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The Presence Chamber

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



(Switzerland)
BEHOLD a temple builded not by hands.
Columns of mist, all shimmering with sun,
Stream heavenward from the deep-cut vales that run
Between the mountains, and the vault expands,
Splendor of turquoise, groined with opal bands.
Cloud tapestries, of pearl and amber spun,
Veil in that glorious pavilion,
Mosaic-paved with cities, lakes and lands.
But far withdrawn in utter light of light,
Holy of Holies, is the God to whom
Our souls, that make their own enshrouding night,
Lift piteous prayer: 'Deliver us from gloom,'
Yet shrink aftrighted from the answering, white,
Unbearable Divine that would illume.

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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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