William Lloyd Garrison, Jr.
[Reprinted from The Freeman, September, 1939]
Time slumbers, but the centuries advance,
Bearing high legends that do not abate,
Of men symbolic of what's good or great
Who, in the world's arena, broke a lance
For all mankind. Their task was to enhance
The common heritage, and dedicate
Their strength and genius, heeding not the hate
Of those who grasped the reins of circumstance.
To a young printer, earnest and self-taught,
Was granted inspiration to proclaim
A just and equal means of opening wide
The gates of opportunity, fast caught
By law and custom. In full flower he died,
Today he lives, as we invoke his name.
His great repute progresses with the years,
His message marches forward with the days
And rests not on mere rhetoric or phrase.
Its sheer, compelling logic never veers.
The world of men -- wherein all men are peers
As sons of Mother Earth -- moves in a maze
Of tangled statutes, and stares through a haze
Of deep resentment and disturbing fears.
By trial and error all the nations strive
To find a way to happiness and hope,
Skirting the crater's edge of baleful war.
Here is our moment, while we yet survive,
To hearten those who in confusion grope
And show to them what that young printer saw.