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Diana of the Hunt
All can see, in the shining places,
Vestiges of her classic graces;
Where her footsteps, fleet and stark,
Have beautifully embossed the dark.
We know indeed, that the stately and golden
Antlers, hunters and heroes olden,
Wood-nymph, satyr, and sylvan faun.—
Goddess and stag, are gone!—all gone!
But still,—as strange as it may appear,—
Sometimes when the nights are bright and clear,
The long-breathed hounds are heard to bay
Over the hills and far away!
And lovers who walk at Love’s high Noon,
See something flash in the light of the moon,
As a shining stag swept through the sky,
And the chase of the goddess were up, on high.
But be this as it may, in sooth,
It is only in the pursuit of Truth,
That the Soul shall overtake and possess
The most exalted Happiness.
Forceythe Willson was born in Little Genesee, New York, in 1837. “The Old Sergeant” became his most famous poem and was praised by notable figures like Abraham Lincoln and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Willson died in Alfred, New York, in 1867.