Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Monody On The Death Of Wendell Phillips - Poem by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
One by one they go
Into the unknown dark--
Star-lit brows of the brave,
Voices that drew men's souls.
Rich is the land, O Death!
Can give you dead like our dead!--
Such as he from whose hand
The magic web of romance
Slipt, and the art was lost!
Such as he who erewhile--
The last of the Titan brood--
With his thunder the Senate shook;
Or he who, beside the Charles,
Untoucht of envy or hate,
Tranced the world with his song;
Or that other, that grey-eyed seer
Who in pastoral Concord ways
With Plato and Hâfiz walked.
Not of these was the man
Whose wraith, through the mists of night,
Through the shuddering wintry stars,
Has passed to eternal morn.
Fit were the moan of the sea
And the clashing of cloud on cloud
For the passing of that soul!
Ever he faced the storm!
No weaver of rare romance,
No patient framer of laws,
No maker of wondrous rhyme,
No bookman wrapt in his dream.
His was the voice that rang
In the fight like a bugle-call,
And yet could be tender and low
As when, on a night in June,
The hushed wind sobs in the pines.
His was the eye that flashed
With a sabre's azure gleam,
Pointing to heights unwon!
Not for him were these days
Of clerky and sluggish calm--
To the petrel the swooping gale!
Austere he seemed, but the hearts
Of all men beat in his breast;
No fetter but galled his wrist,
No wrong that was not his own.
What if those eloquent lips
Curled with the old-time scorn?
What if in needless hours
His quick hand closed on the hilt?
'T was the smoke from the well-won fields
That clouded the vetran's eyes.
A fighter this to the end.
Ah, if in coming times
Some giant evil arise,
And Honor falter and pale,
His were a name to conjure with!
God send his like again!
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