On the Unveiling of the Clay Statue

George Dennison Prentice

At Louisville Ky, May 30, 1867

Hail! true and glorious semblance, hail
Of him, the noblest of our race.
We seem, at lifting of thy veil,
To see again bis living face!—
To hear the stirring words once more,
That like the storm-god's cadence pealed
With mightier power from shore to shore
Than thunders of the battle-field.
Lo! that calm, high, majestic look,
That binds our gaze as by a spell—
It is the same that erst-while shook
The traitors on whose souls it fell!
Oh, that he were again in life!—
To wave, as once, his wand of power,
And scatter far the storms of strife
That o'er our country darkly lower!

. . .

Proud statue! if the nation's life,
For which he toiled through all his years,
Must vanish in our wicked strife,
And leave but groans and blood and tears—
If all to anarchy be given,
And ruin all our land assail,
He'll turn away his eyes in Heaven,
And o'er thee we will cast thy veil.

The Louisville Metro Hall was formerly the Jefferson County Courthouse. The statue of Henry Clay by Joel Hart is in a rotunda inside the building.