A SONNET TO SAMUEL HAHNEMANN

Sonnet to Hahnemann

The sonneteer may well distrust his laggard pen,
And loud bewail his paucity and lack of skill ;
His scanty inspiration he may well bemoan,
To fitly picture to the waiting sons of men
The sturdy prowess and indomitable will
That Hahnemann displayed upon the battle-field alone.

Ah, me ! If I could only lift my voice
In such resounding tones as Stentor did,
And make the men across Time’s estuaries hear,
How gladly would I bid them all rejoice
And take new courage for their lives, amid
The lurking dangers that surround them year by year !

How gladly would I tell each hopeful sire and son
The mighty deeds that matchless Hahnemann hath done !

How gladly would I paint in glory of the skies
That dauntless courage and that vision keen and clear
That saw beyond the little round of dying days ;
That in the light of long-drawn centuries there lies
More wisdom than is found in any passing year ;
And hope for human welfare in kindlier ways,
That come with glowing feet across the burning plains
Which lie between the world’s primeval state
And that most fair environment wherein the human race
Shall find surcease from all its racking pains,
And life itself shall yield its regency so late
That staves and white hairs shall be signs of youthful grace ;

And, tangled in and out amid the picture’s tints should run
The record of the deeds this later Hercules hath done.

To-day if I could sing some grand triumphant song,
In which the music of the spheres should blend with sweetness of the nightingale,
And all the roaring thunders of the cataract and sea,
I would lift up my voice and pour it full and strong
In melody and harmony sublime through every vale,
By every mountain side, by every shore and lea
To all the dying sons of men who plead and cry
For succor in the hour when death assails, and they

Lie succorless, and lion-hearted men in anguish bow,
And weeping children lift their tearful faces to the sky
That mocks their terrors till they turn away,
With scowl and frown of dying centuries upon their brow ;
And all the burden of that song of mine should be
The mighty things that Hahnemann hath done for me.

The rolling centuries shall answer one by one
What lofty souls they held in sacred keep and bound,
When light of love was stronger than the light of day,
And none shall answer as the circling cycles run
A greater soul — or one whose love for man was more profound,
Than that which saw the ” King of Terrors ” halted by the way
And questioned of his right to slay mankind at every turn
Of life’s great highway, over which the sons of earth
Must all go up and answer summons for a last account ;
None shall more proudly speak in words that glow and burn,

And say to all mankind, ” Mine was that son of more than mortal worth
Who lately stood upon Transfiguration’s mount
Where all mankind might lift their eyes and see
How like were they of Koethen and of Galilee.”

By Henry W. Roby, M. D.,