Classic and Contemporary Poetry
WILLIAM MCKINLEY, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: He said: it is god's way
Last Line: To glory here -- and there.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Death; God; Mckinley, William (1843-1901); Nations; Patriotism; Soldiers; Dead, The
HE said: "It is God's way:
His will, not ours be done."
And o'er our land a shadow lay
That darkened all the sun.
The voice of jubilee
That gladdened all the air,
Fell sudden to a quavering key
Of suppliance and prayer.
He was our chief -- our guide --
Sprung of our common Earth,
From youth's long struggle proved and tried
To manhood's highest worth:
Through toil, he knew all needs
Of all his toiling kind --
The favored striver who succeeds --
The one who falls behind.
The boy's young faith he still
Retained through years mature --
The faith to labor, hand and will,
Nor doubt the harvest sure --
The harvest of man's love --
A nation's joy that swells
To heights of Song, or deeps whereof
But sacred silence tells.
To him his Country seemed
Even as a Mother, where
He rested -- slept; and once he dreamed --
As on her bosom there --
And thrilled to hear, within
That dream of her, the call
Of bugles and the clang and din
Of war. . . . And o'er it all
His rapt eyes caught the bright
Old Banner, winging wild
And beck'ning him, as to the fight . . .
When -- even as a child --
He wakened -- And the dream
Was real! And he leapt
As led the proud Flag through a gleam
Of tears the Mother wept.
His was a tender hand --
Even as a woman's is --
And yet as fixed, in Right's command,
As this bronze hand of his:
This was the Soldier brave --
This was the Victor fair --
This is the Hero Heaven gave
To glory here -- and There.
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