Who knew the path, and yet forbore
To tread, till all men should implore;
Who saw the light, and led the way
Where the gray world might greet the day;
Father and leader, prophet sure,
Whose will in vast works shall endure,
How shall we praise him on this day of days,
Great son of fame who has no need of praise?
How shall we praise him? Open wide
Of the fair temple whose broad base he laid.
Through its white halls a shadowy cavalcade
Of heroes moves o’er unresounding floors—
Men whose brawned arms upraised these columns high,
And reared the towers that vanish in the sky,—
The strong who, having wrought, can never die.
* * * * *
BY HENRY THEODORE TUCKERMAN
The quarry whence thy form majestic sprung
Has peopled earth with grace,
Heroes and gods that elder bards have sung,
A bright and peerless race;
But from its sleeping veins ne’er rose before
A shape of loftier name
Than his, who Glory’s wreath with meekness wore,
The noblest son of Fame.
Sheathed is the sword that Passion never stained;
His gaze around is cast,
As if the joys of Freedom, newly gained,
Before his vision passed;
As if a nation’s shout of love and pride
With music filled the air,
And his calm soul was lifted on the tide
Of deep and grateful prayer;
As if the crystal mirror of his life
To fancy sweetly came,
With scenes of patient toil and noble strife,
Undimmed by doubt or shame;
As if the lofty purpose of his soul
Expression would betray—
The high resolve Ambition to control,
And thrust her crown away!
O, it was well in marble firm and white
To carve our hero’s form,
Whose angel guidance was our strength in fight,
Our star amid the storm!
Whose matchless truth has made his name divine
And human freedom sure,
His country great, his tomb earth’s dearest shrine.
While man and time endure!
And it is well to place his image there
Upon the soil he blest:
Let meaner spirits, who its councils share,
Revere that silent guest!
Let us go up with high and sacred love
To look on his pure brow,
And as, with solemn grace, he points above,
Renew the patriot’s vow!
Extract from an address by President Gary of the Union League Club, at the celebration of Washington’s Birthday at the Auditorium, Chicago, February 22, 1900