The Collegiate Way: Residential Colleges & the Renewal of University Life  ‹›


“The Grave of Genius” by Hugh Strong, 1866

“The Grave of Genius” by Hugh Strong, published in 1866, is a long poem commemorating Strong’s classmates at the University of North Carolina who died in the American Civil War. Hugh Strong was the father of Cornelia Strong, for whom Cornelia Strong College was named. While it must be admitted that the poem is not a great work of literature, it is a sincere expression of the sentiments of the time, and an interesting window into Cornelia Strong’s family. After his graduation from the University of North Carolina, Hugh Strong became a Presbyterian minister and spent most of his career in South Carolina.

Special thanks are due to Strong College members Sarah Cox, Sherrill Hayes, and Jessica Zellers for the work they did to obtain, enter, and proofread this document. Items in {braces} are editorial insertions.

The Grave of Genius

{page 1}


{page 2}

Composing the Graduating Classes of 1860,
at the
and at
have filled early graves:
To the Memories of these worthy and beloved
The following Poem is affectionately inscribed
by their

{page 3}




How sweetly dawn’d Commencement morn serene,
Five years ago, to many merry hearts,
By whom life’s prospects then were brilliant seen,
As sketch’d by Fancy’s most bewitching arts;
But still the silent tear unbidden starts
And rolls from eyes but little us’d to weep,
While classmate with endearing classmate parts,
Each throbbing heart is mov’d by feelings deep
To beg a kind remembrance ’long life’s rugged steep.


Those youthful hearts had years together been
The thrilling notes of that old College bell
Oft call’d to hall of pray’r, on “Campus” green,
And did as oft some vision sweet dispel,
As on the slumb’ring ear they startling fell,
And brought to mind some lesson yet unknown,
While treach’rous doubts their own misgivings tell
By crimson’d cheek and tongue’s thick falt’ring tone,
Proclaiming conscious truth that each would fain disown.

{page 4}


Our childhood’s homes with eagerness each sought,
Their lovely scenes shone bright within each mind,
The happy days of youth were not forgot,
They deep within each heart were still enshrin’d,
What pleasant thoughts to meet our parents kind,
A respite brief was sought from toil and care;
For us sweet Hope her garlands had entwin’d,
Our homes were deck’d with fond attractions rare,
And many welcomes warm for us were waiting there.


In mem’ry cherish’d live those precious days,
When cloudless prospects lured th’ aspiring mind
That dwelt ’neath Liberty’s resplendent rays,
Where learned brows might be with ivy twin’d,
Where ev’ry act and thought might seem design’d
To crown a life untouch’d by want and care,
And bless each blazing hearth with taste refin’d,
Where each and all things made sweet home more dear,
And grateful hearts were there to give a neighbor share.


No earthly bliss is found without alloy,
And sorrow’s darts are pointed sharp and keen;
With sober thought a cloud come o’er our joy,
O’er comrades’ graves memorial shafts were seen:
Though slumb’ring in their graves this festal scene
Reviv’d some touching mem’ries ever dear
To many hearts upon that “Campus” green—
For them oft flow’d affection’s silent tear,
We mourn’d their early blight with bitter grief sincere.

{page 5}


Scarce had we bade our homes a long farewell,
When other links fell out our circle’s chain,
And widow’d mothers’ broken hearts could tell,
And they alone could feel the bitter pain,
When death their lov’d and darling sons had ta’en—
Both gifted sons—declining years support—
Their hearts were torn, their hopes were rudely slain,
High honors crown’d the happy lives, tho’ short,
Of brightest minds that ever sought Minerva’s court.


A gath’ring storm its distant signs display’d,
Full ominous of war’s approaching ill,
The rising cloud its thunder-tones convey’d
In dazzling bursts of wild excitement’s thrill,
The nation’s heart congeal’d with deadly chill;
Since Faction’s voice was thought to plainly show
A settled scheme to chain the Southron’s will,
Destroy his peace by force or cunning low,
Lay waste his fields and fill his land with want and wo.


