Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The World's Best Poetry, Volume 8 by Various

Part 7 out of 9

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

FORCEYTHE WILLSON.

* * * * *

BROTHER JONATHAN'S LAMENT FOR
SISTER CAROLINE.

[March 25, 1861, South Carolina having adopted the Ordinance of
Secession.]

She has gone,--she has left us in passion and pride--
Our stormy-browed sister, so long at our side!
She has torn her own star from our firmament's glow,
And turned on her brother the face of a foe!

O Caroline, Caroline, child of the sun,
We can never forget that our hearts have been one,--
Our foreheads both sprinkled in Liberty's name,
From the fountain of blood with the finger of flame!

You were always too ready to fire at a touch;
But we said: "She is hasty--she does not mean much."
We have scowled when you uttered some turbulent threat;
But friendship still whispered: "Forgive and forget."

Has our love all died out? Have its altars grown cold?
Has the curse come at last which the fathers foretold?
Then Nature must teach us the strength of the chain
That her petulant children would sever in vain.

They may fight till the buzzards are gorged with their spoil,--
Till the harvest grows black as it rots in the soil,
Till the wolves and the catamounts troop from their caves,
And the shark tracks the pirate, the lord of the waves:

In vain is the strife! When its fury is past,
Their fortunes must flow in one channel at last,
As the torrents that rush from the mountains of snow
Roll mingled in peace in the valleys below.

Our Union is river, lake, ocean, and sky;
Man breaks not the medal when God cuts the die!
Though darkened with sulphur, though cloven with steel,
The blue arch will brighten, the waters will heal!

O Caroline, Caroline, child of the sun,
There are battles with fate that can never be won!
The star-flowering banner must never be furled,
For its blossoms of light are the hope of the world!

Go, then, our rash sister, afar and aloof,--
Run wild in the sunshine away from our roof;
But when your heart aches and your feet have grown sore,
Remember the pathway that leads to our door!

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.

* * * * *

JONATHAN TO JOHN.

It don't seem hardly right, John,
When both my hands was full,
To stump me to a fight, John,--
Your cousin, tu, John Bull!
Old Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
We know it now," sez he,
"The Lion's paw is all the law,
Accordin' to J.B.,
Thet's fit for you and me!"

You wonder why we're hot, John?
Your mark wuz on the guns,
The neutral guns, thet shot, John,
Our brothers an' our sons:
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
There's human blood," sez he,
"By fits an' starts, in Yankee hearts,
Though 't may surprise J.B.
More 'n it would you an' me."

Ef I turned mad dogs loose, John,
On _your_ front parlor stairs,
Would it just meet your views, John,
To wait an' sue their heirs?
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess,
I on'y guess," sez he,
"Thet ef Vattel on _his_ toes fell,
'T would kind o' rile J.B.,
Ez wal ez you an' me!"

Who made the law thet hurts, John,
_Heads I win--ditto tails_?
"J.B." was on his shirts, John,
Onless my memory fails.
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
(I'm good at thet)," sez he,
"Thet sauce for goose ain't _jest_ the juice
For ganders with J.B.,
No more 'n with you or me!"

When your rights was our wrongs, John,
You didn't stop for fuss,--
Britanny's trident prongs, John,
Was good 'nough law for us.
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
Though physic's good," sez he,
"It doesn't foller thet he can swaller
Prescriptions signed 'J.B.'
Put up by you an' me."

We own the ocean, tu, John,
You mus'n' take it hard,
Ef we can't think with you, John,
It's jest your own back yard.
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
Ef _thet's_ his claim," sez he,
"The fencin' stuff'll cost enough
To bust up friend J.B.
Ez wal ez you an' me!"

Why talk so dreffle big, John,
Of honor when it meant
You didn't care a fig, John,
But jest for _ten per cent_?
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
He's like the rest," sez he,
"When all is done, it's number one
Thet's nearest to J.B.,
Ez wal ez t' you an' me!"

We give the critters back, John,
Cos Abram thought 'twas right;
It warn't your bullyin' clack, John,
Provokin' us to fight.
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
We've a hard row," sez he,
"To hoe just now; but thet, somehow,
May happen to J.B.,
Ez well ez you an' me!"

