James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

John Brown - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Writ in between the lines of his life-deed
We trace the sacred service of a heart
Answering the Divine command, in every part
Bearing on human weal: His love did feed
The loveless; and his gentle hands did lead
The blind, and lift the weak, and balm the smart
Of other wounds than rankled at the dart
In his own breast, that gloried thus to bleed.
He served the lowliest first--nay, them alone--
The most despised that e'er wreaked vain breath
In cries of suppliance in the reign whereat
Red Guilt sate squat upon her spattered throne.--
For these doomed there it was he went to death.
God! how the merest man loves one like that!


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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