Publication information

Songs of the Average Man
Source type: book
Document type: poem
Document title: “Ode”
Author(s): Foss, Sam Walter
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Co.
Place of publication: Boston, Massachusetts
Year of publication: 1907
Pagination: 150-52

Foss, Sam Walter. “Ode.” Songs of the Average Man. Boston: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1907: pp. 150-52.
full text
William McKinley (poetry).
Named persons
William McKinley.
From title page: By Sam Walter Foss, Author of “Back Country Poems,” “Whiffs from Wild Meadows,” “Dreams in Homespun,” and “Songs of War and Peace.”



LET us sing the song of a man,
     A man who was made of the clay
     And built of the stuff of to-day:
A man who came up from the throng,
Came up from the weak and was strong
     And sweet as the breath of the hay.
Not the chief of a people we sing,
     Nor the head of a caste or a clan,
But a kinglier man than a king—
     Let us sing the Song of a Man.

Let us sing the Song of a Man.
     One raised to a mighty estate
     And crowned as the darling of fate,
Who was ever too good to be weak,
Who was never too high to be meek,
     And was never too proud to be great.
A leader of men without pride,
     Who loved not his place in the van,
But who led men and marched by their side—
     Let us sing the Song of a Man. [150][151]

The iron-faced captains of fate,
     The strong sons of power who drill
     And wrench the whole world to their will,
Who tread down opposers and climb
O’er the dead to the summits of time,
     Till the earth, sick with battles, is still,—
Not of such was the man that we sing;
     Yet we deem him as strong and as great
As was ever a blood-drunken king,
     Or the iron-faced captains of fate.

He sent forth the thunders of war
     Where the rights of mankind were denied;
     He sent forth the Navies of Pride
To frighten the seas with their flame
And the isles with the fear of his name,—
     This man who loved peace as a bride.
We followed the lead of the mild
     As the lead of a calm-shining star,
When this man with the heart of a child
     Sent forth all the thunders of war.

Let us sing the Song of a Soul
     That was sent up too early to God,
     And torn like a flower from the sod,
Torn up in its fulness [sic] of bloom,
In the height of its perfect perfume
     As a weed is torn up from the clod. [151][152]
But the soul does not die with the breath
     But mounts, so we dream, to its goal,—
And his soul shines the brighter through death—
     Let us sing the Song of a Soul.

Let us sing the Song of a Man.
     The years and the centuries fly
     And princes and presidents die;
And the years shall resound with the tones
Of the crashing of overturned thrones,
     As the footsteps of doom thunder by.
But a man is more than a throne,
     Is more than a king or a khan,—
Leave this man with his manhood alone,—
     Let us sing the Song of a Man.