Last eve he watched with eager gaze
The Senate, thronged with England’s best;
To-day his swift-winged pen hath rest,
No more to portion blame or praise.
Last night the people’s cause he led,
And leading drew the wonted cheers;
A sudden pallor rose their fears ---
The rush of friends was vain: dead! – dead!
He died in harness. So to die
An honoured grave is nobly won,
We grieve, a high career half run,
He ‘neath the sod shall peaceful lie.
The friend of all the sore oppressed,
His fervid, fearless, patriot zeal
Watched jealously the common weal,
And strove that wrong might be redressed.
‘Tis well; - for what God wills is well:
The seed he sowed shall fruitful spring;
And they who harvest treasures bring
Shall of his labours speak and how he working fell.
June 28, 1864

Title:In Memoriam.Washington Wilks, Died 27th June, 1864


Publication:The Blackburn Times

Published in:Blackburn

Date:July 2, 1864

Keywords:elegy, morality, work


This elegy is for the recently deceased pro-Union editor of the London Star newspaper. Wilks was famous for his anti-slavery efforts and his passing was widely mourned, especially as he dropped dead whilst giving a speech on the subject of the American Civil War and the question of emancipation. – SR