The complete works of Ralph Waldo Emerson: Miscellanies [Vol. 11]
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882., Emerson, Edward Waldo, 1844-1930.
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HARVARD COMMEMORATION SPEECH

It was a proud and sad, and yet a joyful day, when Harvard welcomed back those of her sons who had survived the war. All who could come were there, from boys to middle-aged men, from private soldier to general, some strong and brown, and others worn and sick and maimed, but all on that day proud and happy. The names of the ninety-three of Harvard's sons who had fallen in the war were inscribed on six tablets and placed where all could see.

In the church, where then the college exercises were held, the venerable ex-president, Dr. Walker, read the Scriptures, Rev. Phillips Brooks offered prayer, a hymn by Robert Lowell was sung, and the address was made by the Rev. George Putnam. In the afternoon the alumni, civic and military, with their guests, were marshalled by Colonel Henry Lee into a great pavilion behind Harvard Hall, where they dined. Hon. Charles G. Loring presided; Governor Andrew, General Meade, General Devens and other distinguished soldiers spoke, and poems by Dr. Holmes and Mrs. Julia Ward Howe were read. The president of the day called on Mr. Emerson as representative of the poets and scholars whose thoughts had been an inspiration to Harvard's sons in the field.

Page 344, note 1. This was the mother of Robert Gould Shaw, who lost his life a few months later, leading his dusky soldiers up the slopes of Fort Wagner. It was in his honor that Mr. Emerson wrote in the "Voluntaries,"—

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Stainless soldier on the walls,
Knowing this,—and knows no more,—
Whoever fights, whoever falls,
Justice conquers evermore,
Justice after as before,—
And he who battles on her side,
God, though he were ten times slain,
Crowns him victor glorified,
Victor over death and pain.

Page 345, note 1.

"O Beautiful! my Country! ours once more!
What words divine of lover or of poet
Could tell our love and make thee know it,
Among the Nations bright beyond compare?
What were our lives without thee?
What all our lives to save thee?
We reck not what we gave thee;
We will not dare to doubt thee,
But ask whatever else, and we will dare!"

Lowell, "Commemoration Ode.