His Kindness to Young Writers—Versatile Editorial Work—Irish National Affairs—Speech before the League—His Canoeing Trips—A Papyrus Reunion—Death of Wendell Phillips, and O'Reilly's Poem—Presidential Campaign of 1884—"The King's Men"—Another Papyrus Poem—Touching Letter to Father Anderson.
IN December, 1882, a promising young poet, whose life was cut short in early manhood, James Berry Bensell, wrote this touching sonnet to the older poet, who had given him aid and encouragement:
TO JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY.
As when a man along piano keys
Trails a slow hand, and then with touch grown bold
Strikes pealing chords, by some great master old
Woven into a gem of melodies.
All full of summer and the shout of seas,—
So do thy rhythmic songs my soul enfold.
First some sweet love-note, full as it can hold
Of daintiness, comes like the hum of bees;
Then, rising grandly, thou dost sound a chord
That rings and clamors in the heart of hearts,
And dying as receding waves, departs
Leaving us richer by a lusty hoard
Of noble thoughts.
O poet! would that we
Might strike one note like thine—but just for thee!
I do not know just how many poets of his own time have given formal expression to the grateful love which all who knew him bore toward John Boyle O'Reilly; but among those who dedicated volumes of verses to him were David Proudfit ("Peleg Arkwright"), Loise Imogen Guiney, and Dr. R. D. Joyce.