Levi C. McKinstry.

Garfield. A poem online

. (page 1 of 1)
Online LibraryLevi C. McKinstryGarfield. A poem → online text (page 1 of 1)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook






@]^p Gcpi^riglp f 0.






^ iorm.



Hosdiil, MiiS.-^.


IKitdrcd. ill the OjUcc of tin; Lihniriiin of t'onijrcss, Washhujlou, D.('.
hij the Author, 2S82.

"^^y^ ii0\



pRAJXDLY — that towering manhood stood,

Complete in every part ;
Garfield, — The Great, The Just, The Good ;

A Man, — with head and heart.

A MAN, — "All are not men who wear

The human form," but he.
The name, with easy grace could bear, —
A full-formed man, could be.

Some men there are, Avho show no gild ;

Ko special grace, or power ;
"Who have no manhood-mould, or build ;

And know no victors' hour.

So plod they through the world, as best
They may, — unnamed, unknown ;

With no soul-greatness or behest ;
And die, — at last, alone.


And there are some, who, gilded, are ;

Like some high, spire-set ball ;
They glitter, like a distant star ;

Thvy f/lif(er,—i\vdt is all.

And there arc some, like trees, whose limb,

Oneside, is ])road and tall ;
"While otherside is dwarf and slim ;

A fruitless, gnarly scrawl.

Such show so/nc: powers of extra growth.

And marvelous prodigy ;
While ofhc)\ miniature and sloth.

Show sad deformity.

Some have been heroes great, and who.

For some especial mcin,
Or dare, or dash, or skill to do, —

Have been, with favor seen.

There was that Alexander, Great ;

And, Aristides, Just ;
And Phociou, (iood : — who, men relate,

AVerc worthy sculptured bust.

\nd — loner the time — these Ilcroes-three,
Had, each, his own tri-part :

Pmt each had lack, till, forth came he,
AVho blent them. h'''ril and Itniri.


Lo I Garfield seized the Greatness, rare,

The Justice, even-cast j
The Goodness, Phocion, pure and fair.

And made them one — at last.

But added still, and shed through all,

The better. Christian grace ;
That, on him, sunlight brio-ht, mioht fall ;

The smiles of Heaven's own face.

He was a tree, wdiose branches, foir.

Symmetrical and grand.
Spread out in beauty, everywhere,

O ershadowing all the land.

In him, in boyhood, was the man.
The germ of what might be ;

Forecasting all the generous plan.
Of a great, grand Prophecy,

Which said, Behold there comes a man,

AVho shall a model be —
To all the world — leading the van ;

And this strong boy is lie.

Great, just and good, he shall be called;

Strong, in his moral might ;
By nothing, shall he be appalled ;

lie icill defend the right.


Then, — as the Hhtory proclaims

The Propliev J fulfilled, —
Mis life, evolving deeds, explains.

How well those words were skilled.

He rose to manhood, thouirh his wav

Lay up a rock}- steep ;
He knew no failure, no delay,

Climbing where storm-winds sweep.

Inured to hard, stern poverty.

And bred midst forests' wilds,

He was a one, Avho manfully.

On stubl^orn foe-things smiles.

Thinking what grandeur lies beyond,
What, up the hights, is seen ;

Nor does, with coward-soul despond.
At what may intervene. —

'Twixt him and goal, — and so, at last,

lie fills the hiijhesl plaee.
His battles with the Fates all passed. —

His upward way to trace ; —

To see tierce tempests rage below ;

Throu<::h which he struuirled, till
He reached those wondrous hights. to know

The power of wdl-lixed will, —


Of him, who dares to do the right,

And flinos aside the foe :
Trusts God, and, 1)y His ^Matchless Might,

Man's highest pUice may know.

Then, when he all that hight had reached ;

That manhood-summit,- grand ;
He stood, — true greatness, unimpeached :—

Then gave a helping hand —

To those who struggled 3^et, behind,

To reach the honored goal,
So cheered, with words and favor, kind,

The weary, toiling soul.

Thus proved that no condition, low,
Degrades, nor, to the earth

Holds down forbidding, who would go,
To reach man's highest worth ; —

Who, of his sense of inward i)o\ver,

Grasps possibilities ;
Makes most of every Golden hour,
- And claims best things as his.

Gives hand to no unscrupled schemes ;

Seeks no unrighteous end ;
Trusts no brisht, transient, Rainbowed dreams ;

To no vile means will bend ;


Scorns not the grime of honest toil ;

Holds conscience in icirard :
A\'hoin vain ambition cannot spoil ;

Xor adverse thinirs retard.

