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April 19, 1875.
MEN leave to-day their sordid quest for gold,
And, reverent, pause amid the dust and strife,
To hail the heroes, who, in days of old,
Lost their own lives to give their country life.
With sturdy might our fathers struck the blow,
And, all unconscious, their great work began;
A hundred years have passed away, and lo!
That little band leads on a nation's van.
A thousand feet, where once they forced their way,
Follow, and fight their battles o'er again;
While their old homes recall, with banners gay,
Each brave exploit of those intrepid men.
Sweet voices raise a paean o'er the dead,
Fair hands delight to weave them blossoms fair,
Kind hearts beat fast, and light feet gently tread
The hallowed ground beneath a sacred air.
The orator, with golden words of praise
Upon his lips, inspires the listening throng.
The poet bows his silver locks, and lays
On the loved shrine his choicest gift of song.
Howe'er debased by mean and paltry arts,
Men still will give the patriot soul his meed.
For evermore there lives in human hearts
A sympathy that shares each noble deed.
O blessed souls, if ye to-day can turn
Your eyes from yonder heavens unto the sod
Your blood has hallowed, how your thoughts must burn
With gratitude to Him who led you, God!
Where once that blood was shed, the blossoms spring
And fragrance breathes o'er all the weary earth.
Your groans have made the world with gladness sing,
Your death has been a grateful nation's birth!
O, welcome death, that wafts the soul to fame,
And groans, that many lips with music fill;
For Freedom links with hers your deathless name,
And land to land sends back the echo still.
T. C. P.
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