We ain't so weak an' poor, John,
With twenty million people,
An' close to every door, John,
A school house an' a steeple.
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
It is a fact," sez he,
"The surest plan to make a Man
Is, think him so, J.B.,
Ez much ez you an' me!"

Our folks believe in Law, John;
An' it's fer her sake, now,
They've left the axe an' saw, John,
The anvil an' the plow.
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
Ef 't warn't fer law," sez he,
"There'd be one shindy from here to Indy;
An' _thet_ don't suit J.B.
(When 'tain't 'twixt you an' me!)"

We know we've got a cause, John,
Thet's honest, just, an' true;
We thought 't would win applause, John,
Ef nowhere else, from you.
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
His love of right," sez he,
"Hangs by a rotten fibre o' cotton;
There's natur' in J.B.,
Ez well ez you an' me!"

The South says, "_Poor folks down_!" John,
An' "_All men up_!" say we,--
White, yaller, black, an' brown, John;
Now which is your idee?
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
John preaches wal," sez he;
"But, sermon thru, an' come to _du_,
Why there's the old J.B.
A-crowdin' you an' me!"

Shall it be love or hate, John?
It's you thet's to decide;
Ain't _your_ bonds held by Fate, John,
Like all the world's beside?
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
Wise men fergive," sez he,
"But not ferget; an' some time yet
Thet truth may strike J.B.,
Ez wal ez you an' me!"

God means to make this land, John,
Clear thru, from sea to sea,
Believe an' understand, John,
The _wuth_ o' bein' free.
Ole Uncle S., sez he, "I guess
God's price is high," sez he;
"But nothin' else than wut he sells
Wears long, an' thet J.B.
May larn, like you an' me!"

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.

* * * * *

ALL QUIET ALONG THE POTOMAC.

"All quiet along the Potomac," they say,
"Except now and then a stray picket
Is shot, as he walks on his beat, to and fro,
By a rifleman hid in the thicket.
'Tis nothing: a private or two, now and then,
Will not count in the news of the battle;
Not an officer lost,--only one of the men,
Moaning out, all alone, the death-rattle."

All quiet along the Potomac to-night,
Where the soldiers lie peacefully dreaming;
Their tents in the rays of the clear autumn moon,
Or the light of the watch-fires, are gleaming.
A tremulous sigh, as the gentle night-wind
Through the forest leaves softly is creeping;
While stars up above, with their glittering eyes,
Keep guard,--for the army is sleeping.

There's only the sound of the lone sentry's tread
As he tramps from the rock to the fountain,
And he thinks of the two in the low trundle-bed,
Far away in the cot on the mountain.
His musket falls slack; his face, dark and grim,
Grows gentle with memories tender,
As he mutters a prayer for the children asleep,
For their mother,--may Heaven defend her!

The moon seems to shine just as brightly as then,
That night when the love yet unspoken
Leaped up to his lips,--when low, murmured vows
Were pledged to be ever unbroken;
Then drawing his sleeve roughly over his eyes,
He dashes off tears that are welling,
And gathers his gun closer up to its place,
As if to keep down the heart-swelling.

He passes the fountain, the blasted pine-tree,--
The footstep is lagging and weary;
Yet onward he goes, through the broad belt of light,
Toward the shades of the forest so dreary.
Hark! was it the night-wind that rustled the leaves?
Was it moonlight so wondrously flashing?
It looked like a rifle: "Ha! Mary, good-bye!"
And the life-blood is ebbing and plashing.

All quiet along the Potomac to-night,--
No sound save the rush of the river;
While soft falls the dew on the face of the dead,--
The picket's off duty forever.

ETHELINDA ELLIOTT BEERS.

* * * * *

THE COUNTERSIGN.

Alas the weary hours pass slow,
The night is very dark and still,
And in the marshes far below
I hear the bearded whippoorwill.
I scarce can see a yard ahead;
My ears are strained to catch each sound;
I hear the leaves about me shed,
And the spring's bubbling through the ground.

