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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Tue. 07/04/06 06:51:10 AM

"To the Statue on the Capitol"

Independence Day 2006

To the Statue on the Capitol

Looking Eastward at Dawn

What sunken splendor in the Eastern skies
   Seest thou, O Watcher, from thy lifted place?—
Thine old Atlantic dream is in thine eyes,
   But the new Western morning on thy face.

Beholdest thou, in reäpparent light,
   Thy lost Republics? They were visions, fled.
Their ghosts in ruin'd cities walk by night—
   It is no resurrection of their dead.

But look, behind thee, where in sunshine lie
   Thy boundless fields of harvest in the West,
Whose savage garments from thy shoulders fly,
   Whose eagle clings in sunrise to thy crest!

John James Piatt (1835-1917)

American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, ed. John Hollander, Volume Two, p. 328.

The Statue of Freedom

From the webpage at the website of the Architect of the Capitol:

The bronze Statue of Freedom by Thomas Crawford is the crowning feature of the dome of the United States Capitol. The statue is a classical female figure of Freedom wearing flowing draperies. Her right hand rests upon the hilt of a sheathed sword; her left holds a laurel wreath of victory and the shield of the United States with thirteen stripes. Her helmet is encircled by stars and features a crest composed of an eagle's head, feathers, and talons, a reference to the costume of Native Americans. A brooch inscribed "U.S." secures her fringed robes. She stands on a cast-iron globe encircled with the national motto, E Pluribus Unum. The lower part of the base is decorated with fasces and wreaths. Ten bronze points tipped with platinum are attached to her headdress, shoulders, and shield for protection from lightning. The bronze statue stands 19 feet 6 inches tall and weighs approximately 15,000 pounds. Her crest rises 288 feet above the east front plaza....
Beginning in 1860, the statue was cast in five main sections by Clark Mills, whose bronze foundry was located on the outskirts of Washington. Work was halted in 1861 because of the Civil War, but by the end of 1862 the statue was finished and temporarily displayed on the Capitol grounds. The cost of the statue, exclusive of installation, was $23,796.82. Late in 1863, construction of the dome was sufficiently advanced for the installation of the statue, which was hoisted in sections and assembled atop the cast-iron pedestal. The final section, the figure's head and shoulders, was raised on December 2, 1863, to a salute of 35 guns answered by the guns of the 12 forts around Washington....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 07/04/06 06:51:10 AM
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