Charles Sumner


        Garlands upon his grave,
        And flowers upon his hearse,
    And to the tender heart and brave
        The tribute of this verse.

        His was the troubled life,
        The conflict and the pain,
    The grief, the bitterness of strife,
        The honor without stain.

        Like Winkelried, he took
        Into his manly breast
    The sheaf of hostile spears, and broke
        A path for the oppressed.

        Then from the fatal field
        Upon a nation's heart
    Borne like a warrior on his shield!--
        So should the brave depart.

        Death takes us by surprise,
        And stays our hurrying feet;
    The great design unfinished lies,
        Our lives are incomplete.

        But in the dark unknown
        Perfect their circles seem,
    Even as a bridge's arch of stone
        Is rounded in the stream.

        Alike are life and death,
        When life in death survives,
    And the uninterrupted breath
        Inspires a thousand lives.

        Were a star quenched on high,
        For ages would its light,
    Still travelling downward from the sky,
        Shine on our mortal sight.

        So when a great man dies,
        For years beyond our ken,
    The light he leaves behind him lies
        Upon the paths of men.


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