Home  »  Every Day in the Year A Poetical Epitome of the World’s History  »  On the Death of Canon Kingsley

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

January 23

On the Death of Canon Kingsley

By Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830–1886)

(Died Jan. 23, 1875)

MORTALS there are who seem, all over, flame,

Vitalized radiance, keen, intense, and high,

Whose souls, like planets in a dominant sky,

Burn with full forces of eternity:

Such was his soul, and such the light which came

From that pure heaven he lived in; holiest worth

Of will and work was his, to brighten earth,

Heal its foul wounds, and beautify its dearth.

He dwelt in clear white purity apart,

Yet walked the world; through many a sufferer’s door

He shone like morning; comfort streamed before

His footsteps; on the feeble and the poor

He lavished the rich spikenard of his heart.

Christ’s soldier! To his trumpet-call he sprung,

Eager, elate; valiant of pen and tongue,

Grand were the words he spake, the songs he sung.

Still, hero-priest! born out of thy due time—

Thou shouldst have lived when on thine England’s sod

Giants of faith and seers of freedom trod,

Daring all things to break the oppressor’s rod.

Great in thine own age, thou hadst been sublime

In theirs—that age of fervent, fruitful breath,

When, scorning treachery, and defying death,

Her true knights girt their loved Elizabeth,

Seeing on her the centuries’ hopes were set;

Then hadst thou ranged with Raleigh land and sea,

Bible and sword in hand, gone forth with Leigh,

The tyrant smote, the heathen folk made free!

Yea! but to God and grace thou hast paid thy debt,

In measure scarce less glorious and complete

Than theirs who bearded on his chosen seat

The bloody Antichrist; or fleet to fleet,

Thundered through storms of battle-wrack and fire

At Britain’s Salamis; the heroic strain

Ran purpling all thy nature like a vein

Oped from God’s heart to thine; the loftiest plane

Of thought and action, purpose and desire

Thou trod’st on triumphing; thy Viking’s face

Showed granite-willed, yet softened into grace

By effluence of good deeds, the angelic race

Of prayers to prompt, and aid them! Fare thee well,

Clear spirit and strong! thy life-work nobly done,

Shines beautiful as some unsetting sun

O’er Arctic summers; chords of victory run

Even through the mournful boom of thy deep funeral knell!