John Gardiner Calkins Brainard

(1796-1828 / the United States)

On The Birthday Of Washington - Poem by John Gardiner Calkins Brainard

' Hic cinis — ubique fama.'
Behold the mossed corner-stone dropped from the wall,
And gaze on its date — but remember its fall,
And hope that some hand may replace it;
Think not of its pride when with pomp it was laid,
But weep for the ruin its absence has made,
And the lapse of the years that efface it.
Mourn WASHINGTON'S death, when ye think of his birth,
And far from your thoughts be the lightness of mirth,
And far from your cheek be its smile.
To-day he was born — 't was a loan — not a gift:
The dust of his body is all that is left,
To hallow his funeral pile.
Flow gently, Potomac! thou washest away
The sands where he trod, and the turf where he lay,
When youth brushed his cheek with her wing;
Breathe softly, ye wild winds, that circle around
That dearest, and purest, and holiest ground,
Ever pressed by the footprints of Spring.
Each breeze be a sigh, and each dewdrop a tear,
Each wave be a whispering monitor near,
To remind the sad shore of his story;
And darker, and softer, and sadder the gloom
Of that evergreen mourner, that bends o'er the tomb
Where WASHINGTON sleeps in his glory.
Great GOD! when the spirit of freedom shall fail,
And the sons of the Pilgrims, in sorrow, bewail
Their religion and liberty gone;
O! send back a form that shall stand as he stood,
Unsubdued by the tempest, unmoved by the flood;
And to THEE be the glory alone.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 18, 2010

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