In Memoriam. - Rev. Dr. James W. Alexander,

A poem by Lydia Howard Sigourney

Pastor of the Fifth Avenue Church, New York, died at the Virginia Springs, July, 1859.


The great and good. How startling is the knell
That tells he is but dust.
The echo comes
From where Virginia's health-reviving springs
Make many whole. But waiting there for him
The dark-winged angel who doth come but once,
Troubled the waters, and his latest breath
Fled, where his first was drawn.
That noble brow
So mark'd with intellect, so clear with truth,
Grave in its goodness, in its love serene,
Will it be seen no more?
That earnest voice
Filling the Temple-arch so gloriously,
With themes of import to the undying soul
Enforced by power of fervid eloquence
Is it forever mute?
That mind so rich
With varied learning and with classic lore,
Studious, progressive, affluent, profound,
That feeling heart, instinct with sympathy
For the world's family of grief and pain,
The dark in feature, or the lost in sin,
Say, are their treasures lost?
No, on the page
Of many a tome, traced by his tireless pen
They live and brighten for a race to come,
Prompting the wise, cheering the sorrowful,
And for the little children whom he loved
Meting out fitting words, like dewy pearls
Glittering along their path.
His chief delight
Was in his Master's work. How well performed
Speak ye whose feet upon Salvation's rock
Were planted through his prayers. His zeal involved
No element of self, but hand in hand
Walk'd with humility. He needeth not
Praise from our mortal lips. The monuments
Of bronze or marble, what are they to him
Who hath his firm abode above the stars?

--Yet may the people mourn, may freshly keep
The transcript of his life, nor wrongly ask
"When shall we look upon his like again?"

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