Who fears his God, — nor fails to pray, —
Gains stren<rtii bv heaven's free sfrace.

To climb his chosen, upward way.
And reach his high-worth place.

Complete in all that makes the man.
Our Gartield gained his name,

AVell-filled the great Prophetic plan,
And ofained unendinir fame.

(True manhood seeks not outMard show;

Is no one-sided tiiinir ;
It seeks completeness, and to know,

What, onlv cfood, Avill l)rinL:-.

Tis i)olished in its qualitie.'^ ;

Is great in merit : truth :
Grows not unculturiMl, Imt it i>

Xurturod. for man, in youth.)

Thus (iarlirld was. wlu'u (iuilrau'> hand

Discharged the fatal lead.
And made the world, in c\ cry huul.

To mourn our Oakfikm), dkad.


That Guiteau, — loath we speak his name,

He, evermore shall be,
AVith Judas placed, and called the same,

And cursed, eternally.

Cursed, — on the Historian's truthful page :
Cursed, — by the Poet's scathing pen ;
Cursed, — by the Hero and the Sage ;

Cursed, — by all of true-souled men.

He shot our Garfield ! — then, he claimed, ^

' ' It was the Deity "
Who bade the deed, the Aveapon aimed.

By such an one as he.

Such claim is weak, it cannot stand,

Beside the INIoral Law :
From Sinai thundered, through the land.

The words of solemn awe.

God said not, thus, — ' ]\Ian thou shalt kill ;

" Shalt not " the words He said ;
He never bound that Guiteau's will,

IS'or shot that wayward lead.

God's agent, Guiteau? foul-mouthed claim ;

And foul, that dastard deed ;
Foul all, from Guiteau to his aim :

That deed was done of greed.


He had fair trial, thoiioli meanwhile,
All seemed a irnicele.ss sham,

When he, so loathsome amd so vile,
And so beneath the man, —

Was treated Avith such kindlv care.
And shielded from the arm,

AVhieh nerved itself, the deed to dare,
To do him mortal harm.

So ]Mason must not stretch his hand,
To take e'en Guiteau's life ;

For then were licensed, throuirh the land,
Wild anarchy and strife.

Xo law ; no order, anywhere ;

Xo riirhts for anv man ;
Xo safeguard ; no protectinir care ;

X^o comprehending plan.

'T Avcrc thus, were Vinson's act condoned,

And he allowed to oo ;
Then Justice would he disenthroned.
And law degraded low :

And so the law was Guiteau's frii-nd.

And a jirotecting j)ower,
Its timely aid to promptly lend.

lentil the final hour.


And it has kept its honor, high,

And shown its faithfuhiess,
All lawless culprits still to try,

And verdicts just, express.

So when that verdict came and said,
'•'■ Guilty'''' — and sentence passed,

"Hanged by the neck till you are dead'',
Justice was reached — at last.

And he h ' ' guilty *' who has slain

Our Garfield in his prune ;
Whose pure, unspotted, high-scrolled fame
Shines through on-rolling time.

Yes ! Garfield, thou hast made thy name,

A pearl of purest w^hite ;
A o-em of beaut V, all aflame ;

A o'lowing orb of lijxht.


But, Guiteau : — worthless is hh name ;

A loathsome, leprous spot ;
A reeking pestilence, — a shame ;

His "Name shall, surely, rot.''''

But then, his rottenness shall be,
The mould i\vd.tfats the soil.

And stirs, to larger growth, that 'tree',
His wantonness Avould s[)()il.


So its grand branches, spreading wide,
Grow out, the broad world o'er.

AVhen,else, its shade were known beside,
Onlv our own home-door.

And then that bullet. — weiLdit of lead.

Shot in that fearful hour.
Was, as the iron heels that tread,

Upon the fragrant flower.

It pressed the sweetness of that soul

Aronia'd, iiure and fair.
All lands to till, all hearts control.

Distilling evervwhere.

Filling each sense of truth and right ;

Of holy, sacred trust ;
Of faith, when darkness vails the sight.

In God, Iliirh, llolv, Just.

And in the })atient sufferer's grace.

And-forlitude to l)ear
The proofs good Providence nvouM trare.

Of His mysterious care.

So ]ii-oving, that the •• bitter taste"",
"The bud may have", shall be.

At length, through all this desert's w.-iste.
tV "sweet flower's" niinistr\ .


