By Charles Halpine
April 26, 1865. Vol. 1. No. 30. Page 4.
He filled the Nation’s eye and heart,
As honored, loved, familiar name;
So much a brother, that his fame
Seemed of our lives a common part,
His towering figure, sharp and spare,
Was with such nervous tension strung,
As if on each strained sinew swung
The burden of a people’s care.
His changing face what pen can draw---
Pathetic, kindly, droll or stern;
And with a glanced so quick to learn
The inmost truth of all he saw.
Pride found no idle space to spawn
Her fancies in his busy mind;
His worth – like health or air – could find
No just appraisal till withdrawn.
He was his Country’s--not his own!
He had no wish but for her weal;
Nor for himself could think or feel
But as a laborer for her throne.
Her flag upon the heights of power,
Stainless and unassailed to place—
To this one end his earnest face
Was bent through every burdened hour.
The veil that hides from our dull eyes
A hero’s worth, Death only lifts;
While he is with us, all his gifts
Find hosts to question, few to prize.
But done the battle—won the strife,
When torches light his vaulted tomb,
Broad gems flesh out and crowns illume
The clay-cold brows undecked in life.
And men of whom the world will talk
For ages hence, may noteless move;
And only, as they quit us, prove
That giant souls have shared our walk.
For Heaven—aware what follies lurk
In our weak hearts—their mission done,
Snatches her loved ones from the sun
In the same hour that crowns their work.
O, loved and lost! Thy patient toil
Had robed our cause in victory’s light;
Our country stood redeemed and bright,
With not a slave on all her soil.
Again o’er Southern towns and towers
The eagles of our nation flew;
And as the weeks to summer grew
Each day a new success was ours.
‘Mid peals of bells, and cannon bark,
‘And shouting streets with flags abloom—
Sped the shrill arrow of thy doom,
And, in an instant, all was dark!
Thick clouds around us seem to press;
The heart throbs quickly—then is still;
Father, ‘tis hard to say, “Thy will
Be done!” In such an hour as this.
A martyr to the cause of man,
His blood is freedom’s Eucharist,
And in the world’s great hero list
His name shall lead the van!
And, raised on Faith’s white wings unfurl’d
In Heaven’s pure light of him we say,
“He fell upon the self-same day
A Greater Died To Save The World.”