Along the beaten path I pace,
Where white rags mark my sentry's track;
In formless shrubs I seem to trace
The foeman's form, with bending back;
I think I see him crouching low--
I stop and list--I stoop and peer,
Until the neighboring hillocks grow
To groups of soldiers far and near.

With ready piece I wait and watch,
Until my eyes, familiar grown,
Detect each harmless earthen notch,
And turn guerrillas into stone;
And then amid the lonely gloom,
Beneath the tall old chestnut trees,
My silent marches I resume,
And think of other times than these.

"Halt! who goes there?" my challenge cry,
It rings along the watchful line;
"Relief!" I hear a voice reply--
"Advance, and give the countersign!"
With bayonet at the charge I wait--
The corporal gives the mystic spell;
With arms aport I charge my mate,
Then onward pass, and all is well.

But in the tent that night awake,
I ask, if in the fray I fall,
Can I the mystic answer make,
When the angelic sentries call?
And pray that Heaven may so ordain,
Where'er I go, what fate be mine,
Whether in pleasure or in pain,
I still may have the countersign.

ANONYMOUS.

* * * * *

CIVIL WAR.

"Rifleman shoot me a fancy shot
Straight at the heart of yon prowling vidette;
Ring me a ball in the glittering spot
That shines on his breast like an amulet!"

"Ah, captain! here goes for a fine-drawn bead,
There's music around when my barrel's in tune!"
Crack! went the rifle, the messenger sped,
And dead from his horse fell the ringing dragoon.

"Now, rifleman, steal through the bushes, and snatch
From your victim some trinket to handsel first blood;
A button, a loop, or that luminous patch
That gleams in the moon like a diamond stud!"

"O captain! I staggered, and sunk on my track,
When I gazed on the face of that fallen vidette,
For he looked so like you, as he lay on his back,
That my heart rose upon me, and masters me yet.

"But I snatched off the trinket,--this locket of gold;
An inch from the centre my lead broke its way,
Scarce grazing the picture, so fair to behold,
Of a beautiful lady in bridal array."

"Ha! rifleman, fling me the locket!--'tis she,
My brother's young bride, and the fallen dragoon
Was her husband--Hush! soldier, 'twas Heaven's decree,
We must bury him there, by the light of the moon!

"But hark! the far bugles their warnings unite;
War is a virtue,--weakness a sin;
There's a lurking and loping around us to-night,
Load again, rifleman, keep your hand in!"

CHARLES DAWSON SHANLY.

* * * * *

THE TWO WIVES.

The colonel rode by his picket-line
In the pleasant morning sun,
That glanced from him far off to shine
On the crouching rebel picket's gun.

From his command the captain strode
Out with a grave salute,
And talked with the colonel as he rode:--
The picket levelled his piece to shoot.

The colonel rode and the captain walked,--
The arm of the picket tired;
Their faces almost touched as they talked,
And, swerved from his aim, the picket fired.

The captain fell at the horse's feet,
Wounded and hurt to death,
Calling upon a name that was sweet
As God is good, with his dying breath.

And the colonel that leaped from his horse and knelt
To close the eyes so dim,
A high remorse for God's mercy felt,
Knowing the shot was meant for him.

And he whispered, prayer-like, under his breath,
The name of his own young wife:
For Love, that had made his friend's peace with Death,
Alone could make his with life.

WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS.

* * * * *

THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND MORE.

[September, 1861;]

We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more!
From Mississippi's winding stream and from New England's shore;
We leave our ploughs and workshops, our wives and children dear,
With hearts too full for utterance, with but a silent tear;
We dare not look behind us, but steadfastly before:
We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more!

If you look across the hill-tops that meet the northern sky,
Long moving lines of rising dust your vision may descry;
And now the wind, an instant, tears the cloudy veil aside,
And floats aloft our spangled flag in glory and in pride,
And bayonets in the sunlight gleam, and bands brave music pour:
We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more!

If you look all up our valleys where the growing harvests shine,
You may see our sturdy farmer boys fast forming into line;
And children from their mother's knees are pulling at the weeds,
And learning how to reap and sow against their country's needs;
And a farewell group stands weeping at every cottage door:
We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more!

