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[209] Virginia's greatest son of her second Revolution, the peer of Washington in military genius, patriotism, constancy and valor.

Again he wrought in noblest mood and as only the true poet can, but, alas! scarce had he finished his task when death struck the votic pencil from the busy fingers and hushed that deep, rich voice, whose manly cadences had made doubly musical for us this day the rythmic sweep of his stirring numbers.

Thus, in the service of his native State, in some sort, still serving his old commander, fell on sleep this knightly spirit, this accomplished man of letters, this loyal friend, who in his public as in his private life ever ‘bore without reproach the grand old name of gentleman.’

At the request of his family and of the Lee Monument Association, I am here to-day to read in such poor fashion as may be allowed me his poem written in the very shadow of death.

Memoriae Sacrum.


Great Mother of great Commonwealths
Men call our Mother State;
And she so well has earned this name
That she may challenge Fate
To snatch away the epithet
Long given her of ‘great.’

First of all Old England's outposts
To stand fast upon these shores,
Soon she brought a mighty harvest
To a People's threshing floors,
And more than golden grain was piled
Within her ample doors.

Behind her stormy sunrise shore,
Her shadow fell vast and long,
And her mighty Adm'ral, English Smith,
Heads a prodigious throng
Of as mighty men, from Raleigh down,
As ever arose in Song.

Her names are the shining arrows
Which her ancient quiver bears,
And their splendid sheaf has thickened
Through the long march of the years,
While her great shield has been burnished
By her children's blood and tears.

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