The Dead Tribune.

A poem by Denis Florence MacCarthy

The awful shadow of a great man's death
Falls on this land, so sad and dark before--
Dark with the famine and the fever breath,
And mad dissensions knawing at its core.
Oh! let us hush foul discord's maniac roar,
And make a mournful truce, however brief,
Like hostile armies when the day is o'er!
And thus devote the night-time of our grief
To tears and prayers for him, the great departed chief.

In "Genoa the Superb" O'Connell dies--
That city of Columbus by the sea,
Beneath the canopy of azure skies,
As high and cloudless as his fame must be.
Is it mere chance or higher destiny
That brings these names together? One, the bold
Wanderer in ways that none had trod but he--
The other, too, exploring paths untold;
One a new world would seek, and one would save the old!

With childlike incredulity we cry,
It cannot be that great career is run,
It cannot be but in the eastern sky
Again will blaze that mighty world-watch'd sun!
Ah! fond deceit, the east is dark and dun,
Death's black, impervious cloud is on the skies;
Toll the deep bell, and fire the evening gun,
Let honest sorrow moisten manly eyes:
A glorious sun has set that never more shall rise!

Brothers, who struggle yet in Freedom's van,
Where'er your forces o'er the world are spread,
The last great champion of the rights of man--
The last great Tribune of the world is dead!
Join in our grief, and let our tears be shed
Without reserve or coldness on his bier;
Look on his life as on a map outspread--
His fight for freedom--freedom far and near--
And if a speck should rise, oh! hide it with a tear!

To speak his praises little need have we
To tell the wonders wrought within these waves
Enough, so well he taught us to be free,
That even to him we could not kneel as slaves.
Oh! let our tears be fast-destroying graves,
Where doubt and difference may for ever lie,
Buried and hid as in sepulchral caves;
And let love's fond and reverential eye
Alone behold the star new risen in the sky!

But can it be, that well-known form is stark?
Can it be true, that burning heart is chill?
Oh! can it be that twinkling eye is dark?
And that great thunder voice is hush'd and still?
Never again upon the famous hill
Will he preside as monarch of the land,
With myriad myriads subject to his will;
Never again shall raise that powerful hand,
To rouse, to warm, to check, to kindle, and command!

The twinkling eye, so full of changeful light,
Is dimmed and darkened in a dread eclipse;
The withering scowl, the smile so sunny bright,
Alike have faded from his voiceless lips.
The words of power, the mirthful, merry quips,
The mighty onslaught, and the quick reply,
The biting taunts that cut like stinging whips,
The homely truth, the lessons grave and high,
All, all are with the past, but cannot, shall not die!

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