Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, J.A.G, by JULIA WARD HOWE



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J.A.G, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Our sorrow sends its shadow round the earth
Last Line: The hero's garland his, the martyr's crown.
Subject(s): Assassination; Garfield, James Abram (1831-1881)


OUR sorrow sends its shadow round the earth.
So brave, so true! A hero from his birth!
The plumes of Empire moult, in mourning draped,
The lightning's message by our tears is shaped.

Life's vanities that blossom for an hour
Heap on his funeral car their fleeting flower.
Commerce forsakes her temples, blind and dim,
And pours her tardy gold, to homage him.

The notes of grief to age familiar grow
Before the sad privations all must know;
But the majestic cadence which we hear
To-day, is new in either hemisphere.

What crown is this, high hung and hard to reach,
Whose glory so outshines our laboring speech?
The crown of Honor, pure and unbetrayed;
He wins the spurs who bears the knightly aid.

While royal babes incipient empire hold,
And, for bare promise, grasp the sceptre's gold,
This man such service to his age did bring
That they who knew him servant, hailed him king.

In poverty his infant couch was spread;
His tender hands soon wrought for daily bread;
But from the cradle's bound his willing feet
The errand of the moment went to meet.

When learning's page unfolded to his view,
The quick disciple straight a teacher grew;
And, when the fight of freedom stirred the land,
Armed was his heart and resolute his hand.

Wise in the council, stalwart in the field!
Such rank supreme a workman's hut may yield.
His onward steps like measured marbles show,
Climbing the height where God's great flame doth glow.

Ah! Rose of joy, that hid'st a thorn so sharp!
Ah! Golden woof that meet'st a severed warp!
Ah! Solemn comfort that the stars rain down!
The hero's garland his, the martyr's crown.





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