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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

God, Family, and Country: The Poetry of Edgar Guest

I read an Edgar Guest poem today which I hadn't read before. "No Children" is posted on Doug Phillips' blog. Edgar Guest is not as well known as he should be. His poems celebrate all that is good: God, family, and patriotism. I first became acquainted with Guest about four years ago, thanks to the Ambleside Online homeschooling curriculum. "Home and the Baby" is my favorite of his works.

Home and the Baby

Home was never home before,
Till the baby came.
Love no golden jewels wore,
Till the baby came.
There was joy, but now it seems
Dreams were not the rosy dreams,
Sunbeams not such golden beams--
Till the baby came.

Home was never really gay,
Till the baby came.
I'd forgotten how to play,
Till the baby came.
Smiles were never half so bright,
Troubles never half so light,
Worry never took to flight,
Till the baby came.

Home was never half so blest,
Till the baby came.
Lacking something that was best,
Till the baby came.
Kisses were not half so sweet,
Love not really so complete,
Joy had never found our street
Till the baby came.
I also love "Treasures," "Sermons We See," "Good Books," "As We Prayed," "A Child of Mine," "What a Baby Costs."

You can read even more of Edgar Guest's poems here and here.

Lastly, I'll leave you with "No Better Land Than This," a very patriotic poem from an English-born member of the Press. Could such a man write such a poem in this day and age? I especially enjoy the last stanza.

If I knew a better country in this glorious world today
Where a man's work hours are shorter and he's drawing bigger pay,
If the Briton or the Frenchman had an easier life than mine,
I'd pack my goods this minute and I'd sail across the brine.
But I notice when an alien wants a land of hope and cheer,
And a future for his children, he comes out and settles here.

Here's the glorious land of Freedom! Here's the milk and honey goal
For the peasant out of Russia, for the long-subjected Pole.
It is here the sons of Italy and men of Austria turn
For the comfort of their bodies and the wages they can earn.
And with all that men complain of, and with all that goes amiss,
There's no happier, better nation on the world's broad face than this.

So I'm thinking when I listen to the wails of discontent,
And some foreign disbeliever spreads his evil sentiment,
That the breed of hate and envy that is sowing sin and shame
In this glorious land of Freedom should go back from whence it came.
And I hold it is the duty, rich or poor, of every man
Who enjoys this country's bounty to be all American.


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