He stood up in the house to speak,
With calm unruffled brow,
And never were his burning words
More eloquent than now
Fresh from the greatest victory
That mortal man can win
The triumph against fearful odds.
Over besetting sin
'Twas this gave to his eloquence
That thrilling trumpet tone
Moving all hearts with those bright thoughts
Vibrating through his own
Thoughts strong, and wise, and statesmanlike,
Warm with the love of Right
That gave his wit its keenest edge,
His words their greatest might
He little thought his last speech closed,
That his career was o'er,
That those who hung upon his words
Should hear his voice no more.
He walked home tranquilly and slow,
Secure, and unaware,
That there was murder in the hush
Of the still midnight air.
"Tis morning," said he, knowing not
That he had done with time;
That a bloody hand would our country stain
With another useless crime.
He stood before a portal closed
To him for evermore,
Behind him with uncreaking hinge
Oped the eternal door.
And ere the east grew red again,
His life blood's purple flow
Had made that pavement holy ground,
And filled the land with woe.
My country! Oh my country!
What is to thee the gain?
Wilt nourish trees of liberty
In blood so foully slain?