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We came next morn: that tongue of fire
Said only, ‘He who spake is dead!’
Dead! while his voice was living yet,
In echoes round the pillared dome!
Dead! while his blotted page lay wet
With themes of state and loves of home!
Dead! in that crowning grace of time,
That triumph of life's zenith hour!
Dead! while we watched his manhood's prime
Break from the slow bud into flower!
Dead! he so great, and strong, and wise,
While the mean thousands yet drew breath;
How deepened, through that dread surprise,
The mystery and the awe of death!
From the high place whereon our votes
Had borne him, clear, calm, earnest, fell
His first words, like the prelude notes
Of some great anthem yet to swell.
We seemed to see our flag unfurled,
Our champion waiting in his place
For the last battle of the world,
The Armageddon of the race.
Through him we hoped to speak the word
Which wins the freedom of a land;
And lift, for human right, the sword
Which dropped from Hampden's dying hand.
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