Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/362

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

soldier of the cause which pierced with wounds for us is pure and crowned with thorns for us is holy. His silver spurs, the gift of fair women to brave manhood, were torn from him as he lay insensible on the field of Williamsburg. Of the knighthood they were intended to adorn he could not be despoiled. There might be applied to him words spoken of an English statesman by Argyle—"Firm as the rock, and clear as the crystal that adorns the rock." Perhaps I could not better draw the picture, in which all who knew him would perceive his portrait, than by giving as the pilot star of an impassioned life the sentiment of this verse:

"To set the cause above renown,
To love the game beyond the prize,
To honour while you strike him down,
The foe that comes with fearless eyes;
To count the life of battle good.
And dear the land that gave you birth,
And dearer yet the brotherhood
That binds the brave of all the earth."


He was no demagogue, nor did he bow to that material wealth, which is the mimic counterfeit of greatness. He had not "flattered its rank breath." Yet had he so willed, the highest honors in his Commonwealth were within his grasp. General Fitz Lee and Major John W. Daniel bore testimony to this. To a friend he wrote: "My aversion to public life is genuine, and, I confess I exult in the freedom of speaking, thinking and acting without one enslaved thought.'" In this subordination of self to the cause more dear than self, he makes us feel anew the force and charm of those grand old types which flash on us from the age of chivalry. Not for office, not for renown, still less for his own pocket, but for herself, he loved and served Virginia. By the side of this all the trumpets of renown were as naught. The dearness of a cause which defeat could not dethrone, he characteristically uttered in a letter advocating the election of General Hunton to the senate: "You know," he wrote, "he was picked up at Gettysburg, at what the Yankees call the 'high water