The Southron wakeful snuffs the tainted breeze,
His pendant sword he grasps with eager hand,
As minion’d hosts on Ocean’s tide he sees,
While western mountains show a larger band,
To devastate his cherish’d sunny land—
The hills reverberate his clarion call,
The stalwart soldier heeds his chief’s command,
One thought but animates that phalanx small,
This is, as freemen live or freeman nobly fall.

{page 6}


The bloody contest rag’d for four long years,
And many a gallant Southern soldier died,
And youthful wives bedew’d the grave with tears,
Not there to stay life’s swiftly ebbing tide:
But manly courage—honor bright—succumbs to pride,
Self-will, intrigue, low craft, and bestial might,
Though smoking heaps much more than sword decide,
But still proclaim how stubborn was the fight,
The Southron crush’d yields up his long contested right.


But fields of carnage strew’d with dying men,
The deeds of heroes smear’d with blood and gore,
The widow’s wail and orphan’s sorrows keen,
Or tears for those who’ve pass’d deaths Jordan o’er,
’Mid strife unequall’d in the days of yore,
Suit not my humble muse—much disinclin’d
To subject stern which bolder minds adore—
To gentler themes still be my lays confin’d
To touch the feeling heart and sympathetic mind.


The Grave of Genius is my present theme,
It claims a sweeter song of pathos true,
Than well to paint the dagger’s dazzling gleam,
Or earth, deep drench’d with life’s empurpling hue,
Where once the grain or sweeter roses grew
And fill’d the passing breeze with fragrant sweets,
Ere brother smil’d to strike his brother through,
And license giv’n to frauds and vile deceits,
And avarice the catalogue of ills completes.

{page 7}


Alas! that death his victim young should claim,
Whose early life gave hopes of promise high,
To writs on hist’ry’s page a deathless name,
And all the wasting strength of years defy,
And brighter shine beneath a cloudless sky,
Till time has clos’d his long unwearied flight,
And all terrestrial things forgotten lie
Amid the wrecks of wild chaotic night,
And man’s immortal part has gone to realms light.


And oh! the bitter, sad, heart-breaking, thought,
That forms so animate with life and zeal
Should fill an early grave and be forgot
By those that once did like emotions feel—
That lips which sweetly mov’d for others’ weal,
And minds that glow’d with nicest sense of right,
Should early bear death’s changeless marble seal,
And widow’d hearts should destruction’s blight,
And age have none to cheer its desolated night.


The tallest tree, amid the forest deep,
That overlooks the smoothly gliding streams,
When sun is hot, beneath whose branches sleep
The tenants of the woods in blissful dreams,
Protected from the noon-day’s scorching beams,
The furious storm first dashes to the ground,—
The timbers crash—arise bewilder’d screams
From frighten’d beasts, in blind confusion ’round,
The senseless stand or through the leafly forest bound.

{page 8}


The brilliant sons of Genius stand thus known,
Amid their race in modest wisdom’s guise,
But tow’ring high, as though they stood alone,
To point the humbler mind to brighter skies,
To which their nobler aspirations rise,
Till cruel death shall aim his quiv’ring dart,
And twang his bow—his shaft with vengeance flies,
And deep it penetrates some vital part,—
And oh! what cherish’d hopes lie buried with that heart.


Amid the waving fields of golden grain,
Where Nature’s gifts are most profusely spread,
When melting clouds distil their gentle rain,
The fruitful stalk in meekness bows its head,
And ere ’t is ready for the garner’s shed,
Its beauty ’lures some meditative mind,
That musing Fancy o’er the fields has led,
To pluck the treasure ere the reapers bind
It in the common sheaf, with all its humbler kind.


The sunny summer’s full expanding rose
May fill the balmy air with rich perfume,
Imparting sweets to ev’ry breeze that blows,
While crystal dews suffuse the morning bloom,
Or evening’s skies their lovelier tints assume;
Its sweetness but invites some beauty fair
To mark it for affection’s early tomb,
Ere time’s destroying hands the least impair
That loveliness which gentle hearts alone should share.

