—O larger England o’er the wave,
Larger, not greater, yet!—With joy
Of generous hearts ye hail’d the Boy
Who bow’d before the sacred grave,
With Love’s fair freight across the sea
Sped from the Fatherland to thee!
And Freedom on that Empire-throne
Blest in his Mother’s rule revered,
On popular love a kingdom rear’d,
And rooted in the years unknown,—
Land rich in old Experience’ store
And holy legacies of yore,
And youth eternal, ever-new,—
From the high heaven look’d out:—and saw
This other later realm of Law,
Of that old household first-born true,
And lord of half a world!—and smiled
Upon the nations reconciled.
The date prefixed is that of the visit which the Prince of Wales paid to the tomb of Washington: carrying home thence, as one of the most distinguished of his hosts said, ’an unwritten treaty of amity and alliance.’
Mount Vernon on the Potomac, named after the Admiral, was the family seat of Augustine, father to George Washington, and the residence of the latter from 1752. But all his early years also had been spent in that neighbourhood, in those country pursuits which formed his ideal of life: and thither, on resigning his commission as Commander-in-Chief, he retired in 1785; devoting himself to farming and gardening with all the strenuousness and devoted passion of a Roman of Vergil’s type. And there (Dec. 1799) was he buried.
Not eager; When the ill-feeling between England and America deepened after 1765, Washington ’was less eager than some others in declaring or declaiming against the mother country;’ (Mahon: Hist. ch. lii).
Ripe to wed with Liberty; See Appendix G.
And to the end; See Petrarch’s beautiful lines: Trionfo della Morte, cap. I.
Due to the Liberator; Compare the epitaph by Ennius on Scipio:
Hic est ille situs, cui nemo civi’
Quivit pro factis reddere opis pretium.
History, it may be said with reasonable confidence, records no hero more unselfish, no one less stained with human error and frailty, than George Washington.
The years unknown; It is to Odin, whatever date be thereby signified, that our royal genealogy runs back.
In the drear November gloom
And the long December night,
There were omens of affright,
And prophecies of doom;
And the golden lamp of life burn’d spectre-dim,
Till Love could hardly mark
The little sapphire spark
That only made the dark
More dark and grim.
There not around alone
Watch’d sister, brother, wife,
And she who gave him life,
White as if wrought in stone
Unheard, invisible, by the bed of death
Stood eager millions by;
And as the hour drew nigh,
Dreading to see him die,
Held their breath.