Monday, January 16, 2006

A Real Birthday For A Real Hero

There follows, a tribute by Philip Stanhope Worsley, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, England, accompanying a presented copy of his translation of the Iliad:

"To General R. E. Lee -- the most stainless of living commanders, and, except in fortune, the greatest -- this volume is presented with the writer's earnest sympathy and respectful admiration.

The grand old bard that never dies,
Receive him in our English tongue:
I send thee, but with weeping eyes,
The story that he sung.

Thy Troy is fallen, thy dear land
Is marred beneath the spoiler's heel:
I cannot trust my trembling hand
To write the things I feel.

Ah, realm of tombs! but let her bear
This blazon to the last of times:
No nation rose so white and fair,
Or fell so pure of crimes.

The widow's moan, the orphan's wail
Come round thee, yet in truth be strong:
Eternal right, though all else fail,
Can never be made wrong.

An angel's heart, an angel's mouth,
Not Homer's, could alone for me
Hymn well the great Confederate South,
Virginia first, and Lee!

From Memoirs of Robert E. Lee, by A. L. Long
Blue and Grey Press, 1983

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