Nora Perry (writer)
Nora Perry (1831 – May 13, 1896) was an American poet, journalist, and writer of juvenile stories, and for some years Boston correspondent of the Chicago Tribune. She was born in Dudley, Mass. Her verse is collected in After the Ball (1875), Her Lover's Friend (1879), New Songs and Ballads (1886), Legends and Lyrics (1890). Her fiction, chiefly juvenile, includes The Tragedy of the Unexpected (1880), stories; For a Woman (1885), a novel; A Book of Love Stories (1881); A Flock of Girls and their Friends (1887); The New Year's Call (1903); and many other volumes. These are briskly told and, like her verses, appeal to the sentiment of the broader reading public. The following eulogy on Vasco Nunez de Balboa, first European to see the Pacific Ocean from the isthmus of what is today Panama, exemplifies her poetic style:
BALBOA (probably written 1887/1888)
With restless step of discontent, Day after day he fretting went Along the old accustomed ways That led to easeful length of days.
But far beyond the fragrant shade Of orange groves his glances strayed To where the white horizon line Caught from the sea its silvery shine.
He knew the taste of that salt spray, He knew the wind that blew that way; Ah, once again to mount and ride Upon that pulsing ocean tide,
To find new lands of virgin gold, To wrest them from the savage hold, To conquer with the sword and brain Fresh fields and fair for royal Spain!
This was the dream of wild desire That set his gallant heart on fire, And stirred with feverish discontent That soul for nobler issues meant.
Sometimes his children s laughter brought A thrill that checked his restless thought; Sometimes a voice more tender yet Yould soothe the fever and the fret.
Thus day by day, until one day Came news that in the harbor lay A ship bound outward to explore The treasures of that western shore,
Which bold adventurers as yet Had failed to conquer or forget ; " Yet where they failed, and failing died, My will shall conquer ! " Balboa cried.
But when on Darien s shore he stept, And fast and far his vision swept, Lie saw before him, white and still, The Andes mocking at his will.
Then like a flint he set his face; Let others falter from their place, His hand and foot, his sturdy soul Should seek and gain that distant goal!
With speech like this he fired the land, And gathered to his bold command A troop of twenty score or more, To follow where he led before.
They followed him day after day O'er burning lands where ambushed lay The waiting savage in his lair, And fever poisoned all the air.
But like a sweeping wind of flame A conqueror through all he came; The savage fell beneath his hand, Or led him on to seek the land
That richer yet for golden gain Stretched out beyond the mountain chain. Steep after steep of rough ascent They followed, followed, worn and spent,
Until at length they came to where The last peak lifted near and fair ; Then Balboa turned and waved aside His panting troops. "Rest here," he cried,
"And wait for me." And with a tread Of trembling haste, he quickly sped Along the trackless height, alone To seek, to reach, his mountain throne.
Step after step he mounted swift; The wind blew down a cloudy drift; From some strange source he seemed to hear The music of another sphere.
Step after step; the cloud-winds blew Their blinding mists, then through and through Sun-cleft, they broke, and all alone He stood upon his mountain throne.
Before him spread no paltry lands, To wrest with spoils from savage hands; But, fresh and fair, an unknown world Of mighty sea and shore unfurled
Its wondrous scroll beneath the skies. Ah, what to this the flimsy prize Of gold and lands for which he came With hot ambition s sordid aim!
Silent he stood with streaming eyes In that first moment of surprise, Ihen on the mountain-top he bent, This conqueror of a continent,
In wordless ecstasy of prayer, Forgetting in that moment there, With Nature s God brought face to face, All vainer dreams of pomp and place.
Thus to the world a world was given. Where lesser men had vainly striven, And striving died, this gallant soul, Divinely guided, reached the goal.
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- Works by Nora Perry at Project Gutenberg
- A Flock of Girls and Boys at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Nora Perry in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.