Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: Harper’s Weekly
Source type: magazine
Document type: poem
Document title: “William McKinley”
Author(s): Lyon, Ernest Neal
Date of publication: 21 September 1901
Volume number: 45
Issue number: 2335
Pagination: 956

Lyon, Ernest Neal. “William McKinley.” Harper’s Weekly 21 Sept. 1901 v45n2335: p. 956.
full text
McKinley assassination (poetry); William McKinley (at Pan-American Exposition: poetry); anarchism (poetry).
Named persons


William McKinley



Again and thrice the Demon of the Dark—
The madman’s bullet—finds a noble mark.
Again and thrice the pathway of the brave
Must comrade with the martyr’s open grave!


How merrily is the “Welcome!” shout
     Blown on the autumn air!
There’s many a silken banner out,
     And garlands everywhere.
          Let bells be ringing,
          And children singing!
Let Music’s rhythmic beat
Echo to tramping feet,
And cannon-boom and trumpet-blare
Proclaim a people’s exultation—
A “Welcome!” to the ruler of the Nation!


Now, in oration, resonant and strong,
The honored leader tells the loyal throng
The stirring triumphs of the Nation’s story—
The upward pathway of the Nation’s glory:
Our war-dogs guard the highway of the seas,
While whitening sails follow on every breeze,
With all the needed merchandise of peace;
The teacher, ever-vigilant and kind,
Rears, stone by stone, the Temple of the Mind;
The Master’s messengers His conquest keep,
And win in tenderness the wandering sheep.


In every joy there breathes some serpent’s hiss,
And as to every Eden, so to this
Comes Anarchy, of Satan eldest-born,
Mothered by Ignorance, in Want forlorn,
Nourished by Cunning, energized by Hate,
Lifting its head to strike against the state,—
To strike (ah, dastard blow!) the good and great!
The hand outstretched in pity for its pain,
The heart that never would have felt in vain,
The head that thought so wisely and so true,
The man that was so strong—yet tender too,—
Had wrought so much, and yet had more to do!


Too long within our breast this Viper lay,
And shall he thus our charity betray?
Upon the altar where our leader fell
Let us together swear, and keep it well,
For righteous vengeance and for public weal,
To crush the Serpent ’neath Law’s iron heel!


We felt our nothingness in this eclipse,
We bowed in silence and with sealed lips;
But now in confidence we humbly pray,
Our Father, bring us all—leader and land—
By Thine all-pitying, all-uplifting hand,
Into the dawning of a fairer day!



top of page