Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/312

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

power which cannot be put in words we felt the spell of his mysterious might fall upon his followers, and melt the sinews of their strength into his own terrible right arm.


Meditation upon Stonewall Jackson inclines one to believe that grand, genuine strenuousness is most apt to abound where there is least said about it. Bound up with Lee I have said. To this twin thunderbolt we give the reverence for true greatness which deepens with every true approach to it and insight into it. in death they give defiance unto death; vanquish death. In death they are lifted up to be the living word of our ideal. They are the Bruce and Wallace of the South. Could we rally a united South to follow in peace, with war's obedience, the banner of their characters, it were a moral Bannockburn.

This camp of veterans has deemed it a grateful and a graceful duty to group around the portrait of their chief, in death, as in life, the lieutenants of his fortitude. You felt you would not do your duty to the hero of duty if you left this undone. Here then, we may mark and inwardly digest the biography of the brave; here breathe in the moral fascination of heroic minds. Every man who is the hero of a brave, true life is a revelation to others. In the degree that we bow down to such life is the enlargement of our own.

It is to-night my privilege, at once proud and sad, to be your medium to accept, as worthy to be included in this goodly fellowship of fame, the portrait of one who was ever foremost in life's battle charge. The image of William H. Payne is etched on our hearts, as by the defining needle on a plate, "wax to receive and marble to retain;" or, to slightly change the figure, the mention of his name evokes the clear-cut cameo of one whose courage knew no danger, or knew it only to despise it; with whom to be heroic was involuntary. A bearing manly and refined, adorned by a gentle courtesy, was the visible sign of knightly grace and knightly valor at all times and in all places, unafraid, unaffected, unequivocal. At Virginia's school of war he had applied himself with natural relish to the profession of