May 23, 2003

The Bard of West Virginny

The Bard of the Holler, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginny, has let loose another golden shower of Rhetoric, including this bit of verse:

"Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again,—
    The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,
    And dies among his worshippers."

The verse is from Battle-Field by William Cullen Bryant, poet, lawyer, abolitionist, editor of the New York Post.

He seems to have written it in December, 1863. There was some general unpleasantness going on in the United States at that time, that Byrd himself later fell upon the wrong side of.

(Although I suspect Bryant may have read the poem to Byrd personally at the time.)

Ah, but context is a demanding bitch — the stanza after goes:

Yea, though thou lie upon the dust,
    When they who helped thee flee in fear,
Die full of hope and manly trust,
    Like those who fell in battle here.

Personally I like (from another Bryant verse):

But 'neath yon crimson tree
    Lover to listening maid might breathe his flame,
Nor mark, within its roseate canopy,
    Her blush of maiden shame.

For more on Bryant: http://www.wvu.edu/~lawfac/jelkins/lp-2001/bryant.html

For Bryant Park: http://www.bryantpark.org

Posted by campbell at May 23, 2003 05:14 PM | TrackBack
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