Written for The Register
The nation's hero,--dead;
Today the thousands mourn;
To east and west and north and south
The tidings are borne;
On swiftest wing of lightning sped
Today's the nation's hero --dead.
Lower the country's flag --
At half mast let it fly;
Toll, toll ye bells the requiem sad
And join, oh earth and sky
With mourning thousands who shall swell
Today our hero's funeral knell.
Oh, wife and child and friend
Today with you we mourn,
While o'er the lifeless form ye bend
With hearts of anguish torn,
Our bitter tears of sorrow shed
For him we mourn today as dead.
Not in this land alone
Shall weeping fill the air.
But all the world shall join as one
To mourn the solider lying there,
The grand heroic spirit fled,
Today the nation weeps her dead.
With sorrowing and with tears
We lay him down to rest,
With muffled drum and solemn dirge,
Our flag upon his breast--
The nation's flag he helped to save
Unfurl today above his grave.
And when in future years,
The nations yet to be
Shall list the story of the past,
Of deeds by land and sea,
No prouder name will then be said
Than Grant our country's hero, dead.
Unionville, July 23, 1885
The Solider President
The death of General Ulysses S. Grant, has produced a most profound impression among all classes of our citizens. That he was the foremost man of the nation and the warmest loved American of our day, is the uniform testimony coming up from all directions The event has not been unexpected. For mouths past the sympathizing nation has been watching with the most intense anxiety the tidings from his bedside, and every morning the minutest symptom has been recorded in the columns of the daily press and spread throughout the country. From the first announcement of the nature of the disease it was reasonably understood that there was no good ground for hope that his valuable life would be spared to the nation. It has been a pleasing spectacle to witness the interest that has been felt for our suffering hero in all the homes of our land. And no one can tell how greatly he has been cheered and comforted by the knowledge that good people have been praying for him, and that large communities and organizations were constantly extending to him their cordial sympathies. But. although he has had the best medical aid to relieve his suffering and arrest the progress of the disease, the dread work has been going steadily forward sapping the foundations of a constitution unusually vigorous, until at last the noble sufferer, surrounded by his family, closed his eyes in peace with his Maker and all mankind.
The history of this noble life has been written and read by all our people. With his splendid career we are all of us familiar. The striking traits of his character are so well known that it is unnecessary to repeat the record. We know what he has done for his country and for civilization, and we must all unite in rendering to him that tribute of praise which a man of such distinguished excellence deserves. It is difficult for us to hold a steady pen while we speak of him whose death the nation mourns. Nor can we tell precisely what were the main characteristics of the man that so greatly endeared him to the people. All have harmonized in the statement that he was a simple-hearted, honest and cordial man. That he was a patriot of the purest stamp is known over all the land. It will go down that his purposes were entirely unselfish, that his thoughts were always pure and enobling, that he had no plans but would bear the inspection of honest men, and that his great soul was filled with charity, integrity and a passionate desire for the welfare of his country and his fellow men. Even his mistakes which have been pointed out in his public administration and which will now be buried in forgetfulness, were the result of the over-confidence he reposed in those who led him on to doubtful measures. He was always and everywhere a well-meaning, resolute, and honorable man, and his fame is imperishable.
His name will hereafter be principally
associated with his achievements in the field and as the first solider of his age he will be spoken of in history. There was no braver man in the day of battle, and no more heroic man in the day of victory, than our General Grant.
It is no surprising thing that the whole nation gather around his bier as sincere and profound mourners, for there was something about the man that draws intensely upon our sympathies. We know that when in the spirit of that noble simplicity and reverence which always characterized him in life, he meekly bowed his head before his God and obeyed his summons as one of the grandest figures of our age passed away from earth and entered upon immortality. Eulogy will do its best, poetry will sing his praises, the marble will be made almost to speak as the outlines of the strong, kindly countenance are wrought out by the chisel of the sculptor, and for generations all true lovers of their country and admirers of sterling worth will gather round his grave, thanking God that he gave to the nation in the crisis of its history such a man as our soldier-president, General Grant.