Fame Poem

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

To Fame.

Although adored

‘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.