Shall the Harp Then Be Silent
Shall the Harp then be silent, when he who first gave
To our country a name, is withdrawn from all eyes?
Shall a Minstrel of Erin stand mute by the grave
Where the first -- where the last of her Patriots lies?
No -- faint though the death-song may fall from his lips,
Though his Harp, like his soul, may with shadows be crost,
Yet, yet shall it sound, 'mid a nation's eclipse,
And proclaim to the world what a star hath been lost; --
What a union of all the affections and powers
By which life is exalted, embellish'd, refined,
Was embraced in that spirit -- whose centre was ours,
While its mighty circumference circled mankind.
Oh, who that loves Erin, or who that can see,
Through the waste of her annals, that epoch sublime --
Like a pyramid raised in the desert -- where he
And his glory stand out to the eyes of all time;
That one lucid interval, snatch'd from the gloom
And the madness of ages, when fill'd with his soul,
A Nation o'erleap'd the dark bounds of her doom,
And for one sacred instant, touch'd Liberty's goal?
Who, that ever hath heard him -- hath drunk at the source
Of that wonderful eloquence, all Erin's own,
In whose high-thoughted daring, the fire, and the force,
And the yet untamed spring of her spirit are shown?
An eloquence rich, wheresoever its wave
Wander'd free and triumphant, with thoughts that shone through
As clear as the brook's "stone of lustre," and gave,
With the flash of the gem, its solidity too.
Who, what ever approach'd him, when free from the crowd,
In a home full of love, he delighted to read
'Mong the trees which a nation had given, and which bow'd,
As if each brought a new civic crown for his head --
Is there one, who hath thus, through his orbit of life
But at distance observed him -- through glory, through blame,
In the calm of retreat, in the grandeur of strife,
Whether shining or clouded, still high and the same? --
Oh no, not a heart that e'er knew him but mourns
Deep, deep, o'er the grave where such glory is shrined --
O'er a monument Fame will preserve 'mong the urns
Of the wisest, the bravest, the best of mankind!
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