You have called us, and we're coming, by Richmond's bloody tide
To lay us down, for Freedom's sake, our brothers' bones beside,
Or from foul treason's savage grasp to wrench the murderous blade,
And in the face of foreign foes its fragments to parade.
Six hundred thousand loyal men and true have gone before:
We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more!

ANONYMOUS.

* * * * *

THE OLD MAN AND JIM.

Old man never had much to say--
'Ceptin' to Jim,--
And Jim was the wildest boy he had,
And the old man jes' wrapped up in him!
Never heerd him speak but once
Er twice in my life,--and first time was
When the army broke out, and Jim he went,
The old man backin' him, fer three months;
And all 'at I heerd the old man say
Was jes' as we turned to start away,--
"Well, good-bye, Jim:
Take keer of yourse'f!"

'Peared like he was more satisfied
Jes' _lookin'_ at Jim
And likin' him all to hisse'f-like, see?--
'Cause he was jes' wrapped up in him!
And over and over I mind the day
The old man come and stood round in the way
While we was drillin', a-watchin' Jim;
And down at the deepot a heerin' him say,--
"Well, good-bye, Jim:
Take keer of yourse'f!"

Never was nothin' about the farm
Disting'ished Jim;
Neighbors all ust to wonder why
The old man 'peared wrapped up in him:
But when Cap. Biggler, he writ back
'At Jim was the bravest boy we had
In the whole dern rigiment, white er black,
And his fightin' good as his farmin' bad,--
'At he had led, with a bullet clean
Bored through his thigh, and carried the flag
Through the bloodiest battle you ever seen,--
The old man wound up a letter to him
'At Cap. read to us, 'at said,--"Tell Jim Good-bye;
And take keer of hisse'f!"

Jim come home jes' long enough
To take the whim
'At he'd like to go back in the calvery--
And the old man jes' wrapped up in him!
Jim 'lowed 'at he'd had sich luck afore,
Guessed he'd tackle her three years more.
And the old man give him a colt he'd raised,
And follered him over to Camp Ben Wade,
And laid around fer a week er so,
Watchin' Jim on dress-parade;
'Tel finally he rid away,
And last he heerd was the old man say,--
"Well, good-bye, Jim:
Take keer of yourse'f"

Tuk the papers, the old man did,
A-watchin' fer Jim,
Fully believin' he'd make his mark
_Some_ way--jes' wrapped up in him!
And many a time the word 'ud come
'At stirred him up like the tap of a drum:
At Petersburg fer instunce, where
Jim rid right into their cannons there,
And tuk 'em, and p'inted 'em t' other way,
And socked it home to the boys in gray,
As they skooted fer timber, and on and on--
Jim a lieutenant,--and one arm gone,--
And the old man's words in his mind all day,--
"Well, good-bye, Jim:
Take keer of yourse'f!"

Think of a private, now, perhaps,
We'll say like Jim,
'At's clumb clean up to the shoulder-straps--
And the old man jes' wrapped up in him!
Think of him--with the war plum' through,
And the glorious old Red-White-and-Blue
A-laughin' the news down over Jim,
And the old man, bendin' over him--
The surgeon turnin' away with tears
'At hadn't leaked fer years and years,
As the hand of the dyin' boy clung to
His Father's, the old voice in his ears,--
"Well, good-bye, Jim:
Take keer of yourse'f!"

JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY.

* * * * *

STONEWALL JACKSON'S WAY

Come, stack arms, men; pile on the rails;
Stir up the camp-fire bright!
No growling if the canteen fails:
We'll make a roaring night.
Here Shenandoah brawls along,
There burly Blue Ridge echoes strong,
To swell the Brigade's rousing song,
Of Stonewall Jackson's Way.

We see him now--the queer slouched hat,
Cocked o'er his eye askew;
The shrewd, dry smile; the speech so pat,
So calm, so blunt, so true.
The "Blue-light Elder" knows 'em well:
Says he, "That's Banks; he's fond of shell.--
Lord save his soul! we'll give him--;" Well,
That's Stonewall Jackson's Way.

