Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/299

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

Brigadier-General Robert Toombs. 293

Brigadier-General Robert Toombs. — An Address delivered before the Con- federate Survivors Association in Augusta, Georgia, at its Eighth An- nual. Meeting, on Memorial Day, April 26th, 1886, by Colonel Charles C. Jones, Jr.. LL.D., President of the Association.

Comrades and Friends :

Mirzah* saw in a vision a bridge, with a hundred arches, rising out of a thick mist at the one end, and losing itself in a thick mist at the other, spanning a portion of time, and with the great tide of eternity flowing beneath. Oi the vast multitudes essaying to pass over this poyit de vie, not a single individual, at some stage or other of the transit, escaped falHng. through the uncertain flooring. Many there were who, indulging in mirth and jollity, unexpectedly lapsed into the dark waters. Others, looking up toward heaven with the signs of calm speculation and Christian resignation upon their coun- tenances, stumbled and disappeared. Others still, pursuing baubles which glittered in their eyes and danced before them, lost their foot- ing, and were swallowed up by the flood. Others still, their fore- heads wreathed with bays, rich, powerful, influential, and saluted with honor; were, in a moment, lost to sight. And some went down with swords in their hands ; some with crowns upon their heads; and a few there were who, having hobbled on almost to the furthest arch, tripped and fell, one after another, in feebleness and silence, as though tired and spent after a long journey. As he looked upon the further end of the cloud-enveloped valley, toward which the tide was bear- ing the generations of mortals, and ere the good Genius had revealed unto him the vast ocean of futurity stretching beyond, divided by a rock of adamant, the one part covered with darkness, and the other dotted with innumerable islands, peopled with beings in glorious habits with garlands upon their brows, vocal with the harmony of celestial music, beatified with fruits, flowers and fountains, and interwoven with a thousand shining seas, Mirzah — his heart moved with deep melan- choly — exclaimed surely man is but a shadow, and life a dream.

But, my comrades, it needs no journey to Grand Cairo, or inspection of oriental manuscripts, to persuade us, on this Memorial Day, that —

" All flesh is grass, and all its glory fades Like the fair flow'r dishevel'd in the wind; Riches have wings, and grandeur is a dream; The man we celebrate must find a tomb. And we that worship him."

  • The Spectator, No. 159.