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George Pope Morris

(1802-1864 / USA)

Champions Of Liberty.


The pride of all our chivalry,
The name of Worth will stand,
While throbs the pulse of liberty
Within his native land:
The wreath his brow was formed to wear,
A nation's tears will freshen there.

The young companion of his fame,
In war and peace allied,
With garlands woven round his name,
Reposes at his side:
Duncan, whose deeds for evermore
Will live amid his cannon's roar.

Gates, in his country's quarrel bold,
When she to arms appealed,
Sought like the Christian knights of old,
His laurels on the field:
Where victory rent the welkin-dome,
He earned--a sepulchre at home.

The drum-beat of the bannered brave,
The requiem and the knell,
The volley o'er the soldier's grave,
His comrades' last farewell,
Are tributes rendered to the dead,
And sermons to the living read.

But there's a glory brighter far
Than all that earth has given;
A beacon, like the index-star,
That points the way to heaven:
It is a life well spent--its close
The cloudless sundown of repose.

That such was theirs for whom we mourn,
These obsequies attest;
And though in sorrow they are borne
Unto their final rest,
A guide will their example be
To future champions of the free.

Submitted: Wednesday, October 06, 2010

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