Silence! Ground arms! Kneel all! Caps off!
Old Massa's going to pray.
Strangle the fool that dares to scoff:
Attention!--it's his way.
Appealing from his native sod,
_In forma pauperis_ to God.
"Lay bare Thine arm! Stretch forth Thy rod:
Amen!"--That's Stonewall's Way.

He's in the saddle now. Fall in!
Steady! the whole brigade.
Hill's at the ford, cut off; we'll win
His way out, ball and blade.
What matter if our shoes are worn?
What matter if our feet are torn?
Quick step! we're with him before morn:
That's Stonewall Jackson's Way.

The sun's bright lances rout the mists
Of morning; and--By George!
Here's Longstreet, struggling in the lists,
Hemmed in an ugly gorge.
Pope and his Dutchmen!--whipped before.
"Bay'nets and grape!" hear Stonewall roar.
Charge, Stuart! Pay off Ashby's score,
In Stonewall Jackson's Way.

Ah, Maiden! wait and watch and yearn
For news of Stonewall's band.
Ah, Widow! read, with eyes that burn,
That ring upon thy hand.
Ah, Wife! sew on, pray on, hope on!
Thy life shall not be all forlorn.
The foe had better ne'er been born,
That gets in Stonewall's Way.

JOHN WILLIAMSON PALMER

* * * * *

BARBARA FRIETCHIE.

Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn.

The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.

Round about them orchards sweep.
Apple and peach trees fruited deep,

Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,

On that pleasant morn of the early fall
When Lee marched over the mountain wall,--

Over the mountains, winding down,
Horse and foot into Frederick town.

Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,

Flapped in the morning wind: the sun
Of noon looked down, and saw not one.

Tip rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed with her fourscore years and ten;

Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down;

In her attic-window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet.

Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.

Under his slouched hat left and right
He glanced: the old flag met his sight.

"Halt!"--the dust-brown ranks stood fast;
"Fire!"--out blazed the rifle-blast.

It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.

Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf;

She leaned far out on the window-sill,
And shook it forth with a royal will.

"Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country's flag," she said.

A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;

The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman's deed and word:

"Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!" he said.

All day long through Frederick street
Sounded the tread of marching feet;

All day long that free flag tost
Over the heads of the rebel host.

Ever its torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well;

And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Shone over it with a warm good-night.

Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er.
And the rebel rides on his raids no more.

Honor to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall's bier.

Over Barbara Frietchie's grave,
Flag of freedom and union, wave!

Peace and order and beauty draw
Round thy symbol of light and law;

And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Frederick town!

JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.

* * * * *

CAVALRY SONG.
FROM "ALICE OF MONMOUTH."

Our good steeds snuff the evening air,
Our pulses with their purpose tingle;
The foeman's fires are twinkling there;
He leaps to hear our sabres jingle!
HALT!
Each carbine send its whizzing ball:
Now, cling! clang! forward all,
Into the fight!

Dash on beneath the smoking dome:
Through level lightnings gallop nearer!
One look to Heaven! No thoughts of home:
The guidons that we bear are dearer.
CHARGE!
Cling! clang! forward all!
Heaven help those whose horses fall:
Cut left and right!

They flee before our fierce attack!
They fall! they spread in broken surges.
Now, comrades, bear our wounded back,
And leave the foeman to his dirges.
WHEEL!
The bugles sound the swift recall:
Cling! clang! backward all!
Home, and good night!

EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN.

* * * * *

CAVALRY SONG.

Our bugles sound gayly. To horse and away!
And over the mountains breaks the day;
Then ho! brothers, ho! for the ride or the fight,
There are deeds to be done ere we slumber to-night!
_And whether we fight or whether we fall
By sabre-stroke or rifle-ball,
The hearts of the free will remember us yet,
And our country, our country will never forget!_

Then mount and away! let the coward delight
To be lazy all day and safe all night;
Our joy is a charger, flecked with foam,
And the earth is our bed and the saddle our home!
_And whether we fight,_ etc.

See yonder the ranks of the traitorous foe,
And bright in the sunshine bayonets glow!
Breathe a prayer, but no sigh; think for what you would fight;
Then charge! with a will, boys, and God for the right!
_And whether we fight_, etc.

