Orleans County Poetry
The following was written by Abba L. Richmond, of Brownington, Vermont, a student at the Orleans County Grammar School in 1856. This is taken from the Chip Basket, the school literary paper.
O, earthly Fame! the ruling god of man
Who so untiring courts thy subtle smiles,
And bending worships at thy blood-stained shrine.
Thou art a vapor, yet the ruling power
of rich fame. He for this object aims
And reaches, strives and toils, to write his name
With flaming characters and living deeds,
Upon the glittering, glorious page
Of earthly fame.
‘Tis past the hour of midnight;
Yet the student sits by his low burned lamp.
And strains his weary eyes to catch the gleam
Of some new gem within the crystal fount,
Till overcome by his uncessing toil.
Sleep woos him on with her enchanting spell;
But even then his high born purpose rules,
And in his troubled sleep he dreams of Fame.
‘Tis this with man. Fame guides him in all spheres.
He for his leading star e’er chooses Fame.
The priase of men, vain glory of the world,
As his great aim of life.
All seek to win her smile.
In haste the soldier mounts his fiery steed,
And heedless of his danger hurries on
Amidst the cannon’s roar and clash of swords;
Through the disordered ranks he cuts his way;
One thought alone inspires his soul. ‘Ts fame;
And with that strife, with daring deeds he wins
The envied wreath. But lo! ’tis stained with blood;
The looked for crown in ained, but it hath cost
A life; aye, even more, a living spark,
A soul immortal, yields a sacrifice
‘Tis but the sounding echo of a name-
The voice that tells of some dishonored deed-
The breath of flattery. And this is earthly fame
But vain man, know the secret of true fame!
Ah, dost thou ask its name? its crown the goal
of worthy fame? that in the diadem
of peace eternally will shine? that on
Life’ zephyr flosts and in the distance claims
Its prize? Aye, ask you what it is? ‘Tis Death
If virtue guides thee there.