AD ASTRA PER ASPERA a poem by Ironquill



 A motto appears 

On the seal of a State —
     Of a State that was born
     While the terror was brewing;
A motto defying
The edicts of fate;
     A motto of daring,
     A legend of doing.

A perilous past
And a cavernous gloom
     Had enshrouded the State
     In its humble beginning;
But courage of soul,
In repelling the doom,
     Of failure made hope,
     And of losing made winning.

Through scars to the stars,
Through the pall of the past,
     Through the gloom to the gleam
     Rose the State from the peril;
Then gleam became gloom,
And the laurels at last
     Were scattered in ashes
     Repugnant and sterile.

But Kansas shall shine
In the stories and songs
     That are told and are sung
     Of undaunted reliance.
Tile gloom yet will gleam,
And the evils and wrongs
     Will shrivel and crisp
     In the blaze of defiance.

The future shall bury
The now — as the woe
     On the field of a battle
     By verdure is hidden;
And hope will return
Like the harvests that grow
     Where cannon have plowed
     And the cavalry ridden.


Birth: May 29, 1841 Hartford County, Connecticut, USA

Death: Jul. 1, 1911 Colorado, USA

Poet, Author, Lawyer, Legislator and Soldier. Known as Kansas most famous poet, and known all over the country and world. Ware used the pseudonym “Ironquill.” It was while he worked as an editor of the Fort Scott newspaper that he submitted his poems under the name Ironquill. Two of his most famous works are “The Rhymes of Ironquill” and “The Washerwomans Song“. A quote from his poem “Glory” is ‘All Glory Comes From Daring To Begin’. His poem titled “Neutralia” expresses his experience as a new soldier. He authored many books one of which was his civil war experience which is titled “The Indian War of 1864”. As a Lt. and Captain he served as aide de-camp to Generals Grenville Dodge, Washington Elliott, Robert Mitchell and C. J. Stolbrand. He was also one of General Sherman’s corps commanders. He served in the following units; Company E, First Iowa Infantry, Company L, 4th Iowa Cavalry and finally in 1866, he was mustered out as Captain of Company F of the 7th Iowa Cavarly. By 1871 he was admitted to the bar at Fort Scott, Kansas. He served two terms on the U. S. Supreme Court and also two terms in the Kansas legislature from 1879 to 1883. In 1888, Ware was a presidential elector at-large for Kansas. In 1893 he moved to Topeka to join a law firm and by 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him Commissioner of Pensions. He retired to his farm in 1911 and died later that year. A bronze bust of Kansas most famous poet is with the Kansas State Historical Society. The Eugene F. Ware Elementary school in Fort Scott, Kansas is named for him.


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Filed under AMERICANA, History, Kansas, Poetry, Southeast Kansas, The Four States

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