We have gathered again the red laurels of war;
We have followed the traitors fast and far;
But some who rose gayly this morn with the sun
Lie bleeding and pale on the field they have won!
_But whether we fight or whether we fall
By sabre-stroke or rifle-ball,
The hearts of the free will remember us yet,
And our country, our country will never forget_!

ROSSITER W. RAYMOND.

* * * * *

KEARNY AT SEVEN PINES.[A]

[Footnote A: Major-General Philip Kearny, killed at the battle of
Chantilly, September 1, 1862.]

So that soldierly legend is still on its journey,--
That story of Kearny who knew not to yield!
'Twas the day when with Jameson, fierce Berry, and Birney,
Against twenty thousand he rallied the field.
Where the red volleys poured, where the clamor rose highest,
Where the dead lay in clumps through the dwarf oak and pine,
Where the aim from the thicket was surest and nighest,--
No charge like Phil Kearny's along the whole line.

When the battle went ill, and the bravest were solemn,
Near the dark Seven Pines, where we still held our ground,
He rode down the length of the withering column,
And his heart at our war-cry leapt up with a bound;
He snuffed, like his charger, the wind of the powder,--
His sword waved us on and we answered the sign:
Loud our cheer as we rushed, but his laugh rang the louder,
"There's the devil's own fun, boys, along the whole line!"

How he strode his brown steed! How we saw his blade brighten
In the one hand still left,--and the reins in his teeth!
He laughed like a boy when the holidays heighten.
But a soldier's glance shot from his visor beneath.
Up came the reserves to the mellay infernal,
Asking where to go in,--through the clearing or pine?
"O, anywhere! Forward! 'Tis all the same, Colonel:
You'll find lovely fighting along the whole line!"

O, evil the black shroud of night at Chantilly,
That hid him from sight of his brave men and tried!
Foul, foul sped the bullet that clipped the white lily,
The flower of our knighthood, the whole army's pride!
Yet we dream that he still,--in that shadowy region
Where the dead form their ranks at the wan drummer's sign,--
Rides on, as of old, down the length of his legion,
And the word still is Forward! along the whole line.

EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN.

* * * * *

THE GENERAL'S DEATH.

The general dashed along the road
Amid the pelting rain;
How joyously his bold face glowed
To hear our cheers' refrain!

His blue blouse flapped in wind and wet,
His boots were splashed with mire,
But round his lips a smile was set,
And in his eyes a fire.

A laughing word, a gesture kind,--
We did not ask for more,
With thirty weary miles behind,
A weary fight before.

The gun grew light to every man,
The crossed belts ceased their stress,
As onward to the column's van
We watched our leader press.

Within an hour we saw him lie,
A bullet in his brain,
His manly face turned to the sky,
And beaten by the rain.

JOSEPH O'CONNOR.

* * * * *

DIRGE FOB A SOLDIER[A]

[Footnote A: Major-General Philip Kearny.]

Close his eyes; his work is done!
What to him is friend or foeman,
Rise of moon or set of sun,
Hand of man or kiss of woman?
Lay him low, lay him low,
In the clover or the snow!
What cares he? he cannot know;
Lay him low!

As man may, he fought his fight,
Proved his truth by his endeavor;
Let him sleep in solemn night,
Sleep forever and forever.
Lay him low, lay him low,
In the clover or the snow!
What cares he? he cannot know;
Lay him low!

Fold him in his country's stars,
Roll the drum and fire the volley!
What to him are all our wars?--
What but death-bemocking folly?
Lay him low, lay him low,
In the clover or the snow!
What cares he? he cannot know;
Lay him low!

Leave him to God's watching eye;
Trust him to the hand that made him.
Mortal love weeps idly by;
God alone has power to aid him.
Lay him low, lay him low,
In the clover or the snow!
What cares he? he cannot know;
Lay him low!

GEORGE HENRY BOKER.

* * * * *

BAY BILLY.

[December 15, 1862.]

'Twas the last fight at Fredericksburg,--
Perhaps the day you reck,
Our boys, the Twenty-Second Maine,
Kept Early's men in check.
Just where Wade Hampton boomed away
The fight went neck and neck.

