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

February 22

George Washington

By John Hall Ingham (1860–1931)

(Born Feb. 22, 1732)

THIS was the man God gave us when the hour

Proclaimed the dawn of Liberty begun;

Who dared a deed, and died when it was done;

Patient in triumph, temperate in power,—

Not striving like the Corsican to tower

To heaven, nor like great Philip’s greater son

To win the world and weep for worlds unwon,

Or lose the star to revel in the flower.

The lives that serve the eternal verities

Alone do mould mankind. Pleasure and pride

Sparkle awhile and perish, as the spray

Smoking across the crests of cavernous seas

Is impotent to hasten or delay

The everlasting surges of the tide.

That Man at last, beneath the churchyard spire,

Might be once more the worm, the rock, the tree.