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[548]

On Fame's eternal camping ground their silent tents are spread,
And glory guards with solemn round the bivouac of the dead.
We may not rear a marble shaft above the hearts that now are dust,
But Nature, like a mother fond, will ne'er forget her sacred trust.
Young April o'er their lowly mounds shall shake the violets from her hair,
And glorious June, with fervid kiss, shall bid the roses blossom there.
And round about, the droning bee, with drowsy hum shall come and go,
And west winds all the livelong day shall murmur dirges soft and low.

No truer heroes ever went to battle than those brave boys of ours. And other heroes went out from here to teach us how to live and how to die. These were the heroes of ‘the pestilence that walketh in darkness,’ who, on humanity's call, gave up their lives. In the still watches of the night, amidst the sick and dying, silently and tenderly their work was done; none, save God above, saw it. His eye was on them. And when each in his turn fell under the fever he had so long fought for others, God took him. 'Twas here they drew the inspiration of a heroism nobler than that of battle. And in emulating the examples before them, they have left us fresh examples to guide our lives. ‘For greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’

A few months ago a venerable prelate, now long past his four score years, and looking over the boundary of that happy land he yearns to enter, said: ‘The longer I live the more I estimate goodness above great intellect. I think it is a common mistake of mankind to praise and exalt men of talents too highly. Unless guided by goodness they do only evil.’

In the examples before us, greatness and goodness have gone hand in hand; our great men have been great Christians too. Let us remember that. In statecraft, in philosophy, in war, they remembered their Creator, and reverenced His holy name. It could not, then, be otherwise than that their influence was shed over all the community in which they lived, and I have often reflected upon the gentleness and purity of this people.

The social crimes which daily pollute the public prints were never heard of here. Homicide was unknown, and I cannot recall a fight with deadly weapons, nor a duel, except one fifty years ago, in which a Randolph received his antagonist's shot, and fired his own into the air. In fact old Fredericksburg had attained to that civilization which can dispense with ‘the code,’ and God grant that she may never go backward in this, and that her young men and her maidens may ‘ever in their right hands carry gentle peace to silence envious tongues.’

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Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)

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