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 Father Abram Ryan 
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New post Father Abram Ryan
For those of you who haven't read any of Fr. Ryan’s works you are missing out. He was a Priest during the Civil War and was given the title "The Priest of The Confederacy". I was fortunate to obtain an original copy of Fr. Ryan’s poems published in 1897 for only 18.00 dollars. I would like to share a couple pieces with the forum for I feel that they would be much appreciated.

Quote:
A Childs Wish Before An Altar



I wish I were the little key
That locks Love's Captive in,
And lets Him out to go and free
A sinful heart from sin.


I wish I were the little bell
That tinkles for the Host,
When God comes down each day to dwell
With hearts He loves the most.


I wish I were the chalice fair,
That holds the Blood of Love,
When every flash lights holy prayer
Upon its way above.


I wish I were the little flower
So near the Host's sweet face,
Or like the light that half an hour
Burns on the shrine of grace.


I wish I were the altar where,
As on His mother's breast,
Christ nestles, like a child, fore'er
In Eucharistic rest.


But, oh! my God, I wish the most
That my poor heart may be
A home all holy for each Host
That comes in love to me.


Last edited by BenCW on Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:11 am
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Quote:
Feast of the Sacred Heart


Two lights on a lowly altar;
Two snowy cloths for a Feast;
Two vases of dying roses;
The morning comes from the east,
With a gleam for the folds of the vestments
And a grace for the face of the priest.


The sound of a low, sweet whisper
Floats over a little bread,
And trembles around a chalice,
And the priest bows down his head!
O'er a sign of white on the altar --
In the cup -- o'er a sign of red.


As red as the red of roses,
As white as the white of snows!
But the red is a red of a surface
Beneath which a God's blood flows;
And the white is the white of a sunlight
Within which a God's flesh glows.


Ah! words of the olden Thursday!
Ye come from the far-away!
Ye bring us the Friday's victim
In His own love's olden way;
In the hand of the priest at the altar
His Heart finds a home each day.


The sight of a Host uplifted!
The silver-sound of a bell!
The gleam of a golden chalice.
Be glad, sad heart! 'tis well;
He made, and He keeps love's promise,
With thee all days to dwell.


From his hand to his lips that tremble,
From his lips to his heart a-thrill,
Goes the little Host on its love-path,
Still doing the Father's will;
And over the rim of the chalice
The blood flows forth to fill


The heart of the man anointed
With the waves of a wondrous grace;
A silence falls on the altar --
An awe on each bended face --
For the Heart that bled on Calvary
Still beats in the holy place.


The priest comes down to the railing
Where brows are bowed in prayer;
In the tender clasp of his fingers
A Host lies pure and fair,
And the hearts of Christ and the Christian
Meet there -- and only there!


Oh! love that is deep and deathless!
Oh! faith that is strong and grand!
Oh! hope that will shine forever,
O'er the wastes of a weary land!
Christ's Heart finds an earthly heaven
In the palm of the priest's pure hand.


Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:12 am
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Quote:
Good Friday


O Heart of Three-in-the evening,
You nestled the thorn-crowned head;
He leaned on you in His sorrow,
And rested on you when dead.


Ah! Holy Three-in-the evening
He gave you His richest dower;
He met you afar on Calvary,
And made you "His own last hour".


O Brow of Three-in-the evening,
Thou wearest a crimson crown;
Thou art Priest of the hours forever,
And thy voice, as thou goest down


The cycles of time, still murmurs
The story of love each day:
"I held in death the Eternal,
In the long and the far-away."


O Heart of Three-in-the evening,
Mine beats with thine to-day;
Thou tellest the olden story,
I kneel -- and I weep and pray.


- - - -
Boulogne, sur mer.


Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:14 am
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New post Re: Father Abraham Ryan
We are privileged. Thank you so very much, Ben.

