Bates

Katharine Lee Bates is remembered as the author of the words to the anthem America the Beautiful Bates was born in Falmouth Massachusetts and lived as an adult on Centre Street in Newton Massachusetts An historic plaque marks the site of her home The daughter of a Congregational pastor she graduated from Wellesley College in 1880 and for many years was a professor of English literature at Wellesley While teaching there she was elected a member of the newly formed Pi Gamma Mu honor society for the social sciences because of her interest in history and politics for which she also studied She lived at Wellesley with Katharine Coman who herself was a history and political economy teacher and founder of the Wellesley College Economics department The pair lived together for twenty-five years until Comans death in 1915 It is debated if this relationship was an intimate lesbian relationship as different sources maintain or a platonic relationship called sometimes Boston marriages as the local historical society of her birthplace maintain more…

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