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

August 11

Thaddeus Stevens

By Phoebe Cary (1824–1871)

  • An American anti-slavery statesman. He was the chief manager of the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. He died on August 11, 1868.

  • AN eye with the piercing eagle’s fire,

    Not the look of the gentle dove;

    Not his the form that men admire,

    Nor the face that tender women love.

    Working first for his daily bread

    With the humblest toilers of the earth;

    Never walking with free, proud tread—

    Crippled and halting from his birth.

    Wearing outside a thorny suit

    Of sharp, sarcastic, stinging power;

    Sweet at the core as sweetest fruit,

    Or inmost heart of fragrant flower.

    Fierce and trenchant, the haughty foe

    Felt his words like a sword of flame;

    But to the humble, poor, and low

    Soft as a woman’s his accents came.

    Not his the closest, tenderest friend—

    No children blessed his lonely way;

    But down in his heart until the end

    The tender dream of his boyhood lay.

    His mother’s faith he held not fast;

    But he loved her living, mourned her dead,

    And he kept her memory to the last

    As green as the sod above her bed.

    He held as sacred in his home

    Whatever things she wrought or planned,

    And never suffered change to come

    To the work of her “industrious hand.”

    For her who pillowed first his head

    He heaped with a wealth of flowers the grave,

    While he chose to sleep in an unmarked bed,

    By his Master’s humblest poor—the slave!

    Suppose he swerved from the straightest course—

    That the things he should not do he did—

    That he hid from the eyes of mortals, close,

    Such sins as you and I have hid?

    Or suppose him worse that you; what then?

    Judge not, lest you be judged for sin!

    One said who knew the hearts of men:

    Who loveth much shall a pardon win.

    The Prince of Glory for sinners bled;

    His soul was bought with a royal price;

    And his beautified feet on flowers may tread

    To-day with his Lord in Paradise.