_________________
In Christ our King.


Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:16 am
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Father Abram Ryan was known as the poet-priest of the South. Abram Ryan was born in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 15, 1838, August 5, 1838, or August 15, 1839. His parents, Matthew Ryan and Mary Coughlin, were Irish immigrants. Abram was raised and educated at Christian Brothers School. After studying priesthood at Niagra University in New York State, he attended the Our Lady of Angles Seminary. He was ordained just before the beginning of the Civil War, and entered the Confederate army as a chaplain. He served in this capacity until the end of the war, delivering sacraments to the soldiers on both sides. In the hour of defeat he won the heart of the entire South by his poem, "The Conquered Banner," in which exquisite measure was taken, as he told a friend, from one of the Gregorian hymns.

"The Conquered Banner" was read or sung in every Southern household, and thus became the apotheosis of the "Lost Cause". While much of his later war poetry was notable in its time, this first effort, which fixed his fame, was his finest production. The only other themes upon which he sang were those inspired by religious feeling. Among his poems of that class are to be found bits of the most exquisite imagery. Within the limits of the Southern Confederacy and the Catholic Church in the United States, no poet was more popular. After the war he exercised a ministry in New Orleans, and was editor of "The Star," a Catholic weekly. He later founded "The Banner of the South" in Augusta, Georgia, a religious and political weekly.

In 1880 he lectured in several Northern cities. As a pulpit orator and lecturer, he was always interesting and occasionally brilliant. As a man he had a subtle, fascinating nature, full of magnetism when he saw fit to exert it. As a priest, he was full of tenderness, gentleness, and courage. In the midst of pestilence he had no fear of death or disease. Even when he was young his feeble body gave him the appearance of age, and with all this there was the dreamy mysticism of the poet so manifest in the flesh as to impart to his personality something which marked him off from all other men. His book, "Poems, Patriotic, Religious, and Miscellaneous", have had dozens of printings.

He died in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 22, 1886, a poet, a patriot, and a Catholic priest. In the introduction of a poetry book, published 1897, says:

'So distinguished a character and so brilliant a man cannot be passed over lightly, or dealt with sparingly...for Abram Ryan's fame is the inheritance of a great and enlightened Nation, and his writings have passed into history to emblazon its pages and enrich its history.'


Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:24 am
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Quote:
Fifty Years At The Altar: "To Rev. Father E. Sourin, S.J., from A. J. Ryan; first, in memory of
some happy hours passed in his company at Loyola College, Baltimore;
next, in appreciation of a character of strange beautifulness,
known of God, but hidden from men; and last, but by no means least,
to test and tempt his humility in the (to him) proud hour
of the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination."


To-day -- fifty years at the altar --
Thou art, as of old, at thy post!
Tell us, O chasubled soldier!
Art weary of watching the Host?
Fifty years -- Christ's sacred sentry,
To-day thy feet faithful are found
When the cross on the altar is blessing
Thy heart in its sentinel-round.


The beautiful story of Thabor
Fifty years agone thrilled thy young heart,
When wearing white vestments of glory,
And up the "high mountain apart".
In the fresh, glowing grace of thy priesthood,
Thou didst climb to the summit alone,
While the Feast of Christ's Transfiguration
Was a sweet outward sign of thy own.


Old priest! on the slope of the summit
Did float down and fall on thine ear
The strong words of weak-hearted Peter.
"O Lord, it is good to be here!"
Thy heart was stronger than Peter's,
And sweeter the tone of thy prayer;
'Twas Calvary thy young feet were climbing,
And old -- thou art still standing there.


For you, as for him, on bright Thabor,
Forever to stay were not hard;
But when Calvary girdles the altar,
And garments the Eucharist's guard
With sacrifice and with its shadows --
To keep there forever a feast
Is the glory and grace of the human --
The altar, the cross, and the priest.


The crucifix's wardens and watchers,
Like Him, must be heart sacrificed --
The Christ on the crucifix lifeless
For guard needs a brave human Christ.
To guard Him three hours -- what a glory!
With sacrifice splendors aflame!
Three hours -- and He died on His Calvary --
How long hast thou lived for His name?


