Lard’s Tribute To Campbell

As a part of his eulogy after the death of Alexander Campbell, the following words from the pen of Moses E. Lard, one of his students, present a rare portrait of this man of God:

“To few men has nature been more kind than to Mr. Campbell. No word but lavish will express her gifts to him: and this must be accepted as true, whether it have reference to the inner or outer man. Physically, not one man in a thousand was so well endowed as was he. Nature was in a fertile mood when she molded that large sinewy body. Material was abundant and was bestowed with no grudging hand. In heighth, in the day of his prime, he stood, I should say, full six feet, perhaps a little the rise of that. And from the first foot to the sixth, counting upward was not one defective bone or muscle. Not a pound of flesh too much, not a pound too little. His body was a noble one. To say that it was formed to manifest the true conception of the symmetrical or the beautiful would be, going too far. It was not. Toughness and power were palpably the two finest traits in it. Grace and beauty are ideas it did not suggest. Not that it was ungainly, for it was not. It was not rude; only it was not exquisite. The lightness and ‘polish of the model’ Greek it lacked; the force and strength of his own sorrowing Erin were its boast. Nor was a body ever more largely endowed with the true activities of life than his. Even when he slept I should think his muscles often twitched with life. With this his whole frame seemed ever replete. Every motion and emotion of the man evinced its bounding presence. His walk his talk, his look, and laugh were fervent with it. This, through life, kept him from acquiring the courtly studied manner too often and always unwisely assumed by the great. A slow measured bow was something he could not make. Life rushed on too fast. It left him not the time. He shook your hand in passing you; looked back and made his hasty remark, and then darted on as if some grand and inexorable current bore him away. This never-sleeping energy of his nature often exhibited his body at a disadvantage. He had no time to study gestures. His act was as inartificial as that of the untutored child who does not know that the world has criticism to make, and heeds not the world’s criticism when it is made. When he walked he was apt to walk too fast, as if the leading idea were on the wing and he was pressed in the pursuit. When he rode he rocked on his horse, as if to aid his speed; and even in his speech he often articulated one word to hurriedly in hastening to the next. To the eye this gave him a rather rug­ged, irregular appearance, but at the same time it served to show him in the sublime, original light in which nature delights to exhibit her finest samples of handiwork. With a body formed as his was, any one at all acquainted with human nature would have predicted for him a life of not less than eighty years; and he fell only a little short of that. With less exhausting mental labor than he performed, he might well have reached ninety; to which add a degree of physical repose to which it may truly be said he knew nothing, and a hundred years might have fallen his lot. But for his sake we shall not lament that a merciful Providence spared him the burden of the additional twenty.”

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