xt79w08w9v6k https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt79w08w9v6k/data/mets.xml Sherley, George Douglass. 1916  books b92-261-31826241 English J.M. Byrnes, : Lexington, Ky. : This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed.  Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically.  Physical rights are retained by the owning repository.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.  For information about permissions to reproduce or publish, contact the Special Collections Research Center. Riley, James Whitcomb, 1849-1916. Spray of Kentucky pine  : placed at the feet of the dead poet, James Whitcomb Riley / by the hand of the man from down on the farm, George Douglass Sherley. text Spray of Kentucky pine  : placed at the feet of the dead poet, James Whitcomb Riley / by the hand of the man from down on the farm, George Douglass Sherley. 1916 2002 true xt79w08w9v6k section xt79w08w9v6k 







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By George Douglass Sherley-1916
Edition-Limited-500
Second Edition














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                  To The Dead:
                      Reverently Inscribed
                        -- To The Indiana-Born
                             World-Wide PNet -
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                  To The Living:
                     Also Lovingly Inscribed
                        By The Man From   L)owi
                          On The Farm ITo 11:,
                             Dear Lady Here O.n The
                                Banks Of Wolf Rurn
                                - His Mother -
                                     In .rateful Commemoration
                                       Of Her Eighty-Fifth Birthday
                                          August 20, 1916

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            -  A   Ntlc iExpluttaturt -


lufi l .anci flrtslt wlst
somne years ago, This Manl I-'rom Dlown (On The F"arma,
ii ade a Reading [4)T1r, of-ill Pop Alation  n ore than
one-half of this Implerial l'epublic, iicliudilng"
the Gream of the Canadian Provinces.
Of that Tour, at some other time, ill some minue
leisurely hour, he desires, if able, to riiake
a full and faithful Record.
'liis, is but an humble Spray of Kentucky Pine,
placed at the feet of the Dead Poet!
A CCORDING to a long established CtIstomi,
     the Man, in some way, in private print -
  for the Relative, for the Friend, for the Stranger too -
quietly Celebrates the various Red-Letter Days, of the
Dear Lady Here, On the Banks of Wolf Run--his Mother!
Her full Restoration, to her usual Good Health,
is a Source of much Joy, and the cause of much Gratitude.
The many Prayers made for her Recovery must have been of
much avail before the Great White Throne, of Infinite Mercy!
He is also deeply Grateful, that the nearness of her
Eighty-Fifth Birthday, makes it possible for him,
to make an Inscription Two-fold, for the [lead,
for the Living  for the Dear Poet, for the Beloved Mother!
The linking of their names together, under this Spray of
Kemntucky Pine --culled by a hand most loving-is like
unto finding the other half of a broken Chord, in soeie
Prelude Elusive; for James Whitcomb Riley, deeply
endeared himself, to the [lear Lady Here, while he and
her son, were a long while away, on their Reading Tour.
Out of sheer Kindliness, out of Goodness of Heart, he often
wrote to her, delightful Letters of Good Cheer, filled with
a charming detail, with more than a tritle of over-Praise;
all of which, is most acceptable, to the heart of a too fond mother.
Recently, from his Winter Home in the South-land, he sent to
her, in response to one of these Farm Bubbles, a little
Bit of unpublished Verse, written before his hand had
failed him, reproduced for her--and others-inl fitc-siuntle.
jIRAY deem it not, all too presumptuous, this humble
V Spray of Kentucky Pine!
It serves as a Reverent Tribute to the One!
As a Loving Commemoration to the Other!

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                     Clhr Altttrlubr

      -iliiiii    WiuttL Wrrltratu5 AuiA    A   B1ra -

            I.
When the word came that
James Whitcomb Riley was Dead
this Tetegram was sent to a near
RelIative an astute Man of Affairs
who with the Head of a Great Pthlishim'
House a Prime Favorite fromn
his early Boyhood of the Poe!t held
his well-pl.ced Confidence in all
matters con-erning the necessary
mnaterial Things of Life.

lHE mightiest Monarch of the Indiana Forest
     lies prone upon his Native Soil!
This Man From Down On The Farm,
Ileverently, sends this humble Spray of Kentucky Pine,
as a Symbol, ever-green, of his Lasting Love, for the Dead Poet:
as a Symbol, made manifest, of his deep Sympathy,
for You, for Yours.

