Two Temples

This week I am using Proverbs 22:6 in my devotional groups. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Although the people attending have already finished the work of rearing children, they remain exposed, delightfully so in most cases, to grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.  I tried to find information about the writer of this poem, “Two Temples” but all I found was her grave marker!  From that I learned that she was born in 1868 and lived until 1942.  She was the only daughter of Oliver Gray Hall, and his wife, Frances White Hall.  She is buried in Augusta, Maine.  Her works include a short, 62-page work, titled Songs of the Coast of Maine.  Her best-known poem is the one printed for you here.  I found it in my well-word volume cited at the end.  The message of the poem speaks for itself.

                     Two Temples

                                     by Hattie Vose Hall 

                               A Builder builded a temple,

                           He wrought it will grace and skill;

                           Pillars and groins and arches,

                           All fashioned to work his will.

                           Men said, as they saw its beauty,

                           “It shall never know decay;

                           Great is thy skill, O Builder!

                           Thy fame shall endure for aye.”

                           A mother builded a temple,

                           With loving and infinite care,

                           Planning each arch with patience,

                           Laying each stone with prayer.

                           None praised her unceasing efforts,

                           None knew of her wondrous plan,

                           For the temple the Mother builded,

                           Was unseen by the eyes of man.

                           Gone is the Builder’s temple,

                           Crumpled into the dust;

                           Low lies each stately pillar,

                           Food for consuming dust.

                           But the temple the Mother builded,

                           Will last while the ages roll,

                           For the beautiful unseen temple,

                           Was a child’s immortal soul.

page 392, The Best Love Poems of the American People Garden City Books, Garden City, NY 1936



  1. Karyl, I don’t remember ever seeing this before. Love it.

  2. I bought a copy of the poetry collection at a library sale years ago. That perhaps is the first time I saw it and I have used it in programs, usually Mother’s Day. Hall is not a well known poet, I could find nothing on her except the gravestone. I did find it used without site credit on two other blog sites today.

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