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Publication information
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Source: Chords from a Strange Lyre
Source type: book
Document type: poem
Document title: “Leon F. Czolgosz”
Author(s): Allstorm, Oliver
Publisher: Sims, Wilson and Sims
Place of publication: Chicago, Illinois
Year of publication: 1902
Pagination: 121-24

 
Citation
Allstorm, Oliver. “Leon F. Czolgosz.” Chords from a Strange Lyre. Chicago: Sims, Wilson and Sims, 1902: pp. 121-24.
 
Transcription
full text
 
Keywords
Leon Czolgosz (poetry); Leon Czolgosz (execution: poetry); Leon Czolgosz (death: poetry).
 
Named persons
Gaetano Bresci; Leon Czolgosz; Humbert I.
 
Document

 

Leon F. Czolgosz

BEREAVEMENT, deep anguish of the soul,
Mournfullest when recollection takes us back
Unto that day of mourning and of grief
Wherein the cause of anarchy was espoused.
Did sense of duty hail thy heart, O wretch,
And call thee to an act so foully fell?
Writhe in thy death’s anticipation, man,
And then in hideous solitude collect thyself,
And, pondering, mutter thus: “The deed is done.”
Dark is thy prison cell, dark is thy heart;
Thy morn of hope shall never more return;
Thy night of stress has come, thy woe begun. [121][122]
Still, ah, still, God is for thee, though man be not—
God is for thee, and thou art not for him.
Turn, O Leon, turn thine eyes to heaven,
Up to that height to which thy soul must fly,
Back to its maker and unto its God,
Still unprepared, poor wretched soul of blood.

     None shall weep for thee;
     Few shall pray for thee;
     God will deal with thee.
Is not thy every dream disturbed by night?
Is not thy every thought disturbed by day?
Does not the shadow of thy crime return?
Its raven wing flit gloomy on thy cell?
Are not the shackles hard upon thy wrist?
The sweat drops cold upon thy burning brow?
What more, O man of shame, needs bring remorse?
Slander is thine now from a million tongues;
Scorn from humanity’s heaving breast.
Foolhardy act, vain in its mad career!
Was it then praise you sought beneath a kerchieft hand?
Did that heart’s blood, that soul’s return to God,
Atone for fancied ills thy spirit bore?
Or, did that shot, the death knell of our chief,
Make thee a man, or heal a running sore?

Nay, deluded heart, fault is not wholly thine,
Though men would curse thee, and would rend and tear,
As if thy death would cure a painful sting. [122][123]
Full many like thyself do thirst thy blood,
As if its flow could make the dead return
And right the wrong that others taught to thee.
Crime breeds crime,
And yours was bred from teachings red as blood,
Red as the blood you spattered on your kin.
Theirs is the sorrow and theirs is the remorse;
Theirs is the penalty, a shame for it to be;
Theirs is the empty mouth, and theirs a roofless bed.
Their willing hands for toil are scoffed by men.
Oh, shame for thee, Leon, oh, shame for thee!
Thine is the privilege to pass away
More lightly from this world than first you came,
Thanks to the sovereign law that you disown—
The law that you would hurl from off the earth.
Unlike that Bresci, Humbert’s dagger fiend,
Who passed through forty hells before the end,
You’ll fall asleep without a tortured flesh,
And feel no pain, save in your fear to die.
Poor wretch! the end draws near, the shadows fall;
Your light of life is flickering to a close;
Grim darkness gathers, and alone you stand
Upon the brink of vast eternity.
Where will you leap, to darkness or to light?
And at what goal in that dim universe
Will your soul live, in torment or in joy?
Where shall the anchor sink into the swelling sea?
Shall there be “moaning of the bar,” or carols sung? [123][124]
It lies with thee, Leon, it lies with thee.
Meet God with contrite heart and spirit mild,
And leave the world a farewell of regret
For that base crime the centuries cannot blot.
Mourn with the depth of sorrow in thy heart,
And say to man, “Farewell! Forgive, forget!”
That then thy dust may rest all undisturbed,
And mingle with the many gone before.
Mourn, that thy soul may live in boundless joy,
Redeemed upon the bosom of thy God.

 

 


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