            II.
This Message was wired to . most
Gcnrtle Lady who had meant
so ninch in so many ways to
J.ames Whitcomb Riley
appealing as she did to the Best
to the Highest in his Nature anid wh
was indeed a Mininistering Ange l
when Pain and Anguish' wr-ng
his brow, racked his trait body
where ingered its Tenant
his lmmortaJ Soul!

or;ENDERLY, Lovingly, let the Fair Elaine cherish
    the Shield Invincible of her Sir Launcelot!
Some D)ay-Some Glad Day- she too, will go upward
with the Flood, in the Dark Barge, decked with Flowers:
clasping in her Beautiful Hand of Gentle Service,
the Lily of Fidelity; floating with the Mystic
Tide, to meet again--at Towered Camelot --
-her Gallant, her Waiting Knight!
For Love shares with the Soul its Precious Immortality!

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                           III.



  - CUoC (ir z a rPitinrti eni Clir 3utiznatr Nriruibi of
                3lamr;I        titui lr Bilrt -

j ET Lockerbie St reet, in its Lovely Brevity,
     he held if youl will --as a Perpetual Reservation
for the Children of your Great, your Growing City.
holding the House, which for many years was the
HIapp)y Home of the Poet, as a Sacred Shrine.
Let your fine Civic Building, now rising in its
Majesty like the Towers of Illion --made possible
by his Generous (Gift of the Site, made Glorious
by the touch of his hand, on its Great Cornerstone:
let it if you will- -proudly hear his Name.
Let either one, or both, of these Noble Things
be done, for the sake of his memory.
Let this, that, or any other form of a Memorial wait upnu
the wisdom of your Choice; but no matter what is dlone:
how much is done; or how it is done: there is one Thing
which ought not to be left undone.
Every tender, slender needle, rising out of its
Globular Greenness, in this humble Spray of Kentucky Pine.
harbors this One Thought, this Single Plea!
This is the Plea:

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VAr Aamers 391iftrantl Cilrp,
skillfully cast in Bronze, simply clad in the plain
blue garb of a Union Soldier Lad a Private-
let him stand for all Time, in your circle, in the Centre,
iii the Heart of your City, the beloved City of his adoption.
Let him stand there, under the shadow of that
Mlighty Shaft, the Tribute of your Grand Commonwealth,
tot her Valiant Sons --the Soldier, the Sailor.
Let him stand there, on a one-piece Pedestal
of Indiana Stone; Simple, Massive.
Thereon carve his Name, the date of his Birth;
the date of his Death; and these Immortal words:

        "Well. (filtobby, Atim:
                Clake irtr of Iviuirr'!f-
Read, re-read, and read again, the Poem.
That Poem is an American Classic!
It is the Epitome of Self-Sacrifice
for the Sake of a Vital Cause!
It is the one Idyl of the Middle-West!
It is thoroughly America!
It is intensely Indiana!
Pardon the Piea!
But Prepare the Way!
Turn the Page-read the Poem!

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             put p1hrm

  ,LD man never had much to say
     'Ceptin' to Jim, -
And Jim was the wildest boy he had
  And the old man jes' wrapped up in him!
Never heerd him speak hut once
Er twice in my life, -and first time was
When the army broke out, and Jim he went,
Thie old man backin' him, fer three months;
And all 'at I heerd the old man say
Was jes' as we turned to start away,--
  "Well, good-by. Jim:
    Take keer of yourse'f!"

'Peared-like, he was more satisfied
Jes' lookin' at Jim
And likin' him all to hisse'f-like, see!
  'Cause he was jes' wrapped up in him!
And over and over I mind the day
The old man come and stood round in Lie way
While we was drillin', a-watchin' Jim-
And down at the deepot a-heerin' him say,
  'Well, good-by, Jim:
    Take keer of yourse'f!

