One of the scholars, now a prominent lawyer, spoke his piece, an extract from the speech of Daniel Webster at the laying of the corner-stone of the Bunker Hill Monument at Charlestown, Mass., on the 17th of June, 1825.
Venerable men! you have come down to us from a former generation. Heaven has bounteously lengthened out your lives that you might behold this joyous day. You are now where you stood fifty years ago, this very hour, with your brothers and your neighbors, shoulder to shoulder, in the strife for your country. Behold, how altered! The same heavens are indeed over your beads, the same ocean rolls at your feet; but all else, how changed! You hear now no roar of hostile cannon, you see no mixed volumes of smoke and flame rising from burning Charlestown, the ground strowed with the dead and the dying, the impetuous charge, the steady and successful repulse, the loud call to repeated assault, the summoning of all that is manly to repeated resistance, a thousand bosoms freely and fearlessly bared in an instant to whatever of terror there may be in war and death, -- all these you have witnessed but you witness them no more. All is peace.
This was delivered by one who admired heroism.
The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but him had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.
The flames rolled on, he would not go
Without his father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.
He called aloud: "Say, father, say
If yet my task is done!"
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.
"Speak, father!" once again he cried,
"If I may yet be gone!"
And but the booming shots replied, —
And fast the flames rolled on.
Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair,
And looked from that lone post of death,
In still yet brave despair.
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