{page 9}


The bright display that Genius makes, likewise
Invites the stroke of man’s relentless foe;
Where Genius shines death lurks in dark disguise,
Destruction’s shaft sits ready on his bow,
To early lay the young possessor low,
Around whose brow so many hopes are twin’d,
Where wreath’d thoughts in richest beauty glow;
Yet these must early fade and leave behind
Affection’s sad remembrance in the heart enshrin’d.


The sorest grief that lights on feeble ago,—
Enough to crush the man of iron will,
Unless sustain’d by truth on Bible’s page,
Recorded there to soothe misfortune’s ill,—
Is when the bounding blood of youth grows chill,
And darling hopes within the graves are laid,
And leaves an aching void that naught can fill,
When sorrow’s bitter pangs the heart invade,
And happy waning years, in prospect, wretched made.


Methinks, that such a one is like some tree—
That stately stands upon a fertile plain,
To which the bird and beast for refuge flee,
And shelter from the pelting storms obtain—
By some rude shock its boughs are cleft atwain,
Each wintry blast but mutilates it more,—
A wreck of former self—its beauties wane
Which no returning seasons can restore,
But sighing winds in fun’ral dirge its fate deplore

{page 10}


One summer’s eve, beneath a lovely sky,
I stroll’d and gave to musing Fancy rein;
A lovelier eve ne’er greets the poet’s eye,
The golden sun is on his western wane,
His brightest tints upon the sky remain,
The fleecy clouds their softest hues assume,
Their fancied forms the captive mind enchain,
The wanton breeze is fill’d with sweet perfume,
And deeply feeling thoughts their wide domain illume.


Then contemplation rul’d the charming hour;
Absorb’d in thought I mov’d with noiseless tread,
But plucking here a leaf and there a flow’r,
Until I stood among the sacred dead:—
The twilight’s dawn a mellow haze o’erspread,
The monumental stone, in dim relief,
Seem’d higher here to rear it’s polish’d head;
Or broken shaft there told in language brief,
The unexpress’d but oft more eloquential grief.


My heart was stirr’d—my mind was turn’d within,
While all my former life rose up to view,
And tender thoughts of friends came rushing in,
Affection’s gath’ring tears my eyes bedew;
Within my ears still rang their fond adieu,
Where once we train’d our minds in classic lore,
And learn’d the higher truths of wisdom too—
But call’d away to fields of blood and gore,
Their manly forms will meet our weeping eyes no more.

{page 11}


And while I gaz’d upon the columns high,
And flow’rs which fond affection planted there
To catch the sympathies of friendship’s eye,
With all the tenderness of widow’d care,
And still the dear belov’d’s remembrance share—
Among the decorated tombs my eyes
Stand fix’d on one that wears a des’late air;
Within a gifted child of Genius lies,
But now forgot by those that worth of mind despise.


Beside this lonely grave no mourner bent
With grief-torn heart to shed affection’s tear,
No visitor would e’er this spot frequent,
Except a kindred spirit wanders near,
Whose heartfelt sympathies are center’d here,—
Then o’er his heart what painful feelings steal,
When outward world is cold and insincere,
He feels such grief as souls refin’d can feel,
A pang more pungent far than wound of glitt’ring steel.


With rev’rence I approach the lonely heap,
With tearful streaming eye and lightsome tread,
As though I might disturb th’ unbroken sleep
Of one the world neglected soon as dead—
As lost in thought I stood with naked head
To offer there my heart-felt tribute due,
To him that occupied that humble bed,
To kindle there affection’s flame anew,
His honor’d but neglected grave with tears bedew.

{page 12}


Then deepest thought my silent musings won,
’Twas then I felt the eloquence of grief,
Amid the city of the dead alone,
When scarce a breeze disturb’d the rustling leaf,
As though the sleep of death was moments brief,
To him that lay in blissful peace beneath,
From sorrow’s pangs enjoying sweet relief,
Until some soft celestial spirit’s breath
Shall animate the dull unconcious ear of death.


And while I stood with sorrow in my heart,
And fond affection felt the deepest pain
That e’er’s receiv’d from grief’s heart-breaking dart
By malice hurl’d and dipp’d in envy’s stain,
There then rose up before my vision plain,
The radiant Elpis from the spirit land,
Her look and form my ev’ry thought enchain,
And ev’ry feeling waits on her command,
While she before me ’s seen in loveliness to stand.


