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zens of the same country, members of the same government, united, all united now and united forever. There have been difficulties, contentions, and controversies, but I tell you that in my judgment
“‘Those opposed eyes,
John TEMPLE GRAVES
HENRY W. GRADY
[Eulogy by J. T. Graves, Southern editor and orator (born in Willington, S. C., November 9, 1856; ), delivered in Atlanta, Ga., December 26, 1889.]
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:—I am one among the thousands who loved Henry W. Grady, and I stand with the millions who lament his death. I loved him in the promise of his glowing youth, when across my boyish vision he walked with winning grace from easy effort to success. I loved him in the flush of splendid manhood, when a nation hung upon his words, and now I love him best of all as he lies out yonder under the December skies, with face as tranquil and with smile as sweet as patriot ever wore.
In this sweet and solemn hour all the rare and kindly adjectives that blossomed in the shining pathway of his pen seem to have come from every quarter of the continent to lay themselves in loving tribute at their master's feet; but rich as is the music that they bring, the cadences of all our eulogies sigh—
And here to-day, within this hall, glorified by the echoes of his eloquence, standing to answer the impulse of my heart to the roll-call of his friends, and stricken with the emptiness of words, I know that when the finger of death touched those eyelids into sleep there gathered a silence on the only lips that could weave the sunlit story of his days or mete sufficient eulogy to the incomparable richness of his life.
I agree with Patrick Collins that he was the most brilliant son of this Republic. No eloquence has equaled his since Sargent Prentiss faded from the earth. No pen has ploughed such noble furrow in his country's fallow fields since the wrist of Horace Greeley rested. No age of the Republic has witnessed such marvelous conjunction of a magic pen with the velvet splendor of a mellow tongue, and though the warlike rival of these wonderful forces never rose within his life, it is writ of all his living that the noble fires of his genius were lighted in his boyhood from the gleam that died upon his father's sword. I have loved to follow and I love to follow now the pathway of that diamond pen as it flashed like an inspiration over every phase of life in Georgia. It touched the sick body of a desolate and despairing agriculture with the impulse of a better method, and the farmer, catching the glow of promise in Grady's words, left off sighing and went to singing in his fields, until at last the better day has come, and as the sunshine melts into his harvest with the tender rain, the heart of humanity is glad in his hope, and the glow on his fields seems the smile of the Lord. That pen's brave point went with cheerful prophecy into the ranks of toil, until the workman at his anvil felt the dignity of labor pulse through the sombre routine of the hours, and the curse of Adam, softening in the faith of saving sentences, became the blessing and the comfort of his days. Into the era of practical politics it dashed with the grace of an earlier chivalry, and in an age of pushing and unseemly scramble it woke the spirit of a loftier sentiment, while around the glow of splendid narrative there grew a goodlier company of youth, linked to the Republic's nobler legends and holding fast that generous loyalty that builds the highest bulwark of the state. Long after his pen had blazed his way to eminence he waked the power of that surpassing oratory that has bettered the sentiment of all his country and enriched the ripe vocabulary of the world. Nothing in the history of human speech can equal the stately steppings of his eloquence into glory. In a single night he caught the heart of the country in his warm embrace and leaped from a banquet revelry into national fame. It is, at last, the crowning evidence of his genius that he held to the end, unbroken, the high fame so easily won, and sweeping from triumph unto triumph without one leaf of his laurels withered, died yesterday the foremost orator of all the world. If I should seek to touch the inward source of all his greatness, I would lay my hand upon his heart. There was the furnace wherein he fused his glowing speech. Love bore his messages to the world, and the honest throb of human sympathies kept him responsive to all things great and true. Through him and through his manly eloquence the sections were learning to see each other more clearly and to love each other better. He was melting bitterness in the warmth of his patriotic fervors, sections were being linked in the logic of his liberality, and when he died he was loving a nation into peace. Fit and dramatic climax to a glorious mission that he should have lived to carry the South's last message to the center of the nation's culture, and then, with the gracious answer to his transcendent service locked in his loyal heart, come home to die among the people he had served Fitter still that, as he walked in final triumph through the streets of his beloved city, he should have caught upon his kingly brow that wreath of Southern roses—richer jewels than Victoria wears—plucked by the hands of Georgia women, borne by the hands of Georgia men, and flung about him with a tenderness that crowned him for his burial—that in the unspeakable fragrance of Georgia's full and sweet approval he might “wrap the drapery of his couch about him and lie down to pleasant dreams.” I thank God, as I stand above my buried friend, there is not one ignoble memory in all the shining pathway of his fame. In all the glorious gifts that God Almighty gave him, not one was ever bent in willing service in unworthy cause. He lived to make the world about him better. With his splendid might he helped to build a happier, heartier, and more wholesome sentiment among his kind. And in fondness mixed with reverence, I believe that the Christ of Calvary, who died for men, has given welcome sweet to one who fleshed in his person the spirit of the new commandment and spent his life in glorious living for his race. O brilliant and incomparable Grady! We lay for a season thy precious dust beneath the soil that bore and cherished thee, but we fling back against our brightening skies the thoughtless speech that calls thee dead. God reigns and his purpose lives; and though thy brave lips are silent here, the seeds of thy fruitful eloquence will spring up and bring forth patriots through the years to come, who shall perpetuate thy spirit in a race of nobler men. If we would speak the eulogy that fills this day, let us build within this city that he loved a monument tall as his services and lasting as the place he occupied. No fire that can be kindled on the altar of speech can relume the radiant spark that perished yesterday. No blaze born in all our eulogy can burn beside the sunlight of his useful life. I have seen at midnight the gleaming headlight of a giant locomotive, rushing onward through the darkness, heedless of danger and uncertainty, and I have thought the spectacle grand. I have seen the light come over the eastern hills in glory, driving the lazy darkness, like mist before a sea-born gale, till leaf and tree and blade of grass sparkled as myriad diamonds in the morning rays, and I have thought that it was grand. I have seen the lightning leap at midnight athwart the storm-swept sky, shivering over chaotic clouds, mid howling winds, till cloud and darkness and the shadow-haunted earth flashed into midday splendor, and I have known that it was grand. But the grandest thing, next to the radiance that flows from the Almighty's throne, is the light of a noble and beautiful life, shining in benediction upon the destinies of men, and finding its home in the bosom of the Everlasting God.