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

October 16

John Brown

By Eugene Fitch Ware (“Ironquill”) (1841–1911)

  • John Brown, an anti-slavery agitator, seized Harper’s Ferry, Oct. 16, 1859, in an attempt to free the slaves. He was arrested, tried, and hanged December 2nd of the same year.

  • STATES are not great

    Except as men may make them;

    Men are not great except they do and dare.

    But States, like men,

    Have destinies that take them—

    That bear them on, not knowing why or where.

    The WHY repels

    The philosophic searcher—

    The WHY and WHERE all questionings defy,

    Until we find,

    Far back in youthful nurture,

    Prophetic facts that constitute the WHY.

    All merit comes

    From braving the unequal;

    All glory comes from daring to begin.

    Fame loves the State

    That, reckless of the sequel,

    Fights long and well, whether it lose or win.

    Than in our State

    No illustration apter

    Is seen or found of faith and hope and will.

    Take up her story:

    Every leaf and chapter

    Contains a record that conveys a thrill.

    And there is one

    Whose faith, whose fight, whose failing,

    Fame shall placard upon the walls of time.

    He dared begin—

    Despite the unavailing,

    He dared begin, when failure was a crime.

    When over Africa

    Some future cycle

    Shall sweep the lake-gemmed uplands with its surge;

    When, as with trumpet,

    Of Archangel Michael,

    Culture shall bid a colored race emerge;

    When busy cities

    There in constellations,

    Shall gleam with spires and palaces and domes,

    With marts wherein

    Is heard the noise of nations;

    With summer groves surrounding stately homes—

    There, future orators

    To cultured freemen

    Shall tell of valor, and recount with praise

    Stories of Kansas,

    And of Lacedaemon—

    Cradles of freedom, then of ancient days.

    From boulevards

    O’erlooking both Nyanzas,

    The statured bronze shall glitter in the sun,

    With rugged lettering:



    HE LOST,