Parkes.

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So! he’s dead, and covered under—
This, our mightiest Son of Thunder!

What manner of man was he who lay
In the coffin we carried yesterday?
Was this great Parkes? Nay, sirs, not so!
Parkes the great died long ago:
This was his simulacrum, shell,
Husk with kernel rotted out;
Prayed the priest and tolled the knell
For a body whose soul was blotted out;
This of greatness had no tittle,
Hardly was he Parkes the little.
Parkes the patriot, democrat,
Parkes the denouncer of privilege,
Parkes with the pen that flashed as a sword
In Humanity’s fierce Liberation-war—
That was long ago buried:
This, whom we buried, slew him.
This fanned feud to bitter hate,
Rising early, sleeping late,
That from party strife the dower
He might gain, of place and power.

This … he’s dead, and covered under—
Once our mightiest Son of Thunder!
What was Parkes? He was a source
Of heat, not light; not mind, but force;
Milking brains until they ran
Dry to fill his big brain pan.
Genius? No! but say this, too;
Genius oft his chariot drew.
Some giants live on fleshly doles;
Parkes was a cannibal of souls.
What was Parkes? an avalanche,
Carrying all before him;
When a weaker barred the path,
Crushed and overbore him.
He had mass, momentum, weight;
He was ruthless, too, as Fate …
See the steel from a magnet fly
When a greater magnet passes by!
So would Parkes o’ercome the crowd
Of lesser men, whose wills he bowed
With the strength of his grand vitality,
His “commanding personality.”

Now … he’s dead and covered under—
This, our mightiest Son of Thunder.

Think of those sullen English serfs
Struggling, straining muscle and thew,
Forcing from barren glebe its due …
See! as fall the reluctant turfs,
Each gives its atom of life in solution
To build up Parkes’s “constitution”!
Parkes! —their force not with him fails;
They helped to build up New South Wales.
Parkes was the Parkes we used to see
Because of his yokel ancestry;
These gave fuel for his flame,
Bones and blood to build his name;
Here, once more then, see how knocks
Flesh-and-Spirit’s paradox!

Not our greatest, not our best,
He who’s dead and covered under:
Weary was he; let him rest—
This, our mightiest Son of Thunder!

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