Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON, ON THE DEATH OF GARFIELD, SEPTEMBER, 1881, by ROBERT UNDERWOOD JOHNSON



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TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON, ON THE DEATH OF GARFIELD, SEPTEMBER, 1881, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Poet of every soul that grieves
Last Line: This burden from the people's heart!
Subject(s): Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803-1882); Garfield, James Abram (1831-1881)


POET of every soul that grieves
O'er death untimely: whose lament
Lights up the farthest Dark, and leaves
A bow across the heavens bent:

Dead in an upper room doth lie
A nation's hero; can it be
Thy ear too faintly hears the cry
The West wind utters to the sea?

Thy Concord paean may have caught
Glow from an elder Garfield's name:
What fitter aureole could be sought
For such a son than such a flame!

Bard of the Human: since we yearn
For that one manly heart in vain,
Forgive the reverent eyes that turn
Toward the low stream in Concord plain.

Warned by the favoring touch of Death,
Thy Nunc Dimittis thou hast sung;
No more the thunder's stormy breath
Shall sweep the lyre with lightnings strung.

And yet, for him, remains -- unsigned,
Unspoken -- all thy noble praise,
When (port more worth the cruise!) thou find
His sail beyond the final haze;

But us? ..... O Seer, to whose gift
Looms large the Future's better part,
What other prophet voice shall lift
This burden from the people's heart!





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