lundi, janvier 18, 2010

Robert E. Lee's birthday

The unveiling of the monument to General Lee
By Father Abram Joseph Ryan
(May 29, 1890)

At noon, or a little after, General Early, who presided, in the absence of General Joseph E. Johnston, called the assemblage to order and introduced the orator of the day, Major Daniel. He rose amid deafening cheers – a man strikingly handsome, with soul power in his face. He combines in face and manner the powers of Edwin Booth and John McCullough, the actors. He began his oration in a simple, yet striking way, alluding to the home of Lee before the war. His power of description is strong. It was only the preface to a glorious oration. He rose as he proceeded as a man who is climbing the slopes of a mountain to see the setting sun when he reaches its summit. And his hearers followed him. Half-way up the slope of his oration he seemed to rest, but you could see in his face and hear in the tremor of his voice and his graceful swaying gestures that he rested for a purpose. I think it was the glory-hour of his address. When he flung back his classic head and alluded to President Davis, with his heart in his voice, and in words that were royal, he stilled the crowd for a few minutes; but when he closed his glorious eulogy on him who suffered vicariously for every Confederate man, woman and child, and who is still disfranchised by the Federal Government, the stillness was broken by such grand thunders of applause that the orator was obliged to pause. It was the grand Southern Amen to words grand as they were, and grandly spoken of a man grander than any words. Some eyes were moist with tears then – tributes to our President, who suffered for us all. God bless him. The orator went on, rising higher and higher in his eloquence, and when he concluded, there was one man in that audience who said to himself: “The orator equals the occasion.”

Then General Early. His words were brief, but he commanded your humble servant to come forward and face a crowd already entranced with glorious eloquence. I obeyed: said a few words, recited the “Sword of Robert Lee” and stole away. Stonewall Jackson’s daughter, Julia, unveiled the statue. Crowds went in and came out, and the faces of most were sad. Clouds were gathering away over on the mountains. The sun went down, and Lexington will never see such a day again, because the world will never know another Robert Lee.

Equestrian statue of Robert Lee by French sculptor Jean Antonin Mercié.

The Sword of Robert Lee

Forth from its scabbard, pure and bright,
Flashed the sword of Lee!
Far in the front of the deadly fight,
High o'er the brave in the cause of Right
Its stainless sheen, like a beacon light,
Led us to Victory!

Out of its scabbard, where, full long,
It slumbered peacefully,
Roused from its rest by the battle's song,
Shielding the feeble, smiting the strong,
Guarding the right, avenging the wrong,
Gleamed the sword of Lee!

Forth from its scabbard, high in the air
Beneath Virginia's sky--
And they who saw it gleaming there,
And knew who bore it, knelt to swear
That where that sword led they would dare
To follow--and to die!

Out of its scabbard! Never hand
Waved sword from stain as free,
Nor purer sword led braver band,
Nor braver bled for a brighter land,
Nor brighter land had a cause so grand,
Nor cause a chief like Lee!

Forth from its scabbard! How we prayed
That sword might victor be;
And when our triumph was delayed,
And many a heart grew sore afraid,
We still hoped on while gleamed the blade
Of noble Robert Lee!

Forth from its scabbard all in vain
Bright flashed the sword of Lee;
'Tis shrouded now in its sheath again,
It sleeps the sleep of our noble slain,
Defeated, yet without stain,
Proudly and peacefully!

1 commentaire:

Anonyme a dit…

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!