Source: Sunlight and Starlight
Source type: book
Document type: poem
Document title: “William McKinley”
Author(s): Kost, Henry G.
Publisher: Richard G. Badger
Place of publication: Boston, Massachusetts
Year of publication: 1911
|Kost, Henry G. “William McKinley.” Sunlight and Starlight. Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1911: pp. 17-18.|
|William McKinley (mourning: poetry); William McKinley (death: poetry).|
Died September 14th, 1901
Toll slow, O mournful bells,
Our sorrow from dolorous throats,
Your sad and solemn knells,
Your woe-betokening notes!
Ah, grief amongst us dwells,
And lowly our banner floats:
Our leader, chosen and tried,
Our chieftain, benign and great,
Our trust, and our hope, and our pride,
Hath given his life for the state. 
Your tribute, O cannons, roar
O’er our ocean-girt land and the seas,—
With your echoing thunder deplore,
And the weighted silence release.
Ah, well may our eagle soar,
Half-hearted, in days like these:
He hath fallen by coward hand,
Who, beloved and exalted, stood;
And a wail fills our cherished land,
At the loss of the great and the good.
Sound soft, O easeful airs,
Twining comfort with sorrow and tears,
Like a saint’s ascending pray’rs,
When death life’s blossom sears.
Ah, virtue honored fares,
Victorious o’er dread and fears:
O faith from those dying lips!
O love of that failing voice!
In your faintness pure eclipse
A thousand sermons choice.
Be hushed, O million sounds,
Ye tireless wheels be still!
For we all have a share in those wounds,
That our bosoms with anguish fill.
Ah, reverence glideth its rounds
With a sad and tremulous thrill:
Let us lay our leader to rest,
Our chieftain, faithful and great,
Enshrined in our hearts, ever blest,
Who gave his life for the state!