Never was nothin' about the lra rt
Disting'ished Jim;
Neighbors all ust to wonder why
The old man 'peered wrapped up in him:
But when Cap. Biggler he writ back
'At Jim was the bravest boy we had
In the whole dern rigiment, white er black.
And his fighten' good as his farmin' bad-
'At he had led, with a bullet clean
Bored through his thigh, and carried the flag
Through the bloodiest battle you ever seen,
The old man wound up a letter to him
'At Cat). read to us, 'at said: "Tell Jim
   Good-by,
     And take keer of hisse'f !"

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Jim come home jes' long enough
  To take the whim
'At he'd like to go back in the calvery-
  And the old man jes' wrapped up in him!
Jhn 'lowed 'at he'd had sich luck afore,
(uessed he'd tackle her three years more.
And the old man give him a colt he'd raised,
And follered him over to Camp Ben Wade,
And laid around fer a week er so,
Watchin' Jim on dress-parade
Tel finally he rid away,
And last he heerd was the old man say,-
  "Well, good-by, Jim:
     Take keer of yourse'f !"

Tuk the papers, the old man did,
  A-watchin' fer Jim-
Fully believin' he'd make his mark
  Some way-jes' wrapped up in him!-
And many a time the word 'u'd come
'At stirred him up like the tap of a drum-
At Petersburg, fer instunce, where
Jim rid right into their cannons there,
And thk 'em. and p'inted 'em t'other way,
And socked it home to the boys in gray,
As they scooted fer timber, and on and on--
Jim a lieutenant and one arm gone,
And the old man's words in his mind all day,
  "Well, good-by, Jim:
     Take keer of yourse'f !"

Think of a private, now, perhaps,
  We'll say like Jim,
'At's dumb clean up to the shoulder-straps
  And the old man jes' wrapped up in him!
Think of him- with the war plun' through.
And the glorious old Red-White-and-Blue
A-laughin' the news down over Jim,
And the old man bendin' over him--
The surgeon turin' away with tears
'At hadn't leaked for years and years,
As the hand of the dyin' boy clung to
His father's, the old voice in his ears,--
  -Well, good-by, Jim:
     Take keer of yourse'f!"

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              I       -1

    W3ame   Whtomal (Cirw           ltlfl     Ett

This Man From Down On The Farm- -one-while
your constant Companion, in work most
Congenial, all-while your Faithful Friend  rejoices.
and is exceeding Glad, That All Is Well With You!
For no one knew, better than you,
the Wisdom, the Beauty, of Death!
No one the more fully realized
the Folly, the Futility, of human Grief!
You firmly believed, that he, who follows The Christ:
that he, who, in all Humility, bears the Cross; that
he, who, in all Gratitude, wears upon his unworthy brow.
the imprint of the Kiss Divine! - the Kiss of Forgivenets
Complete you firmly believed. that he ought to be
brave enough, strong enough, to meet the Call,
whensoever, wheresoever, it may chance to come.
You firmly believed that the Call always
comes at the Right Moment: that Incompletio)n
Here, finds its Completement There; that every
human Life holds--like the lPalace of Aladdin its
unfinished Window; that the finite mind(,
hampered by its mortality, is a clog to an.
Completion, to any Earthly Perfection.
TIherefore, feeling, believing, as you did 11In
now knowing, as you must kkimv There.
this Man rejoices, and is exceeeding Glad.
That All Is Well With You!

