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Source: The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley
Source type: book
Document type: poem
Document title: “William McKinley”
Author(s): Riley, James Whitcomb
Edition: Memorial edition
Volume number: 9
Publisher: Harper and Brothers Publishers
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1916
Pagination: 2249-50

Riley, James Whitcomb. “William McKinley.” The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley. Memorial ed. Vol. 9. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1916: pp. 2249-50.
full text
William McKinley (poetry).
Named persons
From title page: The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley: Including Poems and Prose Sketches, Many of Which Have Not Heretofore Been Published; An Authentic Biography, an Elaborate Index and Numerous Illustrations in Color from Paintings by Howard Chandler Christy and Ethel Franklin Betts.


William McKinley


     HE said: “It is God’s way:
          His will, not ours be done.”
     And o’er our land a shadow lay
          That darkened all the sun.
     The voice of jubilee
          That gladdened all the air,
     Fell sudden to a quavering key
          Of suppliance and prayer.

     He was our chief—our guide—
          Sprung of our common Earth,
     From youth’s long struggle proved and tried
          To manhood’s highest worth:
     Through toil, he knew all needs
          Of all his toiling kind—
     The favored striver who succeeds—
          The one who falls behind.

     The boy’s young faith he still
          Retained through years mature—
     The faith to labor, hand and will,
          Nor doubt the harvest sure— [2249][2250]
     The harvest of man’s love—
          A nation’s joy that swells
     To heights of Song, or deeps whereof
          But sacred silence tells.

     To him his Country seemed
          Even as a Mother, where
     He rested—slept; and once he dreamed—
          As on her bosom there—
     And thrilled to hear, within
          That dream of her, the call
     Of bugles and the clang and din
          Of war. . . . And o’er it all

     His rapt eyes caught the bright
          Old Banner, winging wild
     And beck’ning him, as to the fight . . .
          When—even as a child—
     He wakened—And the dream
          Was real! And he leapt
     As led the proud Flag through a gleam
          Of tears the Mother wept.

     His was a tender hand—
          Even as a woman’s is—
     And yet as fixed, in Right’s command,
          As this bronze hand of his:
     This was the Soldier brave—
          This was the Victor fair—
     This is the Hero Heaven gave
          To glory here—and There.



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