Source: The Life of William McKinley, Twenty-Fifth President of the United States
Source type: book
Document type: poem
Document title: “In Memoriam—President McKinley”
Author(s): Schutt, Mary H. M. [poem]; Snow, Jane Elliott [book]
Publisher: Imperial Press
Place of publication: Cleveland, Ohio
Year of publication: 1908
|Schutt, Mary H. M. “In Memoriam—President McKinley.” The Life of William McKinley, Twenty-Fifth President of the United States. By Jane Elliott Snow. Cleveland: Imperial Press, 1908: pp. 96-98.|
|William McKinley (poetry); William McKinley (death: poetry); William McKinley (mourning: poetry).|
|From title page: By Jane Elliott Snow, Author of “Women of Tennyson” and “Coates Family History.”|
In Memoriam—President McKinley
When we remember thee, our gracious friend—
’Tis not harsh sorrow, but a tend’rer woe
That binds thee to us, that makes the heart o’erflow
With fondest memories. With reverent
Heads we bowed to the inevitable end,
For Death, the conqueror, full well we know
Enters no tournament with cowardly blow.
Thou wast so full of life, yet Death did blend
The discord in the harmonies of life.
Our fruitless tears have bathed thy honored bier,
The couch of lowly sleep is thy abode;
The goal is reached, the race is run, the strife,
The pilgrimage, so well begun, will cheer
Us onward, upward, on our rugged road.
Full bravely didst thou turn life’s varied page;
Thy sturdy truth and courage did not fail;
Naught of the craven is there in thy trail,
But glorious victories our heritage.
Thy mighty spirit is eclipsed. No age
Can boast a nobler. None dare assail
Thy right to tribute, neither to curtail
By jot or tittle; ’tis only thy just wage,
For thou wert fashioned in heroic mold;
A master thou hast been to emulate, 
A champion of honor and of worth,
Pure in thy purpose, vigorous and bold,
Strong in thy sorrow, thy chivalry innate—
Fulfilled has been the promise of thy birth.
Relentless fate sweeps on, the strongest fall—
But yesterday it seems we saw thy face
And watched thee, as thou stoodst in public place
And heard thy counsels wise, in justice hall.
To friends thou wert a friend, yet kind to all;
Thy adversary’s lance in any race
Ne’er crossed thine own, but thou wouldst feel disgrace
If not the open that didst make him fall.
No prize could swerve thee from thy just intent—
A world’s acclaim was counted nothing gained;
Sound to the core and sturdy wast thou made;
Girded, thou stood against the winds nor bent;
Proud of thy ’scutcheon, untarnished, and unstained,
Thy honor gained for thee exalted grade.
A common grief is ours, a common loss.
No more thy fiery eloquence will bring
Home to our hearts the truths from which they spring.
Time will assuage the grief, the bitter cross,
Our hearts by sorrow’s fire refined from dross;
And though the wound be healed, the scar may sting,
Yet still the fragrance of thy life will cling
Sending benignant influence across.
The matchless dialogue, the flashing wit,
The will indomitable to maintain 
The right in truth’s just cause—beyond our ken
Just as the light a quenched star may transmit
For ages traveling downward, so may again
The light thou left shine on the paths of men.
O Friend! forever loved, forever dear!
When at thy side the Messenger Divine
Descended and low whispered, “Thou art mine,”
A sudden gloom fell on us and a fear.
We knew how we should miss thee, how severe
The cross would be; how our love didst entwine
Around thee, and then we knew the gain was thine,
And knowing felt resigned. Thou art not here!
From leaf to leaf the night-winds softly creep
Across thy bed and sing a requiem;
In sweet refrain the everlasting hills
Repeat, “He giveth his beloved sleep—
Thy faithful quest has earned a diadem,”
And “Peace” is echoed ’til the woodland fills.