Crawford's Statues at Richmond

LONG I owe a song, my Brother, to thy dear and deathless claim ;
Long I’ve paused before thy ashes, in my poverty and shame :
Something stirs me now from silence, with a fixed and awful breath;
’T is the offspring of thy genius, that was parent to thy death.
They were murderous, these statues; as they left thy teeming brain,
Their hurry and their thronging rent the mother-mould in twain:
So the world that takes them sorrowful their beauties must deplore ;
From the portals whence they issued lovely things shall pass no more.
With a ghostly presence wait they in a stern and dark-remorse,
As the marbles they are watching were sepulchral to thy corse ;
Nay, one draws his cloak about him, and the other standeth free
With his patriot arms uplifted to the grasp of Liberty.
Shall I speak to you, ye silent ones ? Your father lies at rest,
With the mighty impulse folded, like a banner, to his breast;
Ye are crown&3232;d with remembrance, and the glory of men’s eyes;
But within that heart, low buried, some immortal virtue lies.
When with heavy strain and pressure ye were lifted to your height,
Then his passive weight was lowered to the vaults of sorrowing Night:
They who lifted struggled sorely, ere your robes on high might wave ;
They who lowered with a spasm laid such greatness in its grave.
In the moonlight first I saw you, —with the dawn I take my leave ;
Others come to gaze and wonder, — not, like me, to pause and grieve :
Sure, whatever heart doth hasten here, of master or of slave,
This aspect of true nobleness makes merciful and brave.
But I know the spot they gave him, with the cool green earth above,
Where I saw the torchlight glitter on the tears of widowed love,
And we left his garlands fading ; — to redeem that moment’s pain,
Would that ye were yet in chaos, and your master back again !
No ! the tears have Nature’s passport, but the wish is poor and vain,
Since every noblest human work such sacrifice doth gain;
God appoints the course of Genius, like the sweep of stars and sun :
Honor to the World’s rejoieing, and the Will that must be done !