Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/242

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While our youngsters—or theirs, as it may be—
Gather here when a banquet is toward,
All as merry as we are shall they be.
And the saddle shall smoke on the board.

And the mirth shall wax deeper and broader
Round the cup we have emptied and filled.
Till the hammer shall knock down disorder,
And the shriek of the hawk shall be stilled.

Then the dusty Papyrus leaves turning.
Says some juvenile bard of the time:
"Let us pick out a brand from the burning,
Let us see what these roosters called rhyme!"

Drawn apart from those time-honored pages
By the hand of good fortune alone.
Falls a leaf of the earlier ages
By the only O'Reilly — our own.

And the voice of the scoffer that reads it
Takes a tremulous turn in our cause;
More expressive the silence that heeds it
Than the loudest and wildest applause.

Then the cherub that once was O'Reilly,
On his cloud in the mystical land.
Shall aslant from his halo peep slyly.
And his harp shall slide out of his hand.

He shall linger a moment to listen,
Looking down from perpetual joys,
And a tear on his eyelids shall glisten
As benignly he whispers: "Dear boys!"

December 4, 1880.

This apostle of muscular Christianity could forgive an injury, no matter how grievous; but an insult he resented promptly with pen or hand, as occasion seemed to require. Such an occasion presented itself one day in the fall of 1874, when a fellow, who had sought the Pilot's countenance in aid of a certain object for which he was canvassing, resented the editor's refusal by circulating some slanders about him. When he next called at the Pilot office, O'Reilly demanded an explanation and retraction. The