The embodiment of the story.
Our embodiment of this story is the work before which we will stand to-day with uncovered heads—and I might add with uncovered hearts.
From our own ranks sprang the genius which has created it. Our own fellow-Howitzer is our artist.
The companion of our toils preserves them for us. He has translated into temporal bronze the infinite meaning of our struggle and our sorrow; the image of a soul which can arm itself against the executioner of the body; as it were, the free soul in the captive body.
The delicate and living lines, the lines of solemn thought and silent sorrow, which unite and converge upon the clear countenance of honor, outline a spirit over which the great calm has come of one who has leared the worst that fate can do. It is the truth which is wrought by action into a unanimity of soul and body, making each a portrait of the other.
There is our Howitzer, ‘his soul well-knit and all his battles won.’
There he stands, waiting in silence.
The breastwork he surmounts he has made his own. He stands upon the rampart which is only built in a people's heart.
He who stands there is victor.
There he stands, with mute appeal, as if to say: ‘The self I sacrifice is the lower and transitory self to the higher and eternal.’
A prayer in bronze supplicates the heavens—that prayer of which it has been written, qui precari novit premi polest opprimi non potest
. A figure of faith stands upon the pedestal of war. To plant the hopes of reason on the prophesies of the heart, as Leverrier planted himself on the calculations of his science, is faith.
To follow the heart's sense of rectitude through doubt and disaster; to stand in the crash which drives virtue to despair; to see the overthrow of hope and all its
leaves of promise trampled like a rebel in the dust, and still not to doubt, not to despair, is faith.
In the vast mysteriousness which throws its deep but tender shadow across our way faith fears not. The very darkness is a lamp.
On the face of the deep is felt a foothold from an unknown world, and the countenance is kindled by a sun which is not seen.