Source: Ohio Archæological and Historical Publications
Source type: journal
Document type: poem
Document title: “The Sorrow of the Nations: In Memoriam Wm. McKinley”
Author(s): Smith, John P.
Date of publication: January 1902
Volume number: 10
Issue number: 3
|Smith, John P. “The Sorrow of the Nations: In Memoriam Wm. McKinley.” Ohio Archæological and Historical Publications Jan. 1902 v10n3: pp. 385-87.|
|McKinley assassination (poetry); William McKinley (death: poetry); Ida McKinley (poetry); anarchism (poetry).|
“By John P. Smith, Sharpsburg, Maryland.”
“Corresponding Member of the Maryland Historical Society and of the Ohio State Archæological and Historical Society.”
The Sorrow of the Nations
In Memoriam Wm. McKinley
There’s darkness over every land—
Man takes his fellow by the hand,
The hearts of men now almost fail;
For all the earth is one sad wail.
There’s sorrow in the hut and hall,
Our land’s enshrouded with a pall;
The bells of death do sadly toll
The grief that overwhelms the soul.
Loved Britain’s king of grace and worth,
The millions high or low in birth,
The proudest thrones of royal power,
Are one with us in sorrow’s hour.
’Tis not that bloody-handed war—
Nor pestilence has swept our shore;
Our nation’s head has fallen now,
Oh, God! to Thee in grief we bow.
O cruel, vile, accursed blow—
That laid our loved McKinley low;
The world’s great soul is bowed with grief,
O Father! is there no relief?
Despite the earnest prayers and tears,
Despite the hopeful signs and fears;
The protest o’er our hero’s fall,
Death cometh to him after all.
The kneeling millions wonder why
A righteous God should let him die;
Unceasing prayers for him ascend,
Our President, the nation’s friend. 
Thy fondest hopes were born to fade,
Thy beauty in the dust was laid;
Sleep, sainted spirit, sweetly sleep,
While countless thousands for thee weep.
O’er brightest scenes dark clouds descend,
Each glorious day has its swift end;
The flame soars high but for to fall,
Night cometh to each one and all.
The bloom of beauty we possess—
Though love and life make tearfulness,
The shadow of the funeral pall;
Is death which cometh after all.
We love to think, though lost to view,
Of one so noble, grand and true,
Our President to us so dear,
Beloved by nations far and near.
We know that thou hast entered rest,
With all the blood washed thou art blest;
In realms of Amaranthine bowers,
The gain is thine, the loss is ours.
“God’s will be done,” thy sainted breath
Proclaimed it in the hour of death,
Bright seraph angels beckon me,
“Nearer my Father, God, to Thee.”
Thus with thy last expiring breath,
Thy spirit triumphed over death,
The victory gained, the crown is won,
Eternal life through God’s dear Son.
For her who shared his hopes and fears—
His solace in declining years,
Oh, God! be Thou her strength and stay
Through this her melancholy day,
Conduct her safe, conduct her far
Through every ill and hurtful snare,
And when the storms of sorrow lower
Be near her with thy gracious power. 
Mysterious is our father’s way
Though we journey day by day,
Behind the clouds his face divine,
Like noonday’s sun effulgent shine.
Be calm, my heart, and question not
The seeming strangeness of the lot,
Whate’er our Father God ordains,
We know the Lord Jehovah reigns.
Father, protect our native land
From anarchy’s accursed hand;
Defend the lives of rulers dear
From day to day, from year to year.
Blot out foul anarchistic stain,
Let not a trace of it remain,
For traitors on this nation’s sod,
Are traitors to Almighty God.