"Half a century," cries out thy crucifix,
Binding together thy beads;
His look, like thy life, lingers in it,
A light for men's souls in their needs.
Old priest! is thy life not a rosary?
Five decades and more have been said,
In thy heart the warm splendors of Thabor
Beneath the white snows of thy head!


Fifty years lifting the chalice --
Ah, 'tis Life in this death-darkened land!
Thy clasp may be weak, but the chrism,
Old priest! that anointed thy hand
Is as fresh and as strong in its virtue
As in the five decades agone
Thy young hands were touched with its unction,
And thy vestments of white were put on.


Fifty years! Every day passes
A part of one great, endless feast,
That moves round its orbit of Masses,
And hath nor a West nor an East;
But everywhere hath its pure altars,
At each of its altars a priest
To lift up a Host with a chalice
Till the story of grace shall have ceased.


Fifty years in the feast's orbit,
Nearly two thousand of days;
Fifty years priest in the priesthood,
Fifty years lit with its rays --
Lit them but to reflect them
When the adorers' throngs pass
Out of thy life and its glory
Shining each day from thy Mass.


Half of a century's service!
Wearing thy cassock of black
O'er thy camps, and thy battles, and triumphs!
Old soldier of Jesus! look back
To the day when thou kissed thy first altar
In love with youth's fervor athrill.
From the day when we meet and we greet thee,
So true to the old altar still.


Fifty long years! what if trials
Did oftentimes darken thy way --
They marked, like the shadows on dials,
Thy soul's brightest hour every day.
The sun in the height of his splendor,
By the mystical law of his light,
O'er his glories flings vestments of shadows,
And, sinking, leaves stars to the night.


Old priest! with the heart of a poet
Thou hast written sweet stanzas for men;
Thy life, many versed, is a poem
That puzzles the art of the pen;
The crucifix wrote it and writes it --
A scripture too deep for my ken;
A record of deeds more than sayings --
Only God reads it rightly; and then


My stanzas are just like the shadows
That follow the sun and his sheen,
To tell to the eye that will read them
Where the purest of sunshine has been.
Thy life moves in mystical eclipse,
All hidden from men and their sight;
We look, but we see but its surface,
But God sees the depth of its light.


Twenty-five years! highest honors
Were thine -- high deserved in the world:
Dawned a day with a grace in its flashing
O'er thy heart from a standard unfurled,
Whose folds bore the mystical motto:
"To the greater glory of God!"
And somehow there opened before thee
A way thou hadst never yet trod.


Twenty-five years -- still a private
In files where the humblest and last
Stands higher in rank than the highest
Of those who are passing or passed;
Twenty-five years in the vanguard,
Whose name is a spell of their strength,
The light of the folds of whose standard
Lengthens along all the length


Of the march of the Crucified Jesus.
Loyola was wiser than most
In claiming for him and his soldiers
The name of the Chief of the host;
His name, and his motto, and colors
That never shall know a defeat,
Whose banner, when others are folded,
Shall never float over retreat.


To-day when the wind wafts the wavelets
To the gray altar steps of yon shore,
Each wearing an alb foam-embroidered,
And kneeling, like priests, to adore
The God of the land -- I will mingle
My prayers, aged priest! with the sea,
While God, for thy fifty years' priesthood,
Will hear thy prayers whispered for me.


Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:28 am
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Sun Sep 03, 2006 3:04 pm
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Location: Ohio, USA
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BenCW,

I hope you don't mind that I've moved this over to "BOOKS" where it might have a little bit longer shelf life outside of the hustle and bustle of the discussions. I am also a greater admirer of Father Ryan's poems and recommend them highly.
I'll post one of my own favorites.


Sun Sep 03, 2006 3:38 pm
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Location: Ohio, USA
New post I will keep a place for thee.
A BLESSING

BE you near, or be you far,
Let my blessing, like a star,
Shine upon you everywhere!
And in each lone evening hour,
When the twilight folds the flower,
I will fold thy name in prayer.

