Source: Contrasted Songs
Source type: book
Document type: poem
Document title: “The Nation Weeps”
Author(s): Longfellow, Marian
Publisher: Richard G. Badger
Place of publication: Boston, Massachusetts
Year of publication: 1905
|Longfellow, Marian. “The Nation Weeps.” Contrasted Songs. Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1905: pp. 100-01.|
|William McKinley (mourning: poetry); William McKinley (poetry).|
|James A. Garfield; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley.|
|This book is copyrighted for 1904; however, the year 1905 is given on the title page.|
The Nation Weeps
(Wm. McKinley, Sept. 14, 1901.)
The nation weeps, while through the stricken land
Stalks the grim specter raised by traitor hand;
And on the air there rises dire lament
For vigil, suffering and life now spent.
Lo! through the tumult comes that voice of trust
From soul of mortal triumphing o’er dust:
“God’s will, not ours;” O hero strong
To rise above the thought of burning wrong
Dealt by a dastard’s hand! O spirit bright
Seeing, while here, the heavy cross grow light,
“His will be done; His guiding hand my way!”
That heart, yet bound by racking pain, could say.
The nation weeps. Anger and grief uplift
On high their hands; O from this pain to sift
Some grain of comfort and some thought of rest!
Again those tender words, “God knoweth best.”
As man, not free from earthly fault was he,
For mortal man may not perfection see;
But yet, as man, he bore full well his part
And freely spent his wealth of brain and heart.
E’en as we think of him the silent land
Draws near, and dimly by his bed there stand
Lincoln and Garfield, now henceforth to be
With him a martyr-trio grand and free.
The nation weeps; O hearts be comforted!
He needs no more your words, so feebly said;
He heeds no more your thoughts of praise or blame,
For he hath won for’er a higher fame.
Soldier of cross and battlefield, his death
Hath taught humanity that fleeting breath
Of mortal glory here is but a slender span, 
And brief, indeed, on earth the life of man!
Dear earth enfold him in your restful arms
And guard him well, though past are all alarms;
E’en though, while now at rest he calmly sleeps,
The nation weeps! The stricken nation weeps!