IN MEMORIAM — ROBERT ROSS.
BY JOHN C. BALL.
A HERO slain! His sacred ashes rest
Where Oakwood's silence urns the hallowed dead,
In beauty near Troy's high industrial walls.
Slain! Slain for what? Slain for fair Freedom's sake!
Sad kinship weeps, a city's heart is stirred
With deep emotion, a great commonwealth,
Ay, a nation for a martyred son
Trembles from centre to circumference,
And queries, Why, O God, this sacrifice?
A hundred years a nation! This freedom?
The freedom which our fathers bought with blood,
That all inheritors should be to life,
Liberty, and pursuit of happiness?
O Freedom, thy fair name is writ in blood!
To espouse thy beauty is to win thee,
By force of arms: and then to hold thee fast
From ravishment still costs the price of blood.
Freedom, fair goddess of the human heart!
Thou priceless gift the soul of man esteems—
E'en death with thee amid dread war's alarms
Is counted gain, for then no slavery is;
And yet, to live and own thee as a guest,
Perpetual 'neath each roof-tree in the land,
Each loyal heart desires. For this brave Ross
Upon thine altar shed his loyal blood;
And men and women weep.
Hail, goddess fair!
Thy votaries red upon thine altered hills
Their heart's memorial to the loyal brave
Who gave his fresh young life a sacrifice.
We raise no bleeding hecatomb, nor pyre
Of sacrificial flame to unknown gods;
But to the God of justice and of right,
To thee, fair goddess—thou his gift to man—
And to Robert Ross—a martyred freeman—
We give the tribute of our grateful hearts.
TROY, N.Y., March 26, 1894.
Ross, Rev. James H. A Martyr of To-Day: The Life of Robert Ross, Sacrificed to Municipal Misrule; A Story of Patriotism Calling for Municipal Reforms. Boston, MA: James H. Earle, 1894. 85-86. [Originally published in Troy Times. April 3, 1894.]
A HERO OF PEACE.
ROBERT ROSS: MURDERED AT THE POLLS, IN TROY, MARCH 6, 1894.
No bugle on the blast
Calls warriors face to face.
Grim battle being forever past,
Gone is the hero-race.
Ah, no! There is no peace!
If liberty shall live,
Never may freemen dare to cease
Their love, their life, to give.
Unto the patriot's heart
The silent summons comes;
Not braver he who does his part
To the sound of beating drums.
And thou who gavest youth,
And life, and all most dear—
Sweet soul, impassion ate of truth,
White on thy murdered bier!
Thy deed, thy date, thy name,
Are wreathed with deathless flowers;
Thy fate shall be the guiding flame
That lights to nobler hours.
RICHARD WATSON GILDER.
Ross, Rev. James H. A Martyr of To-Day: The Life of Robert Ross, Sacrificed to Municipal Misrule; A Story of Patriotism Calling for Municipal Reforms. Boston, MA: James H. Earle, 1894. 179-180.
Armed repeat voters at the polls and self-appointed watchers at the polls would be unusual today. However, almost 120 years after the murder of Robert Ross such underlying problems as machine politics, public corruption, exploitive bosses (political and corporate, left and right), police serving their patrons and not upholding the law or protecting the public all still thrive. Arguably they're more entrenched!