And fairer than the fairest eye has seen,
A lovelier form ne’er bless’d a poet’s dream,
Nor Fancy drew beneath night’s silv’ry queen,
When love is pencil’d on each lucid beam,
Amid a grove or by some rippling stream;
And though unlike the beauties born on earth,
Her winning looks controll’d with might supreme,
And all her mien bespoke celestial birth,
The sweet array of dignity and conscious worth.

{page 13}


The death-like silence then, at length, she broke,
Her voice was like aeolian music’s trill,
And O, the melting words she sweetly spoke
Ran through my aching heart with nervine thrill,
And secret avenues of bosom fill—
“Thou child of grief,” she said, “do not deplore,
The fall of these as blind misfortune’s ill,
That frosts of time their heads ne’er silver’d o’er,
Because they’ve early left this world’s unhappy shore.”


“Man’s earthly life’s a web of tissues dark
And unexplor’d as yet by mortal ken;
But here amd there bright Genius leaves a mark
As though ’twere drawn by some angelic pen,
That dimly shines upon this transient scene,
To drive away the gloom of murky night
That clothes the future in its sombre mien,
And many cheering prospects seems to blight,
And mocks the efforts vain of wise men’s deep foresight.


The present life’s a part—the infancy—
Of that existence which shall never end,
The ush’ring dawn of that eternity
Which Deity alone can comprehend,
The chain whose links infinitely extend,
And past with future through the present binds,
The darken’d past, as yet, by man unkenn’d,
Whose wide extended veil the vision binds
Of keenest eye that here an earthly dwelling binds.

{page 14}


The active mind within the body bound
Is like the sparkling gem upon the sand:
At first, a single brilliant spot is found,
So brightly gleaming on its native strand,
Until beneath some skillful forming hand,
It’s radiant with a lustre soft and bright
On beauty’s brow in some sweet sunny land—
So body hid by death from earthly sight,
The soul’s set free and lives in pleasures sweet delight.


This checker’d life is like some April day,
A moment, all is beautiful and fair—
Anon, some cloud bedims the solar ray,
The lovely scene is chang’d to sadness drear,
Except where drops of rain like crystals clear,
May sweetly sparkle in the blinking sun,
And graceful as affection’s winning tear,
Which some lov’d one from beauty’s eyes has won,
When anxious hopes have full to their fruition run—


Or like the early summer’s fragile flow’r,
That lades with sweets each breeze that passes by,
Or brightly blooms to cheer a lonesome hour—
A moment fair, its beauties fade and die,
And scatter’d o’er the ground neglected lie,
Its virgin sweets must be deliver’d up,
Its splendors fade ere innocence comes nigh
To gather wreaths the grace enjoyment’s cup,
When love and beauty meet, a joyful festive group—

{page 15}


Or like the pleasant inn where trav’lers stop,
Whom the weary days and toilsome nights have sent,
To scale some rugged mountain’s highest top
Where dwell the pleasures Fancy can invent,
Refresh’d they rise when morning’s light is lent
To further seek their destin’d resting place
Which reach’d at wearied length can give content,
And bring a thought that time can not efface
And sweetly woo each nobler thought to its embrace—


Or stream that bright reflects the orient morn
From waters that like molten silver glide,
Whose banks have here a flow’r and there a thorn
That wanton each in rich luxuriant pride,
And dip their foliage in the rolling tide,
Which ceaseless flows in silent grandeur by,
Enlarging from its source to Ocean wide,
While objects on the banks all seem to vie
To deeper tinge the waters with their native dye.


This triune life of Joy, and Hope, and Love,
Three unities in one that changeless blend,
Like Source of light in realms of bliss above,
With Envy, Hate and Grief, must o’er contend
From reason’s dawn to age’s utmost end;
Where Pleasure, Mirth and sweet Enjoyment dwell,
Are found Hate, Envy, Grief—the trio fiend—
With front malign to happiness expel,
And make anticipated bliss an earthly hell.

