BLTC Press Titles

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Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett

Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

Half-hours in southern history

by John Lesslie Hall


A great poet tells us, "The poetry of earth is never dead." This means that the poetical in'life, in the universe, appeals incessantly to humanity, and that, as long as man has sorrows to bemoan and joys to cheer him, the poet will be needed to inspire and console him.

Not all poetry is written in words, and clothed in rhythmical language. If there are, as Shakespeare says, "sermons in stones," there are also poems in places, in great events, and in the great ideas that thrill mankind. There is something thrilling, something too deep for utterance, welling up within us as we look at the "old gateway" and the "ivy-mantled tower," coming down to us as relics of antiquity. He who has no such poetry in his soul, though he may not be quite "fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils," lacks that imagination which givt • to life and to travel "the glory and the freshness of a dream."

With romance and poetry, our Southern past is glorious. Carolina has her Roanoke Island, associated with the name of. Walter Raleigh, whose whole career is wrapped in romantic glamour. It is the glory of the South that this great chevalier and soldier stands in the forefront of her history.

Of Roanoke Island you have read in your histories. Here was made the first English settlement in the New World; and "the lost colony of Roanoke" is the most pathetic romance in our history. The word Croatan carved upon that tree will be the sad enigma of the centuries; and myriads of children yet unborn will wonder whether the settlers were murdered by the savages, died of starvation, or perchance were adopted into some tribe of Indians.

Another sacred shrine is St. Augustine, Florida. All Americans love to visit the old town and look at its ancient gateway. It was on this spbt that the white man made his first permanent settlement in America, and, though the relations between the Spaniards, whose ancestors planted this town, and the race to which we belong have not always been pleasant, we feel a solemn thrill as we think of the time when the great white race to which we both belong first planted a home on this mighty continent.

Still dearer to us of English blood are the ruins of Jamestown. The feelings that stir our hearts as we stand under the shadow of the old tower are too deep for utterance, and we almost beg to be left alone with our awe and our solemn meditation.

Whence those deep feelings, those unutterable emotions? It is the reverence for antiquity, the lofty sentiment that raises us above the brute creation. Misers are not without it; hard-hearted lovers of the "almighty dollar" cannot resist it; and hundreds, if not thousands, of the richest in our land visit that spot every year, tread reverently its sacred sward, read the inscriptions upon its old tombstones, and hear in imagination the echoes of the old bell that used to call the fathers of America to the house of worship.

Dear to every American should be that now deserted island. Proud should Virginians be that they are custodians of that shrine.with its sacred memories; for it was on that spot, on the 13th of May, 1607, that the first permanent English settlement in America was made. There the first English home in America was established; there Reverend Robert Hunt, the first English minister in America, read the new liturgy of the reformed Church of England, and under a spreading canvas, with the green sward of nature as his carpet, "sang the Lord's song in a strange land." Its tower no longer rings with the reverberating peals of holy bells, calling to meditation and to prayen Only the dead are there. All is in ruins. Yet we feel, as we stand in those sacred precincts, that the poet* was right when he said,

"Yes, give me a land that has legends and lays."

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