In the dark and in the day,
To my heart you know the way,
Sorrow's pale hand keeps the key;
In your sorrow or your sin
You may always enter in;
I will keep a place for thee.

If God's blessing pass away
From your spirit; if you stray
From his presence, do not wait.
Come to my heart, for I keep.
For the hearts that wail and weep,
Ever opened wide--a gate.

In your joys to others go,
When your feet walk ways of woe
Only then come back to me;
I will give you tear for tear,
And our tears shall more endear
Thee to me and me to thee.

For I make my heart the home
Of all hearts in grief that come
Seeking refuge and a rest.
Do not fear me, for you know,
Be your footsteps e'er so low,
I know yours, of all, the best.

Once you came; and you brought sin;
Did not my hand lead you in--
Into God's heart, thro' my own?
Did not my voice speak a word
You, for years, had never heard--
Mystic word in Mercy's tone?

And a grace fell on your brow,
And I heard your murmured vow,
When I whispered: "Go in peace,"
"Go in peace, and sin no more,"
Did you not touch Mercy's shore,
Did not sin's wild tempest cease?

Go! then: thou art good and pure!
If thou e'er shouldst fall, be sure,
Back to me thy footsteps trace!
In my heart for year and year,
Be thou far away or near,
I shall keep for thee a place.

Yes! I bless you-near or far
And my blessing, like a star,
Shall shine on you everywhere;
And in many a holy hour,
As the sunshine folds the flower,
I will fold thy heart in prayer.


Last edited by Geoff Tribbe on Sun Sep 03, 2006 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sun Sep 03, 2006 4:03 pm
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Some of the visual beauty, and certain empahases of Father Ryan's poems were acheived through line indentations. Unfortunately, the software does not keep the spacings at the beginnings of the lines.


Sun Sep 03, 2006 4:05 pm
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After Seeing Pius IX


I saw his face to-day; he looks a chief
Who fears not human rage, nor human guile;
Upon his cheeks the twilight of a grief,
But in that grief the starlight of a smile.
Deep, gentle eyes, with drooping lids that tell
They are the homes where tears of sorrow dwell;
A low voice -- strangely sweet -- whose very tone
Tells how these lips speak oft with God alone.
I kissed his hand, I fain would kiss his feet;
"No, no," he said; and then, in accents sweet,
His blessing fell upon my bended head.
He bade me rise; a few more words he said,
Then took me by the hand -- the while he smiled --
And, going, whispered: "Pray for me, my child."


Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:08 pm
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My Beads


Sweet, blessed beads! I would not part
With one of you for richest gem
That gleams in kingly diadem;
Ye know the history of my heart.

For I have told you every grief
In all the days of twenty years,
And I have moistened you with tears,
And in your decades found relief.

Ah! time has fled, and friends have failed
And joys have died; but in my needs
Ye were my friends, my blessed beads!
And ye consoled me when I wailed.

For many and many a time, in grief,
My weary fingers wandered round
Thy circled chain, and always found
In some Hail Mary sweet relief.

How many a story you might tell
Of inner life, to all unknown;
I trusted you and you alone,
But ah! ye keep my secrets well.

Ye are the only chain I wear --
A sign that I am but the slave,
In life, in death, beyond the grave,
Of Jesus and His Mother fair.


Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:09 pm
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Sursum Corda


Weary hearts! weary hearts! by the cares of life oppressed,
Ye are wand'ring in the shadows -- ye are sighing for a rest:
There is darkness in the heavens, and the earth is bleak below,
And the joys we taste to-day may to-morrow turn to woe.
Weary hearts! God is Rest.

Lonely hearts! lonely hearts! this is but a land of grief;
Ye are pining for repose -- ye are longing for relief:
What the world hath never given, kneel and ask of God above,
And your grief shall turn to gladness, if you lean upon His love.
Lonely hearts! God is Love.