{page 16}


Our calendars are fram’d to mark our years
By various periods that so swiftly pass,
As time may alternate the changing spheres,
Like glitt’ring gems on dress of dancing lass:
But noble thoughts our days more fitly class
And make with noble deeds a sweeter chime—
A register more durable than brass,
Since noblest deeds and thoughts the most sublime
Leave long enduring “footprints on the sands of time.”


Thus mark’d the wrinkled brow may be a child,
In all the prime essential points of age—
The youth by laughter-loving sports beguil’d
May feel those thoughts that hoary heads engage,
Imbued with all the lore of classic page,
In school’d in all that gifted natures feels,
And oft his mind is with the letter’d sage,
Where noble thoughts a double life reveal,
And treble all his days in all enjoyments real.


Although the rose of love may have its thorn,
Conceal’d beneath its gay attractive bloom,
To pierce the feeling heart in youth’s sweet morn
And tender life’s bewitching joys entomb;
Yet it alone enjoys its sweet perfume,
And though the wound may reach to inmost soul,
And all the cheek’s fresh budding health consume
And bitter pangs may o’er the bosom roll,
’T is pain’d, because it feels the worth of what it stole.

{page 17}


The Diety has stamp’d his matchless mind
On objects great and small that meet the gaze,
A special place to each has been assign’d
By Heav’n’s first law—diversified the phase—
That universal law each thing obeys,
Its part performs at its appointed hour,
Or glacier which the alpine bird surveys,
Or winter’s storm, or summer’s gentle show’r,
With emphasis proclaims a wise creative pow’r.


One lesson nature never fails to teach,
’T is usefulness among her myriad things:
This truth the rugged mountains ever preach,
The flow’r that up along the pathway springs,
The little bird on bough that sweetly sings,
The sturdy oak and ’bindweed ’round the thorn,’
The busy buzz of tiny insect wings,
The outspread field of grain and waving corn,
Serve some great end as well as nature’s face adorn.


Amid her wide domains kind nature gives
No longer life when once her work is done:
The end obtain’d for which the creature lives,
Its brief career of active life’s been run—
It fades away like evening’s setting sun,
Until its ruins rise to life anew,
As if decay had ne’er a triumph won,
As crimson’d flow’r drinks in the crystal dew,
Some useful and subserves and wears a lovelier hue.

{page 18}


Of man that occupies the highest place,
Ordain’d to rule on earth by precepts plain,
The number’d years some purpose high embrace—
His moments, links in that bright golden chain
Whose circling folds his destiny contain—
And guardian spirits him attentive keep
From ev’ry harm and life’s destroying pain,
Until he gains his destin’d summit’s steep,
Where then he falls in death to take his quiet sleep.


To meditative minds suggestive sight
To see a stately tree with branches bare
And broken by the storm’s unfeeling might,
Amid its plain without one fellow near,
With it to mourn or solitude to share—
Around a race in youthful vigor grow—
A type of age with none its grief to bear,
Or sympathize in all its depths of wo,
Companions mould’ring in their silent graves below.


But sad to see a man of burden’d years,
Head bow’d and silver’d o’er by frosts of time,
Whose inner thoughts religion never cheers,
Whose brow is mark’d by long forgotten crime
Of wayward youth or manhood’s later prime—
The children of his friends around his feet
May vie to catch his smiles, or knees to climb;
Yet childish glee can ne’er his sadness cheat,
Or bless his broken heart again with visions sweet.

{page 19}


The busy world is careless and unkind
To many nicest feelings of the heart;
Since avarice its sympathies has twin’d
‘To gather gear’ by ev’ry fiendish art
That craft suggests or darken’d wiles impart—
Men rev’rence still a god of earthly mold,
Their temple is the money changer’s mart,
They agonize to gain the miner’s gold
That brings a train of ills no poet’s tongue has told.


Their pleasures bind them fast in Ixion’s fate;
For mock’ry’s all their vain possessions give,
’T is gazing on a millionaire’s estate,
Enjoyment such as this they may derive,
For this they toil—for this they wretched live,
And this they pawn their precious souls to win,
Until their conscience sear’d may cease to strive,
Or lift its warning voices against their sin,
And this their great reward for wreck of peace within.


