Henry O'Meara Ballads of America



MUST we concede the life so swiftly flown
That seemed but yesterday to breathe our own-
The pulsing stayed that through our lands he sent,
In whose one impact North and South were blent-
His cords, yet, vital, stilled with tone abounding-
His heartstrings sundered by their vibrant sounding?
Too well we feel the import of our fears,
The wide-flashed word, "The South is steeped in tears."
Fitly she weeps for her chivalric son
Who turned to her, in flush of triumph won,
The filial voice to gain her glad applause -
The golden tongue to plead - to gild her cause.
That spirit note - the music of his speech,
Is silenced now in earthly hearings reach;
Snapped is the silvern thread - the resonant soul -
Though severed, still its pæns reverberant roll-
All hearts their hope-rung chants in mourning merge,
All joyous dreams translate into a dirge.
Fallen in hero prime of conscious power,
His fame lives on and soothes her anguished hour;
Yields to the land of Calhoun and of Clay
His name as heirloom to her later day -
A legacy by life's oblation left,
A breathing solace to a home bereft.
That knightly nature's gift - that intellect's grace,
Relieved attrition wrought by clash of race
That reason poised in sympathy supreme,
Revealed translucent pathos in his theme,
Bade clamor cease - taught candor's part to cure -
Bade truth appear more true, pure though lit more pure.
But is the zenith reached his record done,
His duty closed beneath meridian sun?
Was it for him like meteor flash to sweep -
Athwart the heavens, as vaulting lightnings leap
On living errand our dimmed orbit cleave -
On mission radiate, yet no message leave?
Ah, no - his flame rose not to fall anon -
His words as phrase to glitter and be gone;
Not evanescent in the minds of men,
His ling'ring oratory speaks again -
An era's nuncio in a nation's view -
An envoy of another South, and new.
For now through prescience 'neath his Southern skies
The grander vision greets our Northern eyes;
The proud mirage he conjured up we see -
His picturing of her potency to be,
Her virile wealth of sun and soil and ore
Her new-born freedom's force far nobler store.
With sectional lines and marring feuds effaced,
Their racial problems solved - their blots erased-
Full in that vision circumfused shall rise
A symbol that his life rays crystallize,
For all our state loves lit in him to stand -
For bonds that Georgia's genius lent to all our land.


Edited and formatted by Sheldon Brown

updated Wednesday, April 19, 2000
URL: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/omeara/grady.html
Copyright © 2000 Sheldon Brown