With a Rose

That Bloomed on the Day of John Brown's Martyrdom

In the long silence of the night,
Nature's benignant power
Woke aspirations for the light
Within the folded flower.
Its presence and the gracious day
Made summer in the room,
While woman's eyes dropped tender dew
On the little rose in bloom.

Then blossomed forth a grander flower,
In the wilderness of wrong,
Untouched by Slavery's bitter frost,
A soul devout and strong.
God-watched, that century plant uprose,
Far shining through the gloom,
Filling a nation with the breath
Of a noble life in bloom.

A life so powerful in its truth,
A nature so complete,
It conquered ruler, judge and priest,
And held them at its feet.
Grim Death seemed proud to a soul
So beautifully given,
And the gallows only proved to him
A stepping-stone to heaven.

Each cheerful word, each valiant act,
So simple, so sublime,
Spoke to us through the reverent hush
Which sanctified that time.
That moment when the brave old man
Went so serenely forth,
With footsteps whose unfaltering tread
Re-echoed through the North.

The sword he wielded for the right
Turns to a victor's palm;
His memory sounds forevermore,
A spirit-stirring psalm.
No breath of shame can touch his shield,
Nor ages dim its shine;
Living, he made life beautiful,
Dying, made death divine.

No monument of quarried stone,
No eloquence of speech,
Can grave the lessons on the land
His martyrdom will teach.
No eulogy like his own words,
With hero-spirit rife,
" I truly serve the cause I love,
By yielding up my life. "
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