The sens’tive mind’s awake to world around,
It drinks the purest joys from Pleasure’s rills,
Its own creations are with beauty crown’d,
The softest note that gentlest nature trills
Aeolian like the feeling bosom fills—
Amid the vast expanse of earth and air,
Each object seen with deep emotion thrills
The tender heart that finds new beauties there,
Unfolded by imagination’s fondest care.

{page 20}


But when ’t is pierc’d by sorrow’s poignant dart,
No warrior’s steel can give so deep a pain,
The quiv’ring shaft extracted from the heart,
Bears still the tinge of life’s rich crimson stain,
Unseen, unknown, its deepest griefs remain;
For it must ever stand at wide extremes,
The purest joys or direst woes must reign,
With sad misfortune’s blight on idol-schemes,
With prospects crown’d by more than Fancy’s sweetest dreams.


This earth with its commingling good and ill,
Man’s ever destin’d sphere was not design’d—
A place to discipline his stubborn will
That it by wholesome lawn might be refin’d—
The sens’tive mind needs not be long confin’d,
But like the wax that genial heat makes warm,
It in brief years completes the course assign’d,
Receives the seal of sweet perfection’s form,
Nor waits the rougher shocks of stern affliction’s storm.


True Genius loves the beautiful and good,
It, highest forms of beauty must adore,
The harmonies it finds in solitude,
Its vig’rous pow’rs to active life restore,
And thrill the feeling heart to inmost core,
And robe in sweet affection’s radiant light,
Those brilliant forms that baser minds ignore,
And bring them oft before th’ enraptur’d sight
To soothe the wounded heart with feelings of delight.

{page 21}


Such minds bear not the world’s unfeeling frown,
They shrink from its unhallow’d touch impure—
Alone they wear affection’s radiant crown,
Bedeck’d with orient pearls that long endure,
Whose sparkling light must kindred minds allure;
And surely none can feel those blissful dreams,
Whose holy joys give thoughts celestial pure,
But him on whom bright Genius sheds its beams,
Whose mediative soul with sweetest visions teems.


The beautiful can not abide on earth,
External grace is not the beauty meant,
The good and pure in heart—of high-born worth
To this vain world a few short years are lent,
To soothe the grief oppress’d and innocent,
So deeply wrong’d by vile deceit and fraud—
To waning hopes relume and give content,
And urge them up that bright celestial road
That leads from scenes of strife to angels’ bless’d abode.


Their longing souls within the flesh confin’d,
Like some poor fetter’d bird must ever pine,
Its cage the work of taste and skill combin’d
Is yet a prison house with hangings fine,
In which the lonely bird must still repine,
And ever mourn to meet its missing mate,
Till death comes in and ends its swift decline—
So sons of Genius leave earth’s changing state,
For wasting pain and slow disease they do not wait.

{page 22}


Too delicately organiz’d they are
To bear the envied thrusts of other minds,
And ere the lines of grief their count’nance mar,
Death cuts the cord that soul and body binds—
Set free in realms of bliss above, each finds
A place to energize among the bless’d,
Where naught the vision wide forever blinds,
To ev’ry sweet delight a welcome guest
Each spends eternal years in fadeless glory dress’d.


Though flesh decay, their spirits rob’d in light
Have left this world and all its anxious care,
For paradise—a scene of pure delight—
Where trees unfailing fruits and verdure bear,
Where silver waters flow as crystals clear,
Where highest angel them as brethren own,
Where exercise can ne’er their strength impair,
They energize in higher duties known,
And anthems sweetly sing around Jehovah’s throne.


Each higher bliss the more enjoy’d bestows
Increas’d capacity to more enjoy—
The more the heart with sweet affection glows,
Still greater joys it feels without alloy,
And such a joy as nothing can destroy
That has a place on this delusive earth—
A joy that will eternal years employ
To full unfold its true intrinsic worth,
A joy enlarg’d by newer joys’ succeeding birth.

