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For ardent girls and boys
270 Who find no genius in a mind so clear

That its grave depths seem obvious and near,
Nor a soul great that made so little noise.
They feel no force in that calm-cadenced phrase,

The habitual full-dress of his well-bred mind, 275 That seems to pace the minuet's courtly maze And tell of ampler leisures, roomier length of

His firm-based brain, to self so little kind
That no tumultuary lood could blind,

Formed to control men, not amaze, 280 Looms not like those that borrow height of haze:

It was a world of statelier movement then
Than this we fret in, he a denizen
Of that ideal Rome that made a man for men.



The longer on this earth we live
285 And weigh the various qualities of men,

Seeing how most are fugitive,
Or fitful gifts, at best, of now and then,
Wind-wavered corpse-lights, daughters of the fen,

The more we feel the high stern-featured beauty 290 Of plain devotedness to duty,

Steadfast and still, nor paid with mortal praise,
But finding amplest recompense
For life's ungarlanded expense

In work done squarely and unwasted days. 288. The daughters of the fen, — will-o'-the-wisps. The Welsh call the same phenomenon corpse-lights, because it was supposed to forbode death, and to show the road that the corpse rould take.

295 For this we honor him, that he could know

How sweet the service and how free
Of her, God's eldest daughter here below,
And choose in meanest raiment which was she.


Placid completeness, life without a fall 300 From faith or highest aims, truth's breachless

Surely if any fame can bear the touch,
His will say “ Here!” at the last trumpet's call,
The unexpressive man whose life expressed so



Never to see a nation born
305 Hath been given to mortal man,

Unless to those who, on that summer morn,
Gazed silent when the great Virginian
Unsheathed the sword whose fatal flash

Shot union through the incoherent clash 310 Of our loose atoms, crystallizing them

Around a single will's unpliant stem,
And making purpose of emotion rash.
Out of that scabbard sprang, as from its womb,

Nebulous at first but hardening to a star, 315 Through mutual share of sunburst and of gloom,

The common faith that made us what we are.


That lifted bla de transformed our jangling clans,
Till then provincial, to Americans,
And made a unity of wildering plans;

320 Ilere was the doom fixed: here is marked the date

When the New World awoke to man's estate,
Burnt its last ship and ceased to look behind:
Nor thoughtless was the choice; no love or hate

Could from its poise move that deliberate mind, 325 Weighing between too early and too late

Those pitfalls of the man refused by Fate:
His was the impartial vision of the great
Who see not as they wish, but as they find.

He saw the dangers of defeat, nor less 330 The incomputable perils of success;

The sacred past thrown by, an empty rind;
The future, cloud-land, snare of prophets blind;
The waste of war, the ignominy of peace;

On either hand a sullen rear of woes,
335 Whose garnered lightnings none could guess,
Piling its thunder-heads and muttering

16 Cease!" Yet drew not back his hand, but bravely chose The seeming-desperate task whence our new nation


A noble choice and of immortal seed!
340 Nor deem that acts heroic wait on chance

Or easy were as in a boy's romance;
The man's whole life preludes the single deed
That shall decide if his inheritance

Be with the sifted few of matchless breed, 345 Our race's sap and sustenance, Or with the unmotived herd that only sleep and

feed. Choice seems a thing indifferent; thus or so, What matters it? The Fates with mocking face

Look on inexorable, nor seem to know 350 Where the lot lurks that gives life s foremost



Yet Duty's leaden casket holds it still,
And but two ways are offered to our will,
Toil with rare triumph, ease with safe disgrace,

The problem still for us and all of human race. 355 He chose, as men choose, where most danger

Nor ever faltered 'neath the load
Of petty cares, that gall great hearts the most,
But kept right on the strenuous up-hill road,

Strong to the end, above complaint or boast : 360 The popular tempest on his rock-mailed coast

Wasted its wind-borne spray,
The noisy marvel of a day;
His soul sate still in its unstormed abode.


Virginia gave us this imperial man 365 Cast in the massive mould

Of those high-statured ages old
Which into grander forms our mortal metal ran;
She gave us this unblemished gentleman:

What shall we give her back but love and praise 370 As in the dear old unestrangèd days

Before the inevitable wrong began?
Mother of States and undiminished men,
Thou gavest us a country, giving him,

And we owe alway what we owed thee then: 375 The boon thou wouldst have snatched from us

Shines as before with no abatement dim.

A great man's memory is the only thing 351. See Shakspere's play of The Merchant of Venice with ts three caskets of gold, silver, and lead, from which the suiton of Portia were to choose fate.

With influence to outlast the present whim

And bind us as when here he knit our golden ring. 380 All of him that was subject to the hours

Lies in thy soil and makes it part of ours:
Across more recent graves,
Where unresentful Nature waves

Her pennons o'er the shot-ploughed sod, 385 Proclaiming the sweet Truce of God,

We from this consecrated plain stretch out
Our hands as free from afterthought or doubt
As here the united North

Poured her embrownèd manhood forth 390 In welcome of our saviour and thy son.

Through battle we have better learned thy worth,
The long-breathed valor and undaunted will,
Which, like his own, the day's disaster done,

Could, safe in manhood, suffer and be still. 395 Both thine and ours the victory hardly won;

If ever with distempered voice or pen
We have misdeemed thee, here we take it back,
And for the dead of both don common black.

Be to us evermore as thou wast then, 400 As we forget thou hast not always been,

Mother of States and unpolluted men,
Virginia, fitly named from England's manly queen!

385. See noe to p. 216 1. 741.

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