of history, the, air still palpitating with its uncalmed passions, to honor its victims — sympathy with whose cause is crime, defence of whose course is treason.
There are also tombs before whose portals men bow with a sorrow close akin to joy — a grief which Time, the mighty soother, has not only tempered by his lengthened lapse, but to which that lapse has brought the crowning solace of complete, however tardy, vindication of the fallen, in the world's acquiescence in their cause and the world's admission of its transcendent value.
Thus men muse in Roman crypts before their thousand relics, august though ghastly, of imperial persecutions, and overleaping the centuries from the day when Numidian lions tore these living limbs asunder and the Appian Way
blazed from Rome
to Capua with their martyr fires, they quench their indignation at the merciless tyranny which doomed them, and lose their very pity at the doom itself, in contemplation of the final and full fruition of the martyrs' hopes — the final and consummate triumph of the cause for which they fell.
But all such inspirations fail us here.
Here, and wherever in all our Southern land like pious ceremonies honor our brothers' graves, neither Time nor Triumph dulls the keen pang of loss and disappointment.
We stand not only amid the fallen, but amid the apparent ruin of every hope for which they fell — confronted on every side with the symbols and consequences of that ruin, with absolute conviction that the discomfiture was utter, complete, irrevocable.
In the shadow of that mighty defeat whose chill gloom few rays of sympathy or even of justice have hitherto warmed or brightened, without hope of the reversal of the dread judgment which closed the record of their cause, we gather here to discharge the duty, doubly dear and imperative for the disaster which imposes it, of honoring the memory of these Confederate dead, and publishing our unquenchable affection for their names — and sorrow for their fate.
I need not aver in this presence that this pious service neither invites nor excuses any unpatriotic reopening of the closed accounts of our civil strife.
The grave, which prays charitable silence for the dead, exacts it for the living.
No discord should disturb the tranquility whose abode is here.
Before the awful revelation of death, how petty and contemptible are the antagonisms of life!