Oh Great Departed nations, nay, a race—
Beside thy dear sarcophagus, with faces wet
With tears, are mourning one who grandly died;
Not decked in warrior spoils; not one who dragged
A groaning train of conquered provinces
Behind his chariot. But one who led
The hemispheres in triumph at the wheels
Of peace. Not one who paid the price of death
For high Ambition’s bauble; one who bound
The laurel to his brow with heart strings. Nay,
But one who died with hands outstretched to bid
Us love and guard our liberties; and blessed
Us with his latest breath of pain, then laid
Him down to martyrdom.
No enemies thou hadst; but foeman, yes,
Who joined the battle with a foeman’s love
Of great antagonists. No garland on thy bier
Is laid with gentler high regard than blooms
That grew in hostile gardens. Ne’er a sob
Of comrade of the self-same standard pays
A truer tribute than the tears that fall
From eyes that loved another banner more.
Thy death doth pay the ransom of a cause
That rallies all the world beneath its flag.
The hand that snapped thy thread of life struck not
At thee. It knew no malice save the hate
Of Liberty. It sought that mighty heart
In Freedom’s ravished name—not thine. Beside
Thy catafalque we vow and consecrate
A new devotion to the heritage
Thy wounds have left us. From thy Calvary
Of pain, whereon, like Christ, thou died for all
Mankind, we lift and lay thy body to
Its sleep. Already is thy better part
Arisen and thy sacrifice is not in vain.
Thy life hath made the dead more dearly brave
By teaching us a higher love for what
They died for; and thy world-wept death hath made,
The living freer than we were.