Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/376

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JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY.

native could, the splendid lesson and example given to the world by the Pilgrim Fathers.

They had on servile order, no dumb throat;
They trusted first the universal vote;
The first were they to practice and instill
The rule of law and not the rule of will;
They lived one noble test: who would be freed
Must give up all to follow duty's lead.
They made no revolution based on blows,
But taught one truth that all the planet knows,
That all men think of, looking on a throne—
The people may be trusted with their own.

******

The past is theirs—the future ours; and we
Must learn and teach. Oh, may our records be
Like theirs, a glory symboled in a stone.
To speak as this speaks, of our labors done,
They had no model; but they left us one.

Ex-Governor Long, President of the Pilgrim Society, introduced O'Reilly humorously, as follows:

The poet is the next descendant of the Pilgrims whom I shall present to you. Though he resides in the neighboring hamlet of Boston, he was born not on the mainland, but on a small island out at sea; yet not so far out that it is not, and has not been, in the liveliest and most constant communication with us; but he is a genuine New England Pilgrim, and to a Pilgrim's love of truth he adds a certain ecstasy of the imagination and a musical note like that of a bird singing in the woods. Puritan New England recognizes him as one of its songsters. Most seriously, I believe nothing could be in better keeping with the comprehensiveness of this occasion, and that the spirit of this pilgrim makes a memory, than that he should write and speak the poem of the day; for while in none of the discriminations of race or of creed, yet in all the pulses of his heart and brain as an American citizen, he is at one with the genius of the Pilgrim landing and of the civil and religious liberty of which it was a token.

One minor tribute received by the poet, but one which he could well appreciate, was given on the day following the reading of the poem. He was spending the summer at Hull, as usual, going to his office every day by the Harbor steamer; As he came on board that day, the throng of passengers had their morning papers and were reading the