Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DEATH OF GRANT, by AMBROSE BIERCE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE DEATH OF GRANT, by             Poem Explanation     Poet's Biography
First Line: Father! Whose hard and cruel law / is part of thy compassion's plan
Last Line: Thy servant's soul in paradise.
Subject(s): American Civil War; Grant, Ulysses Simpson (1822-1885); Holidays; Memorial Day; United States - History; Declaration Day

FATHER! whose hard and cruel law
Is part of thy compassion's plan,
Thy works presumptuously we scan
For what the prophets say they saw.

Unbidden still, the awful slope
Walling us in, we climb to gain
Assurance of the shining plain
That faith has certified to hope.

In vain: beyond the circling hill
The shadow and the cloud abide;
Subdue the doubt, our spirits guide
To trust the Record and be still;

To trust it loyally as he
Who, heedful of his high design,
Ne'er raised a seeking eye to thine,
But wrought thy will unconsciously,

Disputing not of chance or fate,
Nor questioning of cause or creed:
For anything but duty's deed
Too simply wise, too humbly great.

The cannon syllabled his name;
His shadow shifted o'er the land,
Portentous, as at his command
Successive cities sprang to flame!

He fringed the continent with fire,
The rivers ran in lines of light!
Thy will be done on earth -- if right
Or wrong he cared not to inquire.

His was the heavy hand, and his
The service of the despot blade;
His the soft answer that allayed
War's giant animosities.

Let us have peace: our clouded eyes
Fill, Father, with another light,
That we may see with clearer sight
Thy servant's soul in Paradise.

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