{page 23}


‘Then partial ill is universal good,
And ev’ry chance direction wise unseen,’
Although by shrewdest minds misunderstood,
When they would go beyond this fading scene
To lift the distant future’s mystic screen—
Hence bloody wars have brought a peaceful calm,
As furious storms have left a sky serene,
And neutraliz’d malaria’s deadly qualm,
And brought for many ills in life a healing balm.


O, no: the grave but holds in sacred trust,
The body laid wihtin its cold embrace,
It separates refin’d the sleeping dust
From all alloys-material mixtures base-
Until there’s left no more an earthly trace:
The spirit then with body will unite,
. With rev’rence stand in its celestial place,
In realms of bliss with seraphs changeless bright,
And feel the happiness of purest joys’ delight.


Then, why should curious man desire to know
What Wisdom has conceal’d from ev’ry eye,
To save the feeling heart from bitter wo,
That oft would wake on earth the plaintive sigh,
Were it allow’d to know its destiny?
It is enough to know that life will end—
All dread to know the fated hour is nigh—
Each moment flitting by ‘’t is wise to spend,’
As though it may life’s end as duties comprehend.

{page 24}


It is enough to know the sleeping dust
To active life is yet ordain’d to rise:
And nature’s self commands this humble trust,
The early flow’r that sweetly blooms and dies,
With beauty new returns to greet the eyes,
And so shall man when number’d years have fled,
His Maker calls to mansions in the skies—
The grave at His command gives up its dead,
Eternal years with lasting youth will crown his head.


The tree cut down leaves life within its root,
And foliage green returning seasons bring,
The grain beneath the sod will upward shoot,
When call’d to life by warmth of genial Spring,
And truth divine confirms a doubtful thing,
‘If man once die, shall e’er he live again?’
Was ask’d and answer’d by a patriarch king—
‘I know my Savior lives and yet shall reign
And gather all his children in from land and main.’


When sorrow’s waves in wildest tumults roll
Their floods of grief across wounded breast,
This happy thought must calm the troubled soul,
And give for anxious fears a peaceful rest—
The good will dwell with sainted spirits bless’d,
Their bodies rise in glory’s garb array’d,
And denziens of paradise confess’d,
Since diety love’s promptings once obey’d,
Assum’d man’s form—an honor ne’er to angels paid.

{page 25}


Let man but strive to make his life sublime,
Not strive to read the dark decrees of fate,
And he can leave ‘upon the sands of time,’
A name to gratify the truly great—
With patience let hm toil and calmly wait,
The happy hour that frees the soul distress’d—
Then all his earthly griefs—a burden’d weight—
That oft and long the anguish’d bosom press’d,
He’ll leave within the grave and rise supreme bless’d.


Then child of sorrow, cease they bitter grief,
Bewail no more their early sun’s decline,
The gilded ray, though here so bright and brief,
More brilliant yet in softer climes will shine,
In kindred hearts it leaves affection’s shrine”—
As almost thus beneath the moon’s pale beam,
Sweet Elpis spake with form and look benign,
Dissolv’d in air at close of lengthen’d theme,
And fill’d my soul with sweeter thoughts than angels dream.


A holy calm o’er my troubled soul,
My noiseless footsteps slowly turn’d away,
Night’s empress seem’d her floods of silver roll
High up the skies in soften’d splendor’s gay—
Awake the warbling mocking-bird’s dulcet lay,
While freshen’d breezes fan my moisten’d cheeks,
“In void immense” the throbbing stars display
Those beauties man on earth so vainly seeks,
Each deeply eloquent in silent grandeur speaks.

{page 26}


Although bereft of friends I lov’d so well,
I felt how happy were my classmates dead:
Their gain that they did here no longer dwell,
Each sweetly slumb’ring in his soldier’s bed,
His country’s blessings resting on his head;
Their cherish’d names will live while time shall be,
And ’round their graves a light of glory shed,
This thought sends forth my soul in ectacsy,
Carissimi amici, beatissimi.

{page 27}


1. Young Anderson, so kind and brave,
Let Florida bewail,
Her choicest flow’rs strew o’er the grave,
He fills in soldier’s mail.

