"Robert E. Lee"
by Benjamin H. Hill, 1874
When the future historian shall come to survey the character of Lee
he will find it rising like a huge mountain
above the undulating plain of humanity,
and he must lift his eyes high toward Heaven to catch its summit.
He possessed every virtue of other great commanders without their vices.
He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery;
a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression;
and a victim without murmuring.
He was a public officer without vice; a private citizen without wrong;
a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy;
and a man without guile.
He was Caesar, without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny;
Napoleon, without his selfishness; and Washington, without his reward.
He was obedient to authority as a servant,
and royal in authority as a true king.
He was gentle as a woman in life; modest and pure as a virgin in thought;
Watchful as a Roman vestal in duty; submissive to law as Socrates,
and grand in battle as Achilles.
Benjamin H. Hill, 1874
Source: Vertical files, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 February 11