Ichabod, by John Greenleaf Whittier

Here is a short summary of the poem and its background (http://www.enotes.com/ichabod-salem/ichabod).

This was written in response to Webster’s Seventh of March Speech, urging passage of the Compromise of 1850 in the name of national unity and preservation of the Union.

    • O fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
      Which once he wore!
      The glory from his gray hairs gone
      Forevermore!
      Revile him not, the Tempter hath
      A snare for all;
      And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
      Befit his fall!
      Oh, dumb be passion’s stormy rage,
      When he who might
      Have lighted up and led his age,
      Falls back in night.
      Scorn! would the angels laugh, to mark
      A bright soul driven,
      Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark,
      From hope and heaven!
      Let not the land once proud of him
      Insult him now,
      Nor brand with deeper shame his dim,
      Dishonored brow.
      But let its humbled sons, instead,
      From sea to lake,
      A long lament, as for the dead,
      In sadness make.
      Of all we loved and honored, naught
      Save power remains;
      A fallen angel’s pride of thought,
      Still strong in chains.
      All else is gone; from those great eyes
      The soul has fled:
      When faith is lost, when honor dies,
      The man is dead!
      Then, pay the reverence of old days
      To his dead fame;
      Walk backward, with averted gaze,
      And hide the shame!
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