Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
March 7
Ichabod
By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)
 
          Daniel Webster was an ardent lover of the Union and was ready to go to almost any length to preserve it. In his “Seventh of March” speech, 1850, he supported Clay’s compromise measures, to the great grief and indignation of his Northern friends. It has also been supposed that his desire to be nominated for President of the United States influenced him somewhat, but this speech cost him the adherence of the Abolition party.

SO fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
    Which once he wore!
The glory from his gray hairs gone
    For evermore!
 
Revile him not—the Tempter hath        5
    A snare for all!
And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
    Befit his fall!
 
O! dumb be passion’s stormy rage,
    When he who might        10
Have lighted up and led his age,
    Falls back in night.
 
Scorn! Would the angels laugh, to mark
    A bright soul driven,
Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark,        15
    From hope and Heaven?
 
Let not the land, once proud of him,
    Insult him now;
Nor brand with deeper shame his dim,
    Dishonored brow.        20
 
But let its humbled sons, instead,
    From sea to lake,
A long lament, as for the dead,
    In sadness make.
 
Of all we loved and honored, naught        25
    Save power remains—
A fallen angel’s pride of thought,
    Still strong in chains.
 
All else is gone; from those great eyes
    The soul has fled;        30
When faith is lost, when honor dies,
    The man is dead!
 
Then, pay the reverence of old days
    To his dead fame;
Walk backward, with averted gaze,        35
    And hide the shame!
 
 
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