Under the burden of colossal war, colossal debt, colossal corruption, the young Republic staggers indeed, but she never falls; and despite them all, she stands to-day in every element of enduring power, and chiefly in that master element — Liberty — easily first amid the states of Christendom.
Is not the maintenance of that power, the transmission of that priceless boon, worthy the sacrifice of a passion or a prejudice — above all, of a revenge?
I said in opening that of all the beautiful pictures in Homer
's immortal poem, the chief has ever seemed to me that which portrays the sad journeying of “God-like Hector
's” father to beg the mangled body of his son from his merciless slayer; but in that rich picture, filled as it is with an infinite pathos, no scene so moves the heart as that which exhibits the fierce son of Peleus
, saddened and softened by memories conjured up by the aged Priam
, of his own far-off home, mingling his tears with those of his foeman, and after his charged heart had thus unburdened itself, tenderly raising the body he had trailed around the plains of Troy
in savage rage, and, refusing all aid of others, reverently placing it with his own hands on the car which was to transport it to Ilium, and the rites of sepulture.
One day the people of this Union may rise to the height of this heathen's magnanimity.
Until then to you,soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy
, this pious office, begun by Baltimore
's immortal women, in secrecy and stealth, in peril of insult and peril of dungeon, is confidently committed.
, which, two hundred years ago, was baptized with the proud title of the “Land of the Sanctuary” ; to Maryland
, renowned for her welcome to the stranger among a people with whom hospitality is a habit; to the State
of that Maryland
line which in our first rebellion answered roll-call in every battle from Brooklyn Heights
, and always answered with honor; to Maryland
, whose gallant sons in the strife which filled these graves bore its burdens and braved its perils with a gay courage worthy the palmiest days of chivalry — we commit our dead.
Guard them, Maryland
If a tithe of the surpassing devotion, fervent courage, the quenchless affection, the indomitable purpose of Baltimore
's immortal mothers and daughters, shall inspire the hearts which now-continue their labors here, then, indeed, will this sacred trust be ever well fulfilled — until that day, happy for the glory and greatness of the Union
, when the graves of all her gallant dead shall be our free Republic's common care, as their dauntless courage is her common glory.