Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/241

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

natural. He is one of the brightest ornaments of the Irish race abroad; he lives in exile for his service to his country; he has enriched its national literature with exquisite prose and yet more exquisite verse; he renders daily service to the national cause. That such a man should be popular with his own countrymen is scarcely surprising. But Boyle O'Reilly's popularity is not limited to the children of his own race. Strangers come to Boston, strangers often enough hostile, if not to Ireland, at least to Ireland's national cause and the men who guide and direct it. The strangers meet John Boyle O'Reilly and they come away with a common tale—enthusiastic praise, unqualified admiration of the exiled Irishman, It has happened time and again that travelers in New England meeting elsewhere, and running over their joint stock of recollections, have each begun to speak with warmth of the man they most admired of all they met, and to find immediately that the name of Boyle O'Reilly was on both their lips.

Once a very gifted man, a stranger to Boston, met one day a friend, a distinguished Bostonian. Said the stranger to the Bostonian: "I have just met the most remarkable, the most delightful man in all the world." "I know whom you mean," said the Bostonian, "you mean John Boyle O'Reilly." And the Bostonian was right, of course.

And here, from the pen of a rare poet and novelist, Mr. T. Russell Sullivan, is a versified tribute to the best loved son of Papyrus, the first contribution of the author after his admission to the club:

HERE AND HEREAFTER.

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When the youngest of all is the oldest.
When the bell for our Prexy shall toll:
When death's optic transfixes the boldest,
When the iron has entered our soul;

When adversity's saccharine uses
Shall no longer watch over our gold.
And when Howard takes tea with the muses.
Leaving Tennyson out in the cold;

With earth's greatest grown sadder and wiser,
Old palaces let to new lodgers,
Albert Edward, Gambetta, the Kaiser,
All dust—with ex-President Rogers;
 
Still the dark dial hand shall go flitting
Till the smallest wee numbers shall chime
Round some dinner committee, left sitting,
On my honor, twelve hours at a time,