A dusky wall; ’After a little time they stood behind a rampart of black and bloody corpses, and fired, with comparative security, over this bulwark:’ (Kaye: Sepoy War: B. V: ch. ii).
October 5: 1860
Before the hero’s grave he stood,
—A simple stone of rest, and bare
To all the blessing of the air,—
And Peace came down in sunny flood
From the blue haunts of heaven, and smiled
Upon the household reconciled.
—A hundred years have hardly flown
Since in this hermitage of the West
’Mid happy toil and happy rest,
Loving and loved among his own,
His days fulfill’d their fruitful round,
Seeking no move than what they found.
Sweet byways of the life withdrawn!
Yet here his country’s voice,—the cry
Of man for natural liberty,—
That great Republic in her dawn,
The immeasurable Future,—broke;
And to his fate the Leader woke.
Not eager, yet, the blade to bare
Before the Father-country’s eyes,—
—E’en if a parent’s rights, unwise,
With that bold Son he grudged to share,
In manhood strong beyond the sea,
And ripe to wed with Liberty!
—Yet O! when once the die was thrown,
With what unselfish patient skill,
Clear-piercing flame of changeless will,
The one high heart that moved alone
Sedate through the chaotic strife,—
He taught mankind the hero-life!
As when the God whom Pheidias moulds,
Clothed in marmoreal calm divine,
Veils all that strength ’neath beauty’s line,
All energy in repose enfolds;—
So He, in self-effacement great,
Magnanimous to endure and wait.
O Fabius of a wider world!
Master of Fate through self-control
And utter stainlessness of soul!
And when war’s weary sign was furl’d,
Prompt with both hands to welcome in
The white-wing’d Peace he warr’d to win!
Then, to that so long wish’d repose!
The liberal leisure of the farm,
The garden joy, the wild-wood charm;
Life ebbing to its perfect close
Like some white altar-lamp that pales
And self-consumed its light exhales.
No wrathful tempest smote its wing
Against life’s tender flickering flame;
No tropic gloom in terror came;
Slow waning as a summer-spring
The soul breathed out herself, and slept,
And to the end her beauty kept.
Then, as a mother’s love and fears
Throng round the child, unseen but felt,
So by his couch his nation knelt,
Loving and worshipping with her tears:—
Tears!—late amends for all that debt
Due to the Liberator yet!
For though the years their golden round
O’er all the lavish region roll,
And realm on realm, from pole to pole,
In one beneath thy stars be bound:
The far-off centuries as they flow,
No whiter name than this shall know!