Poems (Coates 1916)/Volume II/Leaders of Men

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Poems, Volume II by Florence Earle Coates
Leaders of Men

LEADERS OF MEN

WHEN they are dead, we heap the laurels high
Above them where, indifferent, they lie:
 We join their deeds to unaccustomed praise,
 And crown with garlands of immortal bays
Whom, living, we but thought to crucify.


As mountains seem less glorious viewed too nigh,
So, often, do the great whom we decry
 Gigantic loom to our astonished gaze—
   When they are dead;


For, shamed by largeness, littlenesses die;
And partisan and narrow hates put by,
 We shrine our heroes for the future days;
 And to atone our ignorant delays
With fond and emulous devotion try,—
   When they are dead!