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Harvard Odes.

I.
 
(Feb. 23, 1869.)
 
Fair Harvard, dear guide of our youth's golden days;
At thy name all our hearts own a thrill,
We turn from life's .highways, its business, its cares,
We are boys in thy tutelage still.
And the warm blood of youth to our veins, as of yore,
Returns with impetuous flow,
Reviving the scenes and the hopes that were ours
In the vanished, but sweet Long Ago.
 
Once more through thy walks, Alma Mater, we tread,
And we dream youth's fair dreams once again,
We are heroes in fight for the Just and the Right,
We are knights without fear, without stain;
Its doors in fair prospect the world opens wide,
Its prizes seem easy to win,--
We are strong in our faith, we are bold in our might,
And we long for the race to begin.
 
Though dimmed are our hopes, and our visions are fled,
Our dreams were but dreams, it is true;
Dust-stained from the contest we gather to-night,
The sweet dreams of youth to renew.
Enough for to-morrow the cares it shall bring,
We are boys, we are brothers, to-night;
And our hearts, warm with love, Alma Mater, to thee,
Shall in loyal devotion unite.
 

 

 

 
II.
 
(Feb. 11, 1870.)
 
As we meet in thy name, Alma Mater, to-night,
All our hearts and our hopes are as one,
And love for the mother that nurtured his youth
Beats high in the breast of each son.
The sweet chords of Memory bridge o'er the Past,
The years fade away like a dream,
By the banks of Cephissus, beneath the green trees,
We tread thy fair walks, Academe.
 
The heights of Hymettus that bound the near view
Fill the air with an odor as sweet
As the beautiful clusters of sun-tinted grapes
From the vineyards that lie at our feet.
O realm of enchantment, O Wonderful land,
Where the gods hold high converse with men,
Come out from the dusk of past ages once more,
And live in our fancy again.
 
Let us drink to the Past as our glasses we lift,
Let eye speak to eye, heart to heart,
Let the bonds of sweet fellowship bind each to each,
In the hours that remain ere we part.
And thou, Alma Mater, grown fairer with age,
Let us echo the blessing that fell
From thy motherly lips, as we stood at thy side,
And thou bad'st us God-speed and Farewell.
 

 

 

 
III.
 
(Feb. 21, 1872.)
 
Fair Harvard, the months have accomplished their round
And a year stands full-orbed and complete,
Since last at thy summons, with dutiful hearts,
Thy children sat here at thy feet.
Since last in thy presence, grown youthful once more,
We drank to the past and its joys,
Shaking off every care that encumbered our years,
And dreamed that again we were boys.
 
To-night once again in thy presence we meet
In the freshness and flush of life's spring;
We wait but thy blessing, we ask but thy smile,
As our sails to the free air we fling.
The winds breathe auspicious that waft us along,
The sky, undisturbed, smiles serene,
Hope stands at the prow, and the waters gleam bright
With sparkles of silvery sheen.
 
And thy voice, Alma Mater, so potent and sweet,
Still sounds in our ears as of yore,
And thy motherly counsel we hear, wisdom-fraught,
As we push our frail barks from the shore.
From the foam-crested waves of the mountainous sea
As backward our glances we strain,
We see the dear face of our mother benign,
And bless her again and again.
 

 

 

 
IV.
 
(Feb. 21, 1873.)
 
There's a fountain of Fable whose magical power
Time's ravages all could repair,
And replace the bowed form and the tottering step,
The wrinkles and silvery hair,
By the brown flowing locks and the graces of youth,
Its footstep elastic and light,
Could mantle the cheek with its long-vanished bloom
And make the dull eye keen and bright.
 
'Tis only a fable--a beautiful dream,
But the fable, the dream, shall come true,
As thy sons, Alma Mater, assemble to-night
The joys of past years to renew.
Our eyes shall grow bright with their old wonted light,
Our spirits untrammelled by care,
And the Goddess of Hope, with her fresh rainbow tints,
Shall paint every prospect more fair.
 
How sweet were the friendships we formed in thy halls!
How strong were the tendrils that bound
Our hearts to the mother whose provident care
Encompassed her children around!
Now strong in our manhood we cherish her still;
And if by misfortune brought low,
Our strength shall support her, our arms bear her up,
And sustain her through weal and through woe.
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Horatio Alger Jr

Horatio Alger Jr. (; January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was an American writer of young adult novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. His writings were characterized by the "rags-to-riches" narrative, which had a formative effect on the United States during the Gilded Age. All of Alger's juvenile novels share essentially the same theme, known as the "Horatio Alger myth": a teenage boy works hard to escape poverty. Often it is not hard work that rescues the boy from his fate but rather some extraordinary act of bravery or honesty. The boy might return a large sum of lost money or rescue someone from an overturned carriage. This brings the boy—and his plight—to the attention of a wealthy individual. Alger secured his literary niche in 1868 with the publication of his fourth book, Ragged Dick, the story of a poor bootblack's rise to middle-class respectability. This novel was a huge success. His many books that followed were essentially variations on Ragged Dick and featured stock characters: the valiant, hard-working, honest youth; the noble mysterious stranger; the snobbish youth; and the evil, greedy squire. In the 1870s, Alger's fiction was growing stale. His publisher suggested he tour the American West for fresh material to incorporate into his fiction. Alger took a trip to California, but the trip had little effect on his writing: he remained mired in the staid theme of "poor boy makes good." The backdrops of these novels, however, became the American West rather than the urban environments of the northeastern United States. In the last decades of the 19th century, Alger's moral tone coarsened with the change in boys' tastes. The public wanted sensational thrills. The Protestant work ethic was less prevalent in the United States, and violence, murder, and other sensational themes entered Alger's works. Public librarians questioned whether his books should be made available to the young. They were briefly successful, but interest in Alger's novels was renewed in the first decades of the 20th century, and they sold in the thousands. By the time he died in 1899, Alger had published around a hundred volumes. He is buried in Natick, Massachusetts. Since 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans has awarded scholarships and prizes to deserving individuals.  more…

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