James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

January 15


By Thomas William Parsons (1819–1892)

(Edward Everett died Jan. 15, 1865)

SO fell our stateman—for he stood sublime

On that proud pedestal, a people’s heart—

As when some image, through the touch of time,

That long was reverenced in the public mart;

As some tall clock-tower, that was wont to tell

The hour of duty to the young and olden,

With tongue most musical of every bell,

Bends to its base, and is no more beholden!

So fell our Everett: more like some great elm,

Lord of the grove, but something set apart,

That all the tempests could not overwhelm,

Nor all the winters of his seventy years,

But on some peaceful midnight bursts his heart.

And in the morning men behold the wreck,

(Some with gray hairs, who cannot hold their tears),

But in the giant timber find no speck

Nor unsound spot, but only wholesome wood.

No secret worm consuming at the core

The stem that ever seemed so fair and good;

And aged men that knew the tree of yore

When but a sapling, promising full well,

Say to each other, “This majestic plant

Came to its full growth; it made no idle vaunt;

From its own weight, without a flaw, it fell!”