“I have got my last verse!”
The occasion was a notable one.
The stage of the Metropolitan Opera House
was filled with dignitaries, delegates from other States, foreign diplomats in brilliant uniforms.
The only woman among them was the little figure in white, to greet whom, as she came forward on her son's arm, the whole great assembly rose and stood.
They remained standing while she read her poem in clear unfaltering tones; the applause that rang out showed that she had once more touched the heart of the public.
This poem was printed in “Collier
's Weekly,” unfortunately from a copy made before the “last verse” was finished to her mind.
This distressed her. “Let this be. A lesson!”
“Never print a poem or speech till it has been delivered; always give the eleventh hour its chance!”
This eleventh hour brought a very special chance; a few days before, the world had been electrified by the news of Peary
's discovery of the North Pole: it was the general voice that cried through her lips,--
The Flag of Freedom crowns the Pole!
The following letter was written while she was at work on the poem:--