Restless hearts! restless hearts! ye are toiling night and day,
And the flowers of life, all withered, leave but thorns along your way:
Ye are waiting, ye are waiting, till your toilings all shall cease,
And your ev'ry restless beating is a sad, sad prayer for peace.
Restless hearts! God is Peace.

Breaking hearts! broken hearts! ye are desolate and lone,
And low voices from the past o'er your present ruins moan!
In the sweetest of your pleasures there was bitterest alloy,
And a starless night hath followed on the sunset of your joy.
Broken hearts! God is Joy.

Homeless hearts! homeless hearts! through the dreary, dreary years,
Ye are lonely, lonely wand'rers, and your way is wet with tears;
In bright or blighted places, wheresoever ye may roam,
Ye look away from earth-land, and ye murmur, "Where is home?"
Homeless hearts! God is Home.


Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:10 pm
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Feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple


The priests stood waiting in the holy place,
Impatient of delay
(Isaiah had been read),
When sudden up the aisle there came a face
Like a lost sun's ray;
And the child was led
By Joachim and Anna. Rays of grace
Shone all about the child;
Simeon looked on, and bowed his aged head --
Looked on the child, and smiled.

Low were the words of Joachim. He spake
In a tremulous way,
As if he were afraid,
Or as if his heart were just about to break,
And knew not what to say;
And low he bowed his head --
While Anna wept the while -- he, sobbing, said:
"Priests of the holy temple, will you take
Into your care our child?"
And Simeon, listening, prayed, and strangely smiled.

A silence for a moment fell on all;
They gazed in mute surprise,
Not knowing what to say,
Till Simeon spake: "Child, hast thou heaven's call?"
And the child's wondrous eyes
(Each look a lost sun's ray)
Turned toward the far mysterious wall.
(Did the veil of the temple sway?)
They looked from the curtain to the little child --
Simeon seemed to pray, and strangely smiled.

"Yes; heaven sent me here. Priests, let me in!"
(And the voice was sweet and low.)
"Was it a dream by night?
A voice did call me from this world of sin --
A spirit-voice I know,
An angel pure and bright.
`Leave father, mother,' said the voice, `and win';
(I see my angel now)
`The crown of a virgin's vow.'
I am three summers old -- a little child."
And Simeon seemed to pray the while he smiled.

"Yes, holy priests, our father's God is great,
And all His mercies sweet!
His angel bade me come --
Come thro' the temple's beautiful gate;
He led my heart and feet
To this, my holy home.
He said to me: `Three years your God will wait
Your heart to greet and meet.'
I am three summers old --
I see my angel now --
Brighter his wings than gold --
He knoweth of my vow."
The priests, in awe, came closer to the child --
She wore an angel's look -- and Simeon smiled.

As if she were the very holy ark,
Simeon placed his hand
On the fair, pure head.
The sun had set, and it was growing dark;
The robed priests did stand
Around the child. He said:
"Unto me, priests, and all ye Levites, hark!
This child is God's own gift --
Let us our voices lift
In holy praise." They gazed upon the child
In wonderment -- and Simeon prayed and smiled.

And Joachim and Anna went their way --
The little child, she shed
The tenderest human tears.
The priests and Levites lingered still to pray;
And Simeon said:
"We teach the latter years
The night is passing 'fore the coming day
(Isaiah had been read)
Of our redemption" -- and some way the child
Won all their hearts. Simeon prayed and smiled.

That night the temple's child knelt down to pray
In the shadows of the aisle --
She prayed for you and me.
Why did the temple's mystic curtain sway?
Why did the shadows smile?
The child of Love's decree
Had come at last; and 'neath the night-stars' gleam
The aged Simeon did see in dream
The mystery of the child,
And in his sleep he murmured prayer -- and smiled.

And twelve years after, up the very aisle
Where Simeon had smiled
Upon her fair, pure face,
She came again, with a mother's smile,
And in her arms a Child,
The very God of grace.
And Simeon took the Infant from her breast,
And, in glad tones and strong,
He sang his glorious song
Of faith, and hope, and everlasting rest.


Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:11 pm
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