Ichabod

By John Greenleaf Whittier 1807–1892 John Greenleaf Whittier
So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
      Which once he wore!
The glory from his gray hairs gone
      Forevermore!

Revile him not, the Tempter hath
      A snare for all;
And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
      Befit his fall!

Oh, dumb be passion’s stormy rage,
      When he who might
Have lighted up and led his age,
      Falls back in night.

Scorn! would the angels laugh, to mark
      A bright soul driven,
Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark,
      From hope and heaven!

Let not the land once proud of him
      Insult him now,
Nor brand with deeper shame his dim,
      Dishonored brow.

But let its humbled sons, instead,
      From sea to lake,
A long lament, as for the dead,
      In sadness make.

Of all we loved and honored, naught
      Save power remains;
A fallen angel’s pride of thought,
      Still strong in chains.

All else is gone; from those great eyes
      The soul has fled:
When faith is lost, when honor dies,
      The man is dead!

Then, pay the reverence of old days
      To his dead fame;
Walk backward, with averted gaze,
      And hide the shame!

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Poet John Greenleaf Whittier 1807–1892

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Friends & Enemies, Relationships, Living, Social Commentaries, Death

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 John  Greenleaf Whittier

Biography

The 1866 publication of his long poem Snow-Bound brought John Greenleaf Whittier popular acclaim and financial security. But literary success was of secondary importance to him: his priorities were dictated by his Quaker faith and his courageous battle against slavery. Whittier was born and raised on a farm near Haverhill, Massachusetts, and felt a strong kinship throughout his life with the hard-working, rural poor.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Friends & Enemies, Relationships, Living, Social Commentaries, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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