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Lines Composed for the Opening of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection

It is a portent full of hope
That in this time of doubt and terror,
When men as well as nations grope,
The muddled and the misanthrope
May see, as in an ancient mirror,
The dark familiar face of error.
 
Here past all peradventure burn
The eyes that looked on heaven and hell,
Saw pride, ambition, glory turn
To ashes in a little urn;
Here glow the lineaments that tell
The stubborn startling parallel.
 
As though 'twere written on a page
For men of heart and mind to read,
Behold, the great ghost of our age,
O statesman, merchant, soldier, sage:
The story of this noble breed
Ponder and, while there's time, take heed.
 
The proud occasions come and go,
The triumphs go, the questions come,
The roar of chaos and the slow
Toll of the truths we feared to know,
Albeit there were always some
That knew, as in Byzantium.