Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/399

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359
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

said Mr. Dillon, "I know that in my own case and in that of Mr. Parnell and many of our friends we over and over again urged on O'Reilly, in the happier times which seemed to be about to dawn upon Ireland, that he should allow us to take steps and measures to secure for him permission to revisit his native land. And John Boyle 0'Reilly, so strong was his feeling in the national cause, and so strong was his feeling against the oppression that existed in this country, sternly and unbendingly refused to grant that permission, and said that he never would tread the soil of Ireland again until its people were a free people. It had always been his dream, as he often told it to me, during the many pleasant hours we passed together, that he would visit Ireland when the people of Ireland were a free nation. It has always been a dream of mine, which now unhappily is never to be realized, to be one of those who would welcome him home in those happier days."

On Tuesday afternoon, August 12, his body was borne from his home on Winthrop Street to St. Mary's Church, Charlestown. The bearers were for the most part associates of his Fenian days. They were O'Donovan Rossa, Jeremiah O' Donovan, Michael Fitzgerald, James A. Wrenn, Capt. Lawrence O'Brien, and D. B. Cashman. In the church the patriot's remains lay in state before the high altar, an honor rarely accorded to a layman. A devoted guard of sorrowing compatriots watched by his bier. Flowers and floral emblems lay on the coffin and before the altar rails. On the dead man's breast lay a bunch of shamrocks and on the coffin-lid an offering from the colored people of Boston, of crossed palm branches. In the center stood the offering of the Young Men's Catholic Association of Boston College, a tablet, with an open book, across whose white pages was wrought in violets this line from his "Wendell Phillips":

A sower of infinite seed was he, a woodman that hewed toward the light.

The church, the sidewalks before it, and the adjacent