John Hay

John Hay

October 8, 1838 - July 1, 1905

 

Esse Quam Videri

by John Hay

The knightly legend of thy shield betrays
The moral of thy life; a forecast wise,
And that large honor that deceit defies,
Inspired thy fathers in the elder days,
Who decked thy scutcheon with that sturdy phrase
To be rather than seem. As eve's red skies
Surpass the morning's rosy prophecies,
Thy life to that proud boast its answer pays.
Scorning thy faith and purpose to defend
The ever-mutable multitude at last
Will hail the power they did not comprehend, --
Thy fame will broaden through the centuries;
As, storm and billowy tumult overpast,
The moon rules calmly o'er the conquered seas.

Source:

Poems
Copyright 1897
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston
 
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