Henry O'Meara Ballads of America

Truth shines the brighter clad in verse.
POPE
Decoration

THE HEROES OF MONTMARTRE

[The birth of the Society of Jesus is traced to the vows made during a solemn visit at dawn, in 1534, of St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, and their seven companions, to the Crypt on Montmartre where Christian France for a thousand years has revered her martyr patron, St. Denys.]
LOOMING o'er Paris, grave Montmartre Heights
   Ages of wondrous deeds and themes recall:
Contests for Europe, strife for homeland rights,
   Pillaging Northman, struggling Rome and Gaul;
France on that Hill of Martyrs saw the doom
   Her soldier.god and her Apostle shared:
Napoleon, glory-crowned, engulfed in gloom;
  Denys confronting calm the fate he dared,
  Gaining in death the grander crown his life prepared.
 
This shrine of lustrous works saw one transcending,
  Outshining still its earthly glories' prime, -
A League for souls, a Heaven-sent Light portending
  Bright victory for millions through all time.
The darksome ante-dawn, a troublous year,
   Finds Clement dying, crushed by Papal care,
Switzer and Briton tempt the mad career
  And barter Faith of old for Esau's share, -
   But this Montmartre Sun lights up the dire despair.
 
Lo! from the shadow Notre Dame at dawn
  Throws down on waking Paris, come ascending
The warrior souls from worldly paths withdrawn,
  Buoyant their way to gray Montmartre wending,
Day-stars to light the mural future's sky,
  Toiling they long must climb -'tis Heaven's plan;
Full soon their lives for God shall fructify,
   And earth's elliptic orbit be the span
  Their toil shall reach, their victory for rescued sman.
 
With aspect martial and august, shines one
   Whose soul of fire was lit to gleam afar, -
Great Don Ignatius Gomez, Spain's blest son,
   Loyola's latest scion, Faith's last star;
Struck by the Power that stayed a Saul, and shook
  Augustine's soul at Milan's school, this man
With Pampeluna's wounds and fame forsook
  Vain war and verse, and benisoned began
   Manresa's mighty Ode, - the theme, God's rights o'er man!
 
Beside him moves a youth whose spirit fountains
  O'erfiowed with saving zeal a heathen strand;
Francis, the child of fair Navarra's mountains,
  "Angel of Indies," loved of every land;
To parched Japan he turned with Heavenly tide,
 
  And washed, withal, her yield of faith's rich ore;
But, like the land to Moses' feet denied,
   Harsh China left him spent on her bleak shore, -
  A wave receding, yet resounding evermore.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

The germ such heroes planted bore the name,
   " Society of Jesus," -bore it far,
With fragrance blessing those who would defame,
   As sandal copse perfume the hands that mar.
Parara's banks record Arcadian days
   When Jesuit Mentors showed what men might be;
Huron and Kaffir, - all recite their praise,
   And all the flowing years in Time's drear sea
   Can never quench their fire or drown their memory.
 
Decoration
NYMPHOEA DEVONIENSIS CONTENTS TO A SISTER OF NOTRE DAME

 

Edited and formatted by Sheldon Brown

updated Wednesday, April 19, 2000
URL: http://sheldonbrown.com/omeara/montmartre.html
Copyright © 2000 Sheldon Brown