Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
832. The Death of Grant
 
By Ambrose Bierce
 
 
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        5
    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;        10
    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,        15
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.        20
 
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,        25
    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;        30
    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        35
Thy servant’s soul in Paradise.
 

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