Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
Personal Poems
To the Memory of Charles B. Storrs
          Late President of Western Reserve College, who died at his post of duty, overworn by his strenuous labors with tongue and pen in the cause of Human Freedom.

THOU hast fallen in thine armor,
  Thou martyr of the Lord!
With thy last breath crying “Onward!”
  And thy hand upon the sword.
The haughty heart derideth,        5
  And the sinful lip reviles,
But the blessing of the perishing
  Around thy pillow smiles!
When to our cup of trembling
  The added drop is given,        10
And the long-suspended thunder
  Falls terribly from Heaven,—
When a new and fearful freedom
  Is proffered of the Lord
To the slow-consuming Famine,        15
  The Pestilence and Sword!
When the refuges of Falsehood
  Shall be swept away in wrath,
And the temple shall be shaken,
  With its idol, to the earth,        20
Shall not thy words of warning
  Be all remembered then?
And thy now unheeded message
  Burn in the hearts of men?
Oppression’s hand may scatter        25
  Its nettles on thy tomb,
And even Christian bosoms
  Deny thy memory room;
For lying lips shall torture
  Thy mercy into crime,        30
And the slanderer shall flourish
  As the bay-tree for a time.
But where the south-wind lingers
  On Carolina’s pines,
Or falls the careless sunbeam        35
  Down Georgia’s golden mines;
Where now beneath his burthen
  The toiling slave is driven;
Where now a tyrant’s mockery
  Is offered unto Heaven;        40
Where Mammon hath its altars
  Wet o’er with human blood,
And pride and lust debases
  The workmanship of God,—
There shall thy praise be spoken,        45
  Redeemed from Falsehood’s ban,
When the fetters shall be broken,
  And the slave shall be a man!
Joy to thy spirit, brother!
  A thousand hearts are warm,        50
A thousand kindred bosoms
  Are baring to the storm.
What though red-handed Violence
  With secret Fraud combine?
The wall of fire is round us,        55
  Our Present Help was thine.
Lo, the waking up of nations,
  From Slavery’s fatal sleep;
The murmur of a Universe,
  Deep calling unto Deep!        60
Joy to thy spirit, brother!
  On every wind of heaven
The onward cheer and summons
  Of Freedom’s voice is given!
Glory to God forever!        65
  Beyond the despot’s will
The soul of Freedom liveth
  Imperishable still.
The words which thou hast uttered
  Are of that soul a part,        70
And the good seed thou hast scattered
  Is springing from the heart.
In the evil days before us,
  And the trials yet to come,
In the shadow of the prison,        75
  Or the cruel martyrdom,—
We will think of thee, O brother!
  And thy sainted name shall be
In the blessing of the captive,
  And the anthem of the free.


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