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John Brown

Life and History

Poem - At John Brown's Grave

"At John Brown's Grave" by Joseph Cook, LL. D. was written in 1862, at North Elba, N.Y.


At rest until the heavens be no more

Lies he of eagle eye and steel-gray hair;

Here fronts his lonely grave his cabin door,

Who slavery bearded in its bloody lair.


The Adirondacks watch; the stars sing hymns

Of liberty above the lightning-riven spot;

A here’s high, clear soul in heaven swims,

And the four continents forget him not.


A three days’ sullen storm the sun bursts through;

Cloud-Cleaver’s glittering summit and the slope

Of giant White Face, amber, gold, and blue,

Receive a far-shot javelin beam of Hope.


Heaven’s symbol of the hour and man it seems;

A lance of fire across the sky’s vast frown;

Through gray, fierce gloom the searching, long

Shaft gleams;

Awestruck I greet the omen, and bow down.


And kiss the sod the martyr lies beneath;

My native mountains, sun and rain, the air,

Stars, moon, and stream, lake, forest, rock, and


Join with me here in Freedom’s passionate



“Of thee, John Brown, may God preserve the dust;

Thy death the fettered Northern soul set free;

Thy sword’s edge broke the slumbers of the just;

And loosed the avalanche of liberty.”