Every once in a while I receive gifts of antique and antiquarian books from family and friends who know my tastes well. My sister found two poetry books by a 19th century American poet/writer Josiah G. Holland (born July 24, 1819; died October 12, 1881) in an antique store and presented them to me for a Christmas gift this year. The two volumes of which I am a proud owner are  Kathrina and Bittersweet. Another publication in which his poetry appears is his book Complete Politcal Writings, published posthumously in 1885, with his famous poem Gradatim:
Heaven is not gained at a single bound,
But we build the ladder by which we rise
From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies
And we mount to its summit round by round.
I count this thing to be grandly true,
That a noble deed is a step toward God-
Lifting the soul from the common sod
To a purer air and a broader view.
We rise by things that are ‘neath our feet;
By what we have mastered by good or gain;
By the pride deposed and the passion slain,
And the vanquished ills that we hourly meet.
We hope, we aspire, we resolve, we trust,
When the morning calls us to life and light,
But our hearts grow weary, and, ere the night,
Our lives are trailing the sordid dust.
We hope, we resolve, we aspire, we pray,
And we think that we mount the air on wings
Beyond the recall of sensual things,
While our feet still cling to the heavy clay.
Wings for the angels, but feet for men!
We may borrow the wings to find the way-
We may hope, and resolve, and aspire, and pray,
But our feet must rise, or we fall again.
Only in dreams is a ladder thrown
From the weary earth to the sapphire walls;
But the dream departs, and the vision falls,
And the sleeper wakes on his pillow of stone.
Heaven is not reached at a single bound:
But we build the ladder by which we rise
From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,
And we mount to its summit round by round.
 so… TheCastle Lady blew vaulting kisses your way !   

About Evelyn

The Castle Lady Official web site: other blogs:
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gradatim

  1. dawn says:

    SOLID.Brilliant poem!\’calls to mind something i scribbled some months back . atad bashful but in comparison not, just a mere inclination to share:It occured to me while walking to the bus one day…We, as humanity,ARE ON THE VERGE OF FORGETTING!Civilization goes in cycles.progress-collapse, progress-collapse…Forgetting.It is a defence mechanism.It is coming into play.After each fall, those who follow, forget the causes that led up to it, and begin again down the very same path.We are on the verge of collapse.That is a given.We are on the verge of forgetting.That can change.


  2. Leona says:

    What a beautiful poem and even more beautiful that your sister found it especially for you. It is a sure sign she put some thought into her gift to you and that she considered your tastes. That alone makes the gift special, appreciated. I just know you will enjoy reading every single word. I wish for you love, happiness, peace and a very Happy New Year.


  3. puzzle says:

    It feels uprising – this is real art of emotional painting and moving with words.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s