All day the weaker wing we held,
And held it with a will.
Five several stubborn times we charged
The battery on the hill,
And five times beaten back, re-formed,
And kept our column still.

At last from out the centre fight
Spurred up a general's aide:
"That battery must silenced be!"
He cried, as past he sped.
Our colonel simply touched his cap,
And then, with measured tread,

To lead the crouching line once more
The grand old fellow came.
No wounded man but raised his head
And strove to gasp his name,
And those who could not speak nor stir,
"God blessed him" just the same.

For he was all the world to us,
That hero gray and grim.
Right well we knew that fearful slope
We'd climb with none but him,
Though while his white head led the way
We'd charge hell's portals in.

This time we were not half-way up.
When, midst the storm of shell,
Our leader, with his sword upraised,
Beneath our bayonets fell.
And, as we bore him back, the foe
Set up a joyous yell.

Our hearts went with him. Back we swept,
And when the bugle said
"Up, charge again!" no man was there
But hung his dogged head.
"We've no one left to lead us now,"
The sullen soldiers said.

Just then before the laggard line
The colonel's horse we spied,
Bay Billy with his trappings on,
His nostrils swelling wide,
As though still on his gallant back
The master sat astride.

Right royally he took the place
That was of old his wont,
And with a neigh that seemed to say,
Above the battle's brunt,
"How can the Twenty-Second charge
If I am not in front?"

Like statues rooted there we stood,
And gazed a little space,
Above that floating mane we missed
The dear familiar face,
But we saw Bay Billy's eye of fire,
And it gave us heart of grace.

No bugle-call could rouse us all
As that brave sight had done,
Down all the battered line we felt
A lightning impulse run.
Up! up the hill we followed Bill,--
And we captured every gun!

And when upon the conquered height
Died out the battle's hum,
Vainly mid living and the dead
We sought our leader dumb.
It seemed as if a spectre steed
To win that day had come.

And then the dusk and dew of night
Fell softly o'er the plain,
As though o'er man's dread work of death
The angels wept again,
And drew night's curtain gently round
A thousand beds of pain.

All night the surgeons' torches went,
The ghastly rows between,--
All night with solemn step I paced
The torn and bloody green.
But who that fought in the big war
Such dread sights have not seen?

At last the morning broke. The lark
Sang in the merry skies,
As if to e'en the sleepers there
It bade awake, and rise!
Though naught but that last trump of all
Could ope their heavy eyes.

And then once more with banners gay,
Stretched out the long brigade.
Trimly upon the furrowed field
The troops stood on parade,
And bravely mid the ranks were closed
The gaps the fight had made.

Not half the Twenty-Second's men
Were in their place that morn;
And Corporal Dick, who yester-noon
Stood six brave fellows on,
Now touched my elbow in the ranks,
For all between were gone.

Ah I who forgets that dreary hour
When, as with misty eyes,
To call the old familiar roll
The solemn sergeant tries,--
One feels that thumping of the heart
As no prompt voice replies.

And as in faltering tone and slow
The last few names were said,
Across the field some missing horse
Toiled up the weary tread.
It caught the sergeant's eye, and quick
Bay Billy's name he read.

Yes! there the old bay hero stood,
All safe from battle's harms,
And ere an order could be heard,
Or the bugle's quick alarms,
Down all the front, from end to end,
The troops presented arms!

Not all the shoulder-straps on earth
Could still our mighty cheer;
And ever from that famous day,
When rang the roll call clear,
Bay Billy's name was read, and then
The whole line answered, "Here!"

FRANK H. GASSAWAY.

* * * * *

WOUNDED TO DEATH.

Steady, boys, steady!
Keep your arms ready,
God only knows whom we may meet here.
Don't let me be taken;
I'd rather awaken,
To-morrow, in--no matter where,
Than lie in that foul prison-hole--over there.
Step slowly!
Speak lowly!
These rocks may have life.
Lay me down in this hollow;
We are out of the strife.
By heavens! the foemen may track me in blood,
For this hole in my breast is outpouring a flood.
No! no surgeon for me; he can give me no aid;
The surgeon I want is pickaxe and spade.
What, Morris, a tear? Why, shame on ye, man!
I thought