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e3at lumrs Whitromb 11ilrit
Your Nature-on the surface-was
Simple, Honest, Open, Direct.
It was all of that but-it was More!
It was deeper than Tears!
It was wider than Laughter!
It was more profound, more subtle,
than either your spoken Word,
or, your written, your printed Thought.
You were infinitely better than the
Very Best that you ever did!
High Praise, but True!
Your nature was strangely Complex:
     There was the Man!
           There was the Poet!
                 There was the Mystic!
The Man could be known -and was of all men.
The Poet could be read as he was--and he understood.
fie could Sing --as he did--Songs
whith caught the Hearts of the
People--from the Cradle to the Grave!
The Mystie

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(19! Alamrs 14itromb Kileg!
That Mystic Element in your Nature!
It was held under a Strong Curb;
It was constantly held in Check;
But it was never Overcome!
It was a Mood-not a Madness.
It seldom made an Outward Sign.
Then, it was brief, spasmodic, eratic.
It was known to but few, even of those
who came with you, in constant contact.
To this Man, that Mystic Element in your Nature.
made a most wonderful Appeal, deep, strong.
To him, it was the real C1amfns Whitianid Rilry!
You were a Mystic, but never a Reformer.
You cheerfully rendered unto Ceasar all things
that were his just due.
You had no desire to overturn Natural Law,
Human Regulation.
You accepted, without q uestion, the Estal)lished
Order of Things.
But so strong was this touch of the Mystic
that. it you had desired, you could have,
quickly, thickly, populated some far off Smiling Isle,
of the Fair Summer Seas, with a Band of
Cultured Men, of Cultured Women, ready,
eager, to follow you-that Mystic You! - - into
the Creation of a New Cult, of a New Religion!
In your Poems there is but a trickle of the Mystic
- a flash a dash-as the falling of a Star!
That Edgar Allen Poe Episode. is the Answer.
You were unduly humiliated by that Incident
-and it was but as Nothing!
Bult your Super-Sensitiveness, made you Sutfer!

(ID! Aalmrs Whlitramb Kileg!
r)eath, hath yet other Compensations!
It has placed you Beyond the Cloy of Fulsome Praise:
I'Lvond the Sting, of Cruel Blame; the One,
may not help You the Other. cannot hurt You!

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09! 'latrsi bitldomlu Ciro!
Once, when under the Spell of a Mystic Mood,
you sought-as you had often sought before- that
Wise Wizard of White River.
He met you, when you came into that Peaceful
Indiana Valley where dwells this Wizard -by the
Flowing Fountain of those Healing Waters.
lie knew your need; he spoke no unnecessary word,
he quickly set his place in order, and was ready
to go with you - anywhere.
There had been, on your arrival, a clamor to havo
you Read that afternoon-but the Wizard
quietly slipped you away.
Out into the Open you drove, in an old Barouche,
behind a Pair of Good Horses.
It was a long Drive; it was a beautiful Drive.
It was driven in Silence.
After several hours-the spell was still upon you-a
sharp turn brought you to the Banks of White River;
and there--under a Clump of the Sycamore, of the
Willow, in a deep, Shady Pool, an Eddy, undisturbed
by the current of the broad, shallow Stream-a
Batch of Boys, swimming, chattering, diving.
"Stop" you said to the driver; "Come here" you called to the Lads.
They came trooping, dripping, out of the Pool.
A change came over you; flinging off your coat,
your hat, you arose to your feet.
There they stood before you, naked, unabashed, curious.
A complacent smile, flickered across the bearded
face of the Wise Wizard. He must have known!
He must have timed your arrival at that particular
spot, at that particular moment.
But even the Wizard could not have known what was to follow.
Without a word of explanation, you gave them, that
crowd of naked Boys-gave it, as you had never
given it before, doubtless, as you never
gave it again-your

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                    "-IL) ftllimmtin' walv''

   H! the old swimmin' holel whare the crick so still and deep
     Looked like a baby-river that was laying half asleep,
And the gurgle of the worter round the drift jest below
Sounded like the laugh of something we onc't ust to know
Before we could remember anything but the eyes
Of the angels lookin' out as we left Paradise;
But the merry days of youth is beyond our controle,
And its hard to part ferever with the old swimmin'-hole.

Oh! the old swimmin'-hole! In the happy days of yore,
When I ust to lean above it on the old sickamore,
Ohl it showed me a face in its warm sunny tide
That gazed back at me so gay and glorified,
It made me love myself, as I leaped to caress
My shadder smilin' up at me with sich tenderness.
But them days is past and gone, and old Time's tuck his toll
From the old man come back to the old swimmin'-hole.

