Source: Poems of a Parson
Source type: book
Document type: poem
Document title: “The Passing of President McKinley”
Author(s): Burkholder, Clarence Mills
Publisher: F. W. Haigh
Place of publication: Toledo, Ohio
Year of publication: 1903
|Burkholder, Clarence Mills. “The Passing of President McKinley.” Poems of a Parson. Toledo: F. W. Haigh, 1903: pp. 28-29.|
|William McKinley (death: poetry); William McKinley (mourning: poetry).|
The Passing of President McKinley
This to his memory while our hearts still ache;
This to his memory for sweet reverence sake;
That while the world’s flowers deck his open grave,
Our own best blossoms by their side may wave.
What time of yore the old Norse hero died,
His comrades bore him to the ocean side,
And on his good ship laid him down to rest
His arms and jewels heaped upon his breast.
Then when the tide was out they launched the barge
And watched it float far out to where the marge
Lay like a streak of gold. Immortal light
Seemed there to welcome him, so fair and bright
It made the sadness of farewell less sad,
It made the sorrow of their hearts more glad.
And thou, Oh friend of God and friend of man!
And thou, Oh glorious American!
A nation bears thee in its arms to-day,
And gently down death’s steep and tortuous way
Thy comrades carry thee to where thy ship,
Waits restless for her last long ocean trip. 
Place him, Oh comrades, by her mast of pine—
Against this upright let his head recline;
Hands folded thus, in peace and rest,
In token of the sweet content expressed
In those fair words of his, when almost gone,
He said: “It is God’s way; His will be done.”
Now bring the jewels of his life’s rich quest
And heap them high upon his noble breast.
Sure, nobler store was his than all the fine
That ever came from out Golconda’s mine.
Cover his wounds with gems of gentleness,
With pearls of mercy that his words confess
Were his;—pour out, pour out the golden store
Of scintilating [sic] treasures that he wore,—
The glory of his thought and word and act,
And all that made his character compact,—
A kingly soul, God’s Nobleman. And now
Thus decked—the martyr’s crown upon his brow—
Leave him, Oh Comrades, with our last good-byes;
Bear up, and launch the good ship with her prize.
How beautiful she bears him to his goal,
Her white wings symbols of his fair white soul.
A heavenward breeze is in her gallant sails
And at the helm a hand that never fails;
For lo! while yet anon the ship we scan,
Appears one like unto the Son of Man!
His pilot’s at the helm; Oh Comrades, see,
His ship goes where the golden dawn must be!
* * * * * *
Chant we the glorious songs he loved of yore,
And thus returning to our tasks once more
Let the fair spirit of this vision lift
Some of our clouds of gloom, that thro’ the rift
We oft may see and own the kindly light
Of God’s hand even in our drearest night.