May 30, 1868
Ladies and Gentlemen: No unconsidered sentences of mine would fitly express the sentiments and feelings which properly belong to the theme of to-day. The brave and noble men, who gave the last full measure of devotion, to the cause of nationality and of freedom—“who died that their country might live”—Lytle, McCook, Will Jones, Fred Jones, Patrick, Lathrop, and Whitcomb, and the others whose names are on the “long role” of the honored dead, to whom the beautiful ceremonies of this day are dedicated. I know that no poor words of ours can add to their enduring fame. But wishing to gather some flowers in honor of our loving friends and comrades who perished in the great struggle for Union and liberty, I turn to the pages of a familiar poem, and read these few verses:
“You, whom our song cannot reach with its transient breath,
Blind eyes that are dark to your own deathless glory,
Silenced hearts, that are heedless of praise murmured o’er ye,
Sleep deep, sleep in peace, sleep in memory ever,
Wrapt each soul in deeds of its deathless endeavor,
Till that great final peace shall be struck through the world,
Till the stars be recalled and the firmament furl’d
In the dawn of a daylight undying, until
The signal of Zion be seen on the hill
Of the Lord, when the day of the battle is done
And the conflict with Time and Eternity won.
What is worth living for, is worth dying for too,
And, therefore, all honor, brave hearts, unto you,
Who have fallen that freedom, more fair by your death,
A pilgrim, may walk where your blood on her path
Leads her steps to your graves!
Let them babble above you.
Sleep well! where no breath of detraction may move you,
And the peace the world gives not is yours at the last”