Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/403

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

the historic Boyne water, and within a few miles of the hill of Tara, Ireland's once royal city.

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Two thoughts seemed to dominate his life—religion and patriotism; thoughts which form the basis of every true life; religion, which hound him to God, and consecrated him to truth.; and patriotism, which made him idolize country and think and act for the bettering of humanity. He drank deeply at the fountain of faith, and its draughts strengthened his soul in its aspirations for the highest ideals of human liberty. He was passionately fond of liberty, because he believed it to be a gift of God to men; and his voice and pen made earth ring with his denunciations of wrong wherever found,whether among the cotters of Ireland, amid the serfs of Russia, or in the negro cabins of the South. Liberty was his life idea, God its source, and humanity its application. As a silver trumpet sounding the note of human rights, he championed humanity; but his love was not the humanity of a revolution which ignored and blasphemed God, but the humanity which a crucified Saviour had redeemed and ennobled.
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O Ireland! motherland! weep for your well-beloved child; weep for your noble-hearted son. You have lost a tried and trusted chieftain. Weep, for you have lost him when you need your truest and best to defend you. Weep, but rejoice, for he has honored your name and cause. Add another to the roll of your illustrious children whose names and deeds bid the world demand your freedom,—for such another should not sit at the feet of tyrants. Freedom will come, and when it comes a pantheon will arise, and you will place him where honor is richest, and your poets will chant his praise. But the highest praise is what he wished himself to be,—the man of his people, beloved by them and God.

"He ruled no serfs, and he knew no pride,
He was one with the workers, side by side;
He would never believe but a man was made
For a nobler end than the glory of trade.
He mourned all selfish and shrewd endeavor,
But he never injured a weak one— never.
When censure was passed he was kindly dumb;
He was never so wise but a fault would come!
He erred and was sorry ; but he never drew
A trusting heart from the pure and true.
When friends look back from the years to be
God grant they may say such things of me."

God has granted his prayer. God bless you, old friend, and God