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

September 14

The Comfort of the Trees

By Richard Watson Gilder (1844–1909)

  • William McKinley died September 14, 1901.

  • GENTLE and generous, brave-hearted, kind,

    And full of love and trust was he, our chief;

    He never harmed a soul! Oh, dull and blind

    And cruel, the hand that smote, beyond belief!

    Strike him? It could not be! Soon should we find

    ’Twas but a torturing dream—our sudden grief!

    Then sobs and wailings down the northern wind

    Like the wild voice of shipwreck from a reef!

    By false hope lulled (his courage gave us hope!)

    By day, by night we watched,—until unfurled

    At last the word of fate!—Our memories

    Cherish one tender thought in their sad scope:

    He, looking from the window on this world,

    Found comfort in the moving green of trees.