Edwin Markham was born in Oregon but went soon to California. He was made a Mason in Acacia Lodge, No. 92, Coloma, Calif. When he published his "Man With a Hoe," President Theodore Roosevelt's acclaim of it made Markham's name familiar throughout America almost overnight Another Masonic poet, Rudyard Kipling, also had in his poem "Recessional" ("Lest we forget") an equally universal, immediate reception, and each poem was an answer to the other; Kipling's theme was "We must have rulership"; Markham's was, "Yes, but the rulership must be by ourselves."
The body of Markham's poetry as a whole has been very slow in winning a way into popular use, perhaps because two World Wars turned the attention of men away from poetry, but the Masonic Fraternity need not wait upon the general public; for Markham is America's laureate of Masonry, as Burns was Scotland's; and as he said when he presented a holograph copy of his "Man With a Hoe" to the Grand Lodge of New York, everything of his was in the Spirit of Masonry. (Like a number of other world-famous poems, that poem was never completed; Markham kept experimenting with small revisions of it as long as he lived.)
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