Ohl the old swimmin'-hole! In the long, lazy days
When the humdrum of school made so many run-a-ways,
How plesant was the jurney down the old dusty lane,
Whare the tracks of our bare feet was all printed so plane
You could tell by the dent of the heel and the sole
They was lot o' fun on hands at the old swimmin'-hole.
But the lost joys is past! Let your tears in sorrow roll
Like the rain that ust to dapple up the old swimmin'-hole.

Thare the bullrushes growed, and the cattails so tall.
And the sunshine and shadder fell over it all;
And it mottled the worter with amber and gold
Tel the glad lilies rocked in the ripples that rolled;
And the snake-feeder's four gauzy wings fluttered by
Like the ghost of a daisy dropped out of the sky,
Or a wownded apple-blossom in the breeze's control.
As it cut acrost some orchurd to'rds the old swimmin'-hole.

Oh! the old swimmin'-hole! When I last saw the place,
The scenes was all changed, like the change in my face;
The bridge of the railroad now crosses the spot
Whare the old divin'-log lays sunk and fergot.
And I stray down the banks whare the trees ust to be-
But never again will theyr shade shelter me!
And I wish in my sorrow I could strip to the soul,
And dive off in my grave like the old swimmin'-hole.

       Their little jaws dropped!
              Their little eyes distended!
                    Their little ears stood erect!

They fairly bristled with an intense attention.
You said the last word, of the last line.
Then-absolute, unbroken-Silence!
Finally but without another word-you reached
down, patted the youngest one on his wet curly Locks.

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The Wizard whispered to the driver "Go."
As the team, in a brisk trot, started away,
you, still standing, coatless, hatless, waved your
hand-in that quick little jerky fashion peculiar
to you-to those little naked Urchins.
With a mighty Shout, they ran back to the Pool,
and gave a rapid-firing Exhibition of the Single
Dive; the Double Dive; and one--a dare-devil--the Triple I)ive!
What a Memory, what a Priceless Memory, you must
have given those Boys of Martinsville, that Ideal
Summer Afternoon, in the Long While Ago!
Martinsville! To you of Blessed Memory!
For the sake of an early, enduring, Friendship,
did you not encrust one Jap Miller of
Martinsville with no mean verse
And did it not run something like this'

Jap Miller down at Martinsville's the blamedest feller yit!
When Iu starts in a-talkin' other folks is apt to quill-
'Pears like that mouth o' hais'n waazn't made fer nothin' else
B.lt jes' to argify 'em down and gether in their pelts:
He'll talk you down on tariff; er he'll talk you down on tax,
And prove the pore man pays 'em all and them's about the (ac's!
Religen, law, er politics, prize-fightin', er base-hall -
des' tetch Jap up a little and he'll post you 'bout 'em all.

W'y. that-air blame Jap Miller, with his keen sarcastic fun,
Has got more friends than ary candidate 'at ever run!
Don't matter what hi. views is, when he states the same to you,
They atlus coincide with your'n, the same as two and two:
Yo u     take issue with him  -r. at least, they haint no sense
In slartin' in to down him, so you better not commence.-
The best way 's jes' to listen, like your humble servant does,
And jes' concede Jdp Miller is the best man ever wuz!

(O N THE drive back to the little Station, you were
      the Man, the Poet, but not the Mystic!
You delighted the Wizard with your genial
flow of Verse, of Story.
When the watchful Wizard, smuggled you aboard
your train-with privacy unbroken-you, like
King Saul, returned to your People, refreshed in body,
restored in mind; for had not the Wizard done for you,
as David did for Saul, for had not he brought Peace
to your no longer Troubled Soul
Did he not say to you, in parting, "All Is Well With You'"

