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ANTONY'S ORATION OVER CAESAR'S BODY.
Friends, Romans, Countrymen Lend me your ears.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But yesterday the word of Caesar, might
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
Here is himself—marr'd as you see, by traitors.
EULOGY PRONOUNCED AT THE CITY of WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 1826. By WILLIAM WIRT.
The scenes which have been lately passing in our country, and of which this meeting is a continuance, are full of moral instruction. They hold up to the world a lesson of wisdom by which all may profit, if Heaven shall grant them the discretion to turn it to its use. The spectacle, in all its parts, has indeed, been most solemn and impressive; and though the first impulse be now past, the time has not yet come, and never will it come, when we can contemplate it, without renewed emotion.
In the structure of their characters; in the course of their action; in the striking coincidences which marked their high career; in the lives and in the deaths of the illustrious men, whose virtues and services we have met to commemorate—and in that voice of admiration and gratitude which has since burst, with one accord, from the twelve millions of freemen who people these States, there is a moral sublimity which overwhelms the mind, and hushes all its powers into silent amazement
The European, who should have heard the sound without apprehending the cause, would be apt to inquire, “What is the meaning of all this? what had these men done to elicit this unanimous and splendid acclamation ? Why has the whole American nation risen up, as one man, to do them honor, and offer to them this enthusiastic homage of the heart? Were they mighty warriors, and was the peal that we have heard, the shout of victory? Were they great commanders, returning from their distant conquests, surrounded with the spoils of war, and was this the sound of their triumphal procession ? Were they covered with martial glory in any form, and was this “the noisy wave of the multitude rolling back at their approach 3’” Nothing of all this: No; they were peaceful and aged patriots, who, having served their country together, through their long and useful lives, had now sunk together to the tomb. They had not fought battles; but they had formed and moved the great machinery of which battles were only a small, and, comparatively, trivial consequence. They had not commanded armies; but they had commanded the master springs of the nation, on which all its great political, as well as military movements depended. By the wisdom and energy of their counsels, and by the potent mastery of their spirits, they had contributed pre-eminently to produce a mighty Revolution, which has changed the aspect of the world. A Revolution which, in one half of that world has already restored man to his “long-lost liberty;” and government to its only legitimate object, the happiness of the People: and, on the other hemisphere, has thrown a light so strong, that even the darkness of despotism is beginning to recede. Compared with the solid glory of an achievement like this, what are battles, and what the pomp of war, but the poor and fleeting pageants of a theatre : What were the selfish and petty strides of Alexander to conquer a little section of a savage world, compared with this generous, this magnificent advance towards the emancipation of the entire world ! And this, be it remembered, has been the fruit of intellectual exertion the triumph of mind! What a proud
testimony does it bear to the character of our nation,
that they are able to make a proper estimate of services like these ! That while, in other countries, the senseless mob fall down in stupid admiration, before the bloody wheels of the conqueror—even of the conqueror by accident—in this, our People rise, with one accord, to pay their homage to intellect and virtue ! What a cheering pledge does it give of the stability of our institutions, that while abroad, the yet benighted multitude are prostrating themselves before the idols which their own hands have fashioned into Kings, here in this land of the free, our People are every where starting up with one impulse, to follow with their acclamations the ascending spirits of the great Fathers of the Republic : This is a spectacle of which we may be permitted to be proud. It honors our country no less than the illustrious dead. And could those great Patriots speak to us from the tomb, they would tell us that they have more pleasure in the testimony which these honors bear to the character of their country, than in that which they bear to their individual services. They now see as they were seen, while in the body, and know the nature of the feeling from which these honors flow. It is love
for love. It is the gratitude of an enlightened nation to the noblest order of benefactors. It is the only glory worth the aspiration of a generous spirit. Who would not prefer this living tomb in the hearts of his countrymen, to the proudest mausoleum that the Genius of Sculpture could erect