For in all the colors that deck the world
Your gray blends not with blue.
The colors are far apart,
Graves sever them in twain,
The Northern heart and the Southern heart
May beat in peace again.
But still, till time's last day,
Whatever lips may plight,
The blue is blue, but gray is gray,
Wrong never accords with right.
Loyalty to the Government of the United States does not require disloyalty to our own people or our own traditions. Loyalty to the Union does not require that we should love Mr. Ingalls, of Kansas, or canonize Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts. In thus honoring and cherishing the memories of their dead, the Southern people honor themselves and exalt themselves in the estimation of all right-minded people. If they failed to do this, they would deserve and receive the contempt of all brave people. The desire to honor the memory of dead friends is a natural instinct, firmly implanted in the human heart, and is as old as the history of the human race. Sophocles, in his tragedy of Antigone, tells us that when the daughter of Oedipus was brought before Cleon, King of Thebes, accused of paying the rights of sepulture to her brother, Polynices, slain in combat, declared a traitor, and his funeral rites forbidden under penalty of death, she acknowledged and exulted in the deed. And when asked by the king, ‘And darest thou, then, to disobey the law?’ she bravely and defiantly answered the tyrant thus:
I had it not from Jove,
Nor the just gods who rule below;
How could I ever think
A mortal law, of power or strength sufficient
To abrogate the unwritten law divine,
Immaculate, eternal, not like these
Of yesterday, but made ere time began.
Shall man persuade me then to violate
Heaven's greatest command, and make the gods my foes?
Believe me King: 'Tis happiness to die:
Without remorse I shall embrace my fate.
But to my brother had I left the rites
Of sepulture unpaid, I then indeed
Had been most wretched.
I cannot live to do a deed more glorious.