William Vaughn Moody
Biography of William Vaughn Moody
William Vaughn Moody was born July 8, 1869, in Spenser, Indiana. His parents died when he was young, and he worked his way through prep school and Harvard University, where he recieved both his B.A. (1893) and M.A. (1894), and became co-editor of Harvard Monthly. From 1894-95 he held the position of assistant in the English Department to Louis E. Gates. In 1895, Moody relocated to The University of Chicago as an instructor, a position that he held until 1903, when he was promoted to an assistant professorship. He left the University in 1907 to concentrate on his poetry.
During this time at the University, Moody published an untitled volume of poetry, as well as two poetic dramas, The Masque of Judgment in 1900, and The Fire Bringer in 1904. However, he is mostly noted for his 1906 play The Great Divide, hailed at the time as the "Great American Drama."
In 1908, Moody was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He married Harriet C. Brainerd on May 7, 1909. Also in that year, he saw his play The Faith Healer produced, an event that while it attracted some attention, was not considered a dramatic success. William Vaughn Moody was working on another poetic drama, The Death of Eve, when he died in Colorado Springs, CO, on October 17, 1910.
William Vaughn Moody's Works:
The Masque of Judgment (1900)
The Fire-Bringer (1904, intended as the first member of a trilogy on the Promethean theme, of which The Masque of Judgment, already published, was the second member)
The Great Divide (1907), prose drama, especially successful on the stage
The Faith Healer (1909), prose drama, very successful on the stage
A First View of English and American Literature (compiler with Robert M. Lovett; 1902)
The Complete Poetical Works of John Milton (editor; 1899, Cambridge)
The Poems of Trumbull Stickney (editor with George Cabot Lodge and John Ellerton Lodge; 1905)
His complete works, including The Death of Eve, a fragment of the third member of the proposed trilogy mentioned above, were edited with an introduction by John M. Manly (1912).
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William Vaughn Moody Poems
A Grey Day
Grey drizzling mists the moorlands drape, Rain whitens the dead sea, From headland dim to sullen cape Grey sails creep wearily.
Between the rice swamps and the fields of tea I met a sacred elephant, snow-white. Upon his back a huge pagoda towered Full of brass gods and food of sacrifice.
On a Soldier Fallen in the Philippines
Streets of the roaring town, Hush for him, hus, be still! He comes, who was stricken down Doing the word of our will.
A mile behind is Gloucester town Where the flishing fleets put in, A mile ahead the land dips down And the woods and farms begin.
The Golden Journey
All day he drowses by the sail With dreams of her, and all night long The broken waters are at song Of how she lingers, wild and pale,
The Bracelet of Grass
The opal heart of afternoon Was clouding on to throbs of storm, Ashen within the ardent west The lips of thunder muttered harm,
This, then, is she, My mother as she looked at seventeen, When she first met my father. Young incredibly, Younger than spring, without the faintest trace
NLY two patient eyes to stare Out of the canvas. All the rest- The warm green gown, the small hands pressed
An Ode in Time of Hesitation
After seeing at Boston the statue of Robert Gould Shaw, killed while storming Fort Wagner, July 18, 1863, at the head of the first enlisted negro regiment, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts. I
Between the rice swamps and the fields of tea
I met a sacred elephant, snow-white.
Upon his back a huge pagoda towered
Full of brass gods and food of sacrifice.
Upon his forehead sat a golden throne,
The massy metal twisted into shapes
Grotesque, antediluvian, such as move
In myth or have their broken images
Sealed in the stony middle of the hills.