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Robert Ingersoll Tribute Corwin

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Tribute Corwin

Robert Green Ingersoll


Lebanon, Ohio, March 5, 1899.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: Being for the first time where Thomas
Corwin lived and where his ashes rest, I cannot refrain from saying
something of what I feel. Thomas Corwin was a natural orator --
armed with the sword of attack and the shield of defence.

Nature filled his quiver with perfect arrows. He was the lord
of logic and laughter. He had the presence, the pose, the voice,
the face that mirrored thoughts, the unconscious gesture of the
orator. He had intelligence -- a wide horizon -- logic as unerring
as mathematics -- humor as rich as autumn when the boughs and vines
bend with the weight of ripened fruit, while the forests flame with
scarlet, brown and gold. He had wit as quick and sharp as
lightning, and like the lightning it filled the heavens with sudden

In his laughter there was logic, in his wit wisdom, and in his
humor philosophy and philanthropy. He was a supreme artist. He
painted pictures with words. He knew the strength, the velocity of
verbs, the color, the light and shade of adjectives.

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He was a sculptor in speech -- changing stones to statues. He
had in his heart the sacred something that we call sympathy. He
pitied the unfortunate, the oppressed and the outcast, His words
were often wet with tears -- tears that in a moment after were
glorified by the light of smiles. All moods were his. He knew the
heart, its tides and currents, its calms and storms, and like a
skillful pilot he sailed emotion's troubled sea. He was neither
solemn nor dignified, because he was neither stupid nor egotistic.
He was natural, and had the spontaneity of winds and waves. He was
the greatest orator of his time, the grandest that ever stood
beneath our flag. Reverently I lay this leaf upon his grave.

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