Source: William McKinley: Character Sketches of America’s Martyred Chieftain
Source type: book
Document type: poem
Document title: “‘O Grave! Where Is Thy Victory?’”
Author(s): Wilson, John Grosvenor
Compiler(s): Benedict, Charles E.
Publisher: Blanchard Press
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: [1901?]
|Wilson, John Grosvenor. “‘O Grave! Where Is Thy Victory?’” William McKinley: Character Sketches of America’s Martyred Chieftain. Comp. Charles E. Benedict. New York: Blanchard Press, [1901?]: pp. 200-01.|
|McKinley assassination (poetry); William McKinley (death: poetry); William McKinley (mourning: poetry); anarchism (poetry); McKinley funeral services (poetry).|
From title page: William McKinley: Character Sketches of America’s Martyred Chieftain; Sermons and Addresses Delivered by the Pastor of St. James M. E. Church, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, N. Y., and Addresses by Brooklyn Pastors and Other Prominent Ministers and Laymen, Portraying the Character of Our Late Lamented President.
From title page: Compiled by Charles E. Benedict.
“O Grave! Where Is Thy Victory?”
In bitter, voiceless, unavailing grief,
The Nation mourns its Chief—
And reverent bends
While on the land the hush of death descends.
Dead! the simple, kindly man:
Dead! the plain republican;
Dead! the great American;
In flower of manhood and renown
By cruel treason stricken down.
No noble life was ever spent in vain;
The martyr suffers that the cause may gain;
God’s path is through the deep—
And we who weep
The hero lost, shall reap
Fruit of his sowing, though the sower sleep.
The Nation mourns its Chief
In bitter, voiceless, unavailing grief.
Be ours the lot to follow where he led;
Here in the sacred presence of the dead
Let us take oath that Liberty and Law—
Twin safeguards by our ancestors ordained—
Shall, without flaw,
Be faithfully maintained.
But let us also swear
To hunt the mad beast, Anarchy, where’er
He burrows, venomous with lust of blood,
Treading to mud
All holy things, befouling humankind,
Unclean, corrupt, with hate and envy blind—
Anathema on him declare—
So, brothers, let us swear.
But let us not in righteous wrath forget
Justice is passionless and even-handed,
The vilest felon shall discharge his debt
In orderly procedure as commanded:
Till every voice repeat with awe—
“Thus saith the Law.” 
Now lift our martyr up
Who hath drained the bitter cup,
Who hath said, “God’s will is best”;
Let us bear him to his rest,
Give him all the honors due
To a soldier tried and true,
To a statesman broad and great,
To a father of the people and a chieftain of the State.
Party passion disappears,
All the Nation is in tears,
See the little children sobbing,
Women’s tender hearts are throbbing
As they think of her he left,
Of his loving care bereft
In her weakness and her need;
And the sterner hearts of men with pity bleed.
With stately solemn ceremonies pay
Our tribute of respect to his poor clay;
Let guns salute and muffled drums resound,
That all may know he passes, homeward bound;
Halfmast the flags and toll the funeral bells,
While chant of dirge and anthem upward swells;
The great Republic sorrows for her son,
But after all is done,
Know that the form we lay beneath the sod
Is but the broken prison
Of the bright soul arisen
In joy to life eternal and to God.
O, mystery beyond our ken!