Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Personal Poems
William Francis Bartlett
 
OH, well may Essex sit forlorn
  Beside her sea-blown shore;
Her well beloved, her noblest born,
  Is hers in life no more!
 
No lapse of years can render less        5
  Her memory’s sacred claim;
No fountain of forgetfulness
  Can wet the lips of Fame.
 
A grief alike to wound and heal,
  A thought to soothe and pain,        10
The sad, sweet pride that mothers feel
  To her must still remain.
 
Good men and true she has not lacked,
  And brave men yet shall be;
The perfect flower, the crowning fact,        15
  Of all her years was he!
 
As Galahad pure, as Merlin sage,
  What worthier knight was found
To grace in Arthur’s golden age
  The fabled Table Round?        20
 
A voice, the battle’s trumpet-note,
  To welcome and restore;
A hand, that all unwilling smote,
  To heal and build once more!
 
A soul of fire, a tender heart        25
  Too warm for hate, he knew
The generous victor’s graceful part
  To sheathe the sword he drew.
 
When Earth, as if on evil dreams,
  Looks back upon her wars,        30
And the white light of Christ outstreams
  From the red disk of Mars,
 
His fame who led the stormy van
  Of battle well may cease,
But never that which crowns the man        35
  Whose victory was Peace.
 
Mourn, Essex, on thy sea-blown shore
  Thy beautiful and brave,
Whose failing hand the olive bore,
  Whose dying lips forgave!        40
 
Let age lament the youthful chief,
  And tender eyes be dim;
The tears are more of joy than grief
  That fall for one like him!

  1878.
 
 
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