2. The “Old North State” her wreaths will twine
Around her hero’s brow;
Her Battle fell in frontmost line,
Array’d against the foe.

3. As oft we read the Scottish lays
Of “Scots whom Bruce once led,”
A tear for Bruce of college days
Will tell that he is dead.

4. The gallant Bryan nobly died
Where deadly missiles flew,
He stemm’d the battle’s bloody tide
In front of soldiers true.

5. We still remember Cooper’s form
From study thin and pale,
He fell amid the battle’s storm
In thickest of its hail.

{page 28}

6. The laughter-loving merry heart
Of Jones will throb no more,
In peace or war he did his part,
And we his fall deplore.

7. The cypress wreath for Lutterloh,
Affection’s hands have twin’d,
To drive away a haughty foe,
He freely life resign’d.

8. E. Martin ’mid his circle wide
Ne’er let enjoyment wane,
He fell where bravest spirits died,
Upon the gory plain.

9. George Martin came from Tennessee
To join our College clave,
A soldier’s death by fate’s decree,
Was his among the brave.

10. M’Callum clad in soldier’s mail,
Renounc’d the students claims,
His blood has stain’d Virginia’s vale,
Near Richmond on the James.

11. J. Mebane was his country’s shield,
He fell among the slain
Upon the bloody battlefield
Of Chickamauga’s plain.

12. Kind-hearted Quarles—whose greatest fault
Was fondness e’er to please,
A warmer heart no earthly vault
Shall gain from fate’s decree.

{page 29}

13. At Gettysburgh, Minerva’s child,
The gallant Royster fell,
The gifted mind and manners mild,
In him were blended well.

14. And Lucius Smith from out the West,
A parent’s chosen child,
He died at duty’s tern behest,
Amid his mountains wild.

15. E. Sterling with the light brown hair
Was ever fond of fun,
In toils of war he fought a share,
But soon life’s race was run.

16. How promising was gentle Weir!
For sacred desk design’d,
Had death not marred his bright career
Where bristling bay’nets shin’d.

17. The thoughtful scholar, poet, friend,
Was Wilson true and tried,
With mother’s tears out grief we blend,
Alas! how soon he died.

18. Of gifted mind and gen’rous soul,
Was Wooster young and brave,
His name concludes in the fun’ral roll
Of classmates in the grave.

Note.-J. Anderson, J. Battle, E. Bruce, G. Bruce, G. Bryan, T. Cooper, H. Jones, J. Lutterloh, E. Martin, J. McCallum, J. Mebane, -Quarles, I. Royster, S. Smith, E. Sterling, S. Weir, G. Wilson, W. Wooster.

{page 30}


1. ’T was near the “city by the sea”
Where many a hero bled,
That Barnwell fell to make her free
From foe’s polluting tread.

2. While mem’ry acts a faithful part,
We’ll mourn for Robert Bryce
Of gifted mind and feeling heart,
And free from ev’ry vice.

3. How sad that lovely Cheatham fell
By fortune’s luckless blow,
Too brave to fear or shot or shell,
Or sword of hostile foe.

4. No more we’ll meet the gallant Hill
Who fell among the slain
Whom death cut down with murd’rous will,
On Richmond’s gory plain.

5. We’ll shed a tear for William Howe,
A member of our clave,
A soldier’s fame now wreathes his brow
With laurels of the brave.

{page 31}

6. A friend was Maxwell ever dear,
A soldier kind and true,
His manly soul knew not a fear
Where death his missiles threw.

7. As mutual friends we gladly met
McQueen in days of yore,
But oh! the pain and sad regret,
We’ll meet on earth no more.

8. The cast of thought on Norwood’s face,
Disclos’d a student’s zeal,
And while in arms he sought a place,
He died for country’s weal.

9. Fort Moultrie’s fam’d in annals past,
And thrice, a nation’s pride,
Her noblest warrior breath’d his last,
When gallant Wardlaw died.

Note.-W. Barnwell, R. Bryce,-Cheatham, T. Hill, W. Howe, - Maxwell, W. McQueen, W. Norwood, L. Wardlaw.

© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2021