THE MARTYR

(Indicative of the Passion of the People on the 15th Day of April, 1865)
by Herman Melville
(1819-1891)

Good Friday was the day
   Of the prodigy and crime,
When they killed him in his pity,
   When they killed him in his prime
Of clemency and calm--
      When with yearning he was filled
      To redeem the evil-willed,
And, though conqueror, be kind;
   But they killed him in his kindness,
   In their madness and their blindness,
And they killed him from behind.

      There is sobbing of the strong,
         And a pall upon the land;
      But the People in their weeping
            Bare the iron hand;
      Beware the People weeping
          When they bare the iron hand.

He lieth in his blood--
   The father in his face;
They have killed him, the Forgiver--
   The Avenger takes his place,
The Avenger wisely stern,
      Who in righteousness shall do
      What the heavens call him to,
And the parricides remand;
   For they killed him in his kindness,
   In their madness and their blindness,
And his blood is on their hand.

      There is sobbing of the strong,
         And a pall upon the land;
      But the People in their weeping
            Bare the iron hand;
      Beware the People weeping
          When they bare the iron hand.



President Abraham Lincoln