Long were those weary eight}' days,
AVhile pain's hot, blistering feet,

Travelled along their tireless ways,
Nor would they e'er retreat.

But on, relentless, pressed their w-ay,

]\Iaking each neiTe a path
To travel, tireless, day by day.

As with malicious wrath :

Then came to where the beating heart,

Was telling still, life's time.
With fierce ,^'elentless tread, to part

Those life-chords, in their prime.

There, stamped, with passions' rage and power,

^Making the sleeper wake,
And in that agonizing hour,

Did everv heart-strino" break.

"0, Swain/ thisj;«m, this fearful 2K(in'\

Cried out the Sufierer, sore ;
Then ceased ; and all was still again ;

Our Garfield was no more.

*No more' and in that death-sealed room.

The faithful, lone wife wept :
The atmosphere Avas deepest gloom.

Where Garfield, breathless, slejit.

> 3


HoAV strange the stillness of that form,
Of him, whose dauntless eye

Flashed ehallenge to the battle-storm,
"When dangers nuistered niirh.

AVhose voice ranerout with hiirninir ire,
AA'hen (rai/ors nuittered loud ;

And calnu'd, in turn, the rairini:: fire,

"When ^•engeance moved the crowd.

Or, broad and deep Avith reason's power,
The statesman's prestige knew.

And taught the Country in its hour
Of peril, what to do.

Or. in the halls, the classic halls,
"Where AVisdom gathered, rare,

He spake, and as the sunlight falls,
His Avords were counsel there.

Or, with "grace poured into his lip,"

Oi Iliiii who led the way.
To goodliest, truest fellowship:

And taught men how to pray.

How strange that lie thus l)r(>athless keeps
Thus sealed tho.-e lips. — those eyes,-

And thus in waveless eahnness sleejis ;
How straniri' that (iartield dies.


But though he dies, — thus sacrificed,

And everywhere is gloom,
Still niiugies in his fume, world-wide.

That rests not in the tomb.

Oh, patient Sufferer ! we feel

How much thy heart was pressed :

How much thy pain-days did reveal
Thy full-souled tenderness :

Thy courao-e and self-offering will ;

Thy holy, Christian trust ;
Thy perfectness shall always fill

Our lives, now thou art dust.

^lore — wast thou — on that bed of i)ain

Than on the battle-mead ;
More, — bearing all the heavy drain

Of life, — than on thy steed ;

Than in the Legislative Halls ;

Than in the honored Chair ,
Than in those bell-toned, clarion calls.

That bade us not despair.

For thou hast triumphed in that hour,
AYhen coicanls who icere braves,

Shrink from the Grim-Death Giant-Power,
And own themselves his slaves.


Death liad for thee no terrors I ! lie

But found thee ehalleniiinir
Plis prowess, and his ri<rht to he

On earth a Sovereiirn Kino-.

For One still ''Sfronqer" than the "Strono-,"
The "Spoilers house" had " spoiled ; ''

The captive's silence waked to song ;
The Giant's j^lan had foiled ;

The " Captive lead Captivity,"

The prison confines broke ;
The Christ, The Lord ; Almighty He ;

On Easter-!Morn, awoke ;

And Ilis great victorv iiave to thee,

More than thine own atield ;
More than, alone, the best eouhlbe.

But with the Christian's shrekl.

So thou hast left to us thy name ;

A Avondrous talisman.
To sot before us highest aim.

That who would triumph can.

Then, with fixed i)urpose, strong as steel,

True as the Polar star.
Steady as time's on-rollini:- wheel,

Iveadv as harnessed car.


So, failino; not to hold the rfoht.
We iill our privileged place ;

Xot fearino- e'en the fiercest fioht :
But showing flint like face.


Well-knowing that one life is ours

Alone — to work — to do
All that our best, wxll-motived powers,

May skill, that's good and true;

And he, Avho now on earth no more.
Stands 'mong the " sons of men, "

Yet lives posthumous, and before,

Walks, — waking purpose, then —

Leads it up the shining way.

Which his own feet have trod.
To those briaht realms of endless dav,

AVhere Angels walk with GOD.

Then be each heart a monument,

'* cSarrcti to iHcmorg," kind ;

TO Garfield: our good president;

Thus kept in constant mind.

And may our manhood henceforth be

Better, more broad and true ;
Then Garfields we shall often see ;

And Guiteaus will be —few.




3 785

780 7


Online LibraryLevi C. McKinstryGarfield. A poem → online text (page 1 of 1)