Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/311

This page has been validated.
295
Brilliant Eulogy on General W. H. Payne.

VICTORY OVER VICTORY.

Our hero is victor over victory. Not the champion of the strong against the weak, but of the weak against the strong the Bayard of the heart. Greatness, which having need to say in the battle, "All things are against me." Yet battles with consummate courage to the end, is by that sign shown to be great. It is not super-eminent for one to win when all things are for him. Of all the great things Lee did for his State, and for the South, the greatest was the life he gave; a life the world is unable to measure by reward; save that the world reserves for the highest—a crown of thorns. On his outlawed height, he fought, there he still fights the battle for us. His calm grandeur—calm in the midst of raging elements—because of victory over them, was and is our warrior. We fight behind the fortress of an unsullied life, while we have him for captain. We build his truest monument less by contribution from our purses than by humble imitations in our lives, though at long interval and with tender steps. As the likeness of his mind is stamped upon them who claim to follow him will be his monument. The soul that rises superior to the storms of fate, it shall live.

Bound up with Lee is that warrior of the Living God—led by the Spirit if man ever was—who, facing the sharpest and steepest, brought all the mountains of difficulty to their knees before him; who, patient to plan, infallible to achieve, with one hand grasped courageously that of his fellow man, because he had laid the other humbly in that of God. Bound up with Lee is that right arm of victory, known once and forever as Stonewall Jackson. We learn of him that the genius which wins victory all along the line, under conditions which to the common eye make victory impossible, is the moral and the fruit of faith. In him we read the old eternal mystery of puissance by persistence. The stability of soul beneath that inflexible face words translate not. No stage lightning, no theatric thunder, played part in his equipment. We who once looked upon his face, so earnestly silent, felt the silence to be a measure of the depth; as if the storm of life had ended in the silence of victory over it. By a