James Monroe Whitfield

Lines on The Death of John Quincy Adams

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The great, the good, the just, the true,
Has yielded up his latest breath;
The noblest man our country knew,
Bows to the ghastly monster, Death
The son of one whose deathless name
Stands first on history's brightest page;
The highest on the list of fame
As statesman, patriot, and sage.


In early youth he learned to prize
The freedom which his father won;
The mantle of the patriot sire,
Descended on his mightier son.
Science, her deepest hidden lore
Beneath his potent touch revealed;
Philosophy's abundant store,
Alike his mighty mind could wield.


The brilliant page of poetry
Received additions from his pen,
Of holy truth and purity,
And thoughts which rouse the souls of men!
Eloquence did his heart inspire,
And from his lips in glory blazed,
Till nations caught the glowing fire,
And senates trembled as they praised!


While all the recreant of the land
To slavery's idol bowed the knee --
A fawning, sycophantic band,
Fit tools of petty tyranny --
He stood amid the recreant throng,
The chosen champion of the free,
And battled fearlessly and long
For justice, right, and liberty.


What though grim Death has sealed his doom
Who faithful proved to God and us;
And slavery, o'er the patriot's tomb
Exulting, pours its deadliest curse;
Among the virtuous and free
His memory will ever live;
Champion of right and liberty,
The blessings, truth and virtue give.

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James Monroe Whitfield