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(e! Aamrsi Whitromb B-ile"!
It is late in the Afternoon, of a Perfect Summer D)ay.
This Man From Down On The Farm.
is standing on the Banks Of Wolf Run.
He is thinking of You!
Joyfully, not Regretfully!
A Pastoral Scene stretches before him-
a Scene of much Beauty!
The Cattle stand, not "knee-deep in June"
but well into the pure rippling Waters of an August
Wolf Run, under the dense shade overhead, where
arching branches inter-lock, casting a net-work
of shifting Shadows on the bosom of the Peaceful
Waters, which seem to murmer, as they
flow, your Name-Joyfully, not Mournfully!
       Janten Wihitrontrn   Witnjt!
             .1anturs Whlitroulth Ailry!!
                    ialmrsi Whitrtoulth Cilry!
Smiling, undulating, across the Creek.
a Blue Grass Meadow gently rolls away,
toward the White, the Winding Pike:
Each Blade of Blue Grass -Joyfully,
not Tearfully --seems to whisper your Name:
       Alamxrsi Whtitrombzue iletc
              Amesntf Wtitrouth Eilrt!!
                    31atl1mr Whllitcombl Wilriet!

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MUT Hark! The belated Song of a Mocking Bird --
     its Vesper Song--to its enraptured Mate!
This, the Glad Song:

Xv bolt Atlmrs 1litromb Kdlrq!
The World was full of Roses!
Every Rose held hidden, within its Tremulous Heart. a
Slender Crystal Chalice of Perfumed Dew, which,
overflowing, spilled its Prodigal Sweetness,
onto the Earth, into the Air,
SNor bou iiAamrst 14ittomb tlriy!
- For You, and for All Humanity!
And this, the Joyful Refrain:
-- Joy, without Regret!
       Joy, without Mourning!
           Joy, without Tears!---
-A Refrain which readily, willingly,
finds Grateful Echo in the Heart of
This Man From Down On The Farm!

      40 anlrs '04itrouth itilfly!
          All 3hi VIM1 With DOW
               Aill 31i HIMl iuit !IU!
                     AU1 35 Bellt Iflit liou!
                        (9! 31autro  1( 3itrani illi!
                           -Nll 31i Wlrit llit4 Paut!
                                 (10! 3 autroi lilitrunth Cilep!

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                       1ustlubct

   Which ought to have been The Prelude to
this Spray of Kentucky Pine.
Because it was written, published, a little more than a year
before the Death of the Poet.
Therefore, it was a Tribute to him, Living!

Promethean Poet was there. He had touched the
      Heavenily flamie; he had tasted the Waters of
Inspiration; he had drained the Crystal Cup of Fancy,
finding therein neither Lees nor Dregs, which
bite the tongue, stifle the song, of lesser Men; he had
reverently kissed the coy hand of Fame, when she had
crowned his Worthy Brow, with her Wreath Immortal!
His Poems, homely, simple, sweet-springing from the lap of
Nature-had spread, like wild-fire of the Forest,
into the Four Quarters of the Globe.
He came from the Land, across the River, where, in
these latter days, the People quit the planting of the Potato,
to pen a Poem; pause in the cultivation of the Corn, to
compose a Novel. Some of it is good, very good; Some
of it is bad, very bad: but all of it produces
a princely Revenue far in excess of any return
from either the Potato or the Corn.
Long, before the avalanche-like advent of this State -
wide Literary Madness, the Star of this Poet had risen
risen before, and still shines beyond, and above them all.
The hand which wrote "Goodbye, Jim"-not classical
in either Greek or Roman sense, yet a great
American Classic -with its pungent odor of Blue Jeans, with
its clean, sweet, clear-cut. fine smell, of its native soil
that hand may never again hold the Len; the man
himself, may crumble-God forbid!--back into the D)ust--
that "Little Dust of Harm"-out of which he came;
but his Poems will not, cannot die.
When those other Writers will have been forgotten;
when even the gifted Maker of "Ben Hur" will be, but
as an empty name; even then, this Poet,
and his Poems, will cleave to the Mind, cling to the
Heart, of countless Generations, not yet born!

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