Publication information
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Source: Semi-Weekly Messenger
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Verse Suited to the Day”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Wilmington, North Carolina
Date of publication: 24 September 1901
Volume number: 34
Issue number: 77
Pagination: 2

“Verse Suited to the Day.” Semi-Weekly Messenger 24 Sept. 1901 v34n77: p. 2.
full text
William McKinley (poetry); William McKinley (death: poetry); William McKinley (mourning: poetry).
Named persons
David James Evans; John A. Joyce; William McKinley; Agnes Nourse; Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Click here to view a full-text version of the Ella Wheeler Wilcox poem excerpted below.


Verse Suited to the Day

     Of course in an age like the present when there are living in the United States perhaps 20,000 men and women addicted to the writing of verse, and the most of them with a certain felicity and melody, if not with distinct original conception, it is to be expected that the late dreadful tragedy, personal and national, will evoke multitudinous poems upon the most sad and far reaching event. The Messenger has had much about the dreadful, deadly, cruel work of the assassin and events following. But all this was in prose. We wish to reproduce here a few lines from different writers as to the “deep damnation of the taking off” of the Christian, most popular and widely revered President McKinley.
     Ella Wheeler Wilcox is we believe of southern birth. She sent a poem to the New York Journal. The last two stanzas (not “verse,” for that means but one line) are as follows:

He has raised the lover’s standard, by his loyalty and faith.
He has shown how virile manhood may keep free from scandal’s breath.
He has gazed, with trust unshaken, in the awful eye of death.

In the mighty march of progress he has sought to do his best.
Let his enemies be silent, as we lay him down to rest,
And may God assuage the anguish of one suffering woman’s breast.

     Some one wrote on “He Sleeps” in the Washington Post. The following stanzas are not without merit:

O, thou noble heart and grand, smiling from that nightless land,
Take my reverence and my grief as a tiny tribute leaf,
Just to lie beside thy hand.

As the fainting runner fell with the woe he strove to tell,
So the words grow dull and weak with the sorrow they would speak,
That thy people loved thee well.

     Agnes Nourse in the same paper contributes some stanzas. We give the conclusion:

Calm as the sun thy peace shall be
     Bright as the sun thy joy,
Bliss that is bountiful as he,
     Thy spirit shall employ.

Gone thy brief sway, but, thou hast said
     “Let God’s great kingdom come;”
Securely there thy feet shall tread,
     Thy heart shall find its home.

Thy voice in rapture there shall sing
     “Nearer, My God, to Thee,”
“Thy will be done,” triumphant ring
     Through all eternity.

     D. J. Evans sends to the Post a poem entitled “Ave Atque Vale”—Hail and Farewell! We copy the first and last stanza:

     The earth is full of tears! McKinley’s dead!
     Soul-anguished words! That plunged in dire distress
     A startled world! Who cry for swift redress
Unto the dastard spawns who flaunt the Red.

His work is done! He sleeps in plenteous Peace!
     He’s passed into the presence of the King!
     Ye wailing bells—a jubilee now ring—
Chime Hallelujahs! Let the Requiems cease!

     John A. Joyce contributes to The Post “Half-Mast the Flag.” The last stanza runs:

Half-mast the flag while our teardrops are falling
     Above his lone bier, ’neath the capitol dome,
While angels are soaring and singing and calling
     A welcoming chant to his heavenly Home.

     These are not memorable productions but they are suitable to this day of solemn humiliation and prayer. May the Holy Spirit’s power be felt in all of the hearts of our people.



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