Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
Peace—and Honor
By Herman C. Merivale
HUSHED are the sounds of party-strife
  In reverence round the quiet bed,
As all the busy streams of Life
  Seem stayed beside one spirit fled:
And England sends the message on,        5
To West and East,—a great man gone.
He, but a few short days ago
  Held in a nation’s half-mistrust,
Here feared, there followed, lying low,
  Where all may trample on his dust,        10
Lies safe with laurels round his brow,—
His party’s then, his England’s now.
Strong loves he conquered on his way,
  Strong as the enmities he woke,
And the loosed passions of the day        15
  In praise and anger round him broke:
Anger and Enmity’s o’erthrown,
Death has for sister, Love alone.
Men called him alien, deemed him set
  On dreams of empire not of ours,        20
And prone true empire to forget
  In the long clash of jarring powers:
But England’s ’scutcheon blazons still
The motto of his life,—I will.
In steady purpose, steady toil,        25
  He followed, and he won, the prize,
Which through the Senate’s fierce turmoil
  Lighted, but dazzled not, his eyes:
Nor rank, nor fortune, smoothed the course;
He dared, and conquered, and by force.        30
As patient as the great should be,
  As watchful as the purposed are,
He marked power’s ebbing, flowing sea,
  Now sparkling near, now murmuring far,
Till with strong hand he grasped the helm,        35
Through storm and shine to steer a realm.
And when, Life’s threescore years and ten
  In the long passage overpast,
He yielded up the helm again,
  He stood as steady to the last:        40
Not Cæsar’s robe, when Cæsar died,
Was folded with a calmer pride.
Calmly he gave the reins of State,
  As first he held them, self-possessed;
And undismayed, as unelate,        45
  Turned to the love once loved the best,
And wooed, from strife of tongues apart,
The Muse of Story to his heart.
So, England’s Minister, good-night!
  Nor praise, nor blame, can move thee now;        50
Safe from the fierce and public light
  Which beat upon thy vessel’s prow:
Thy place is with the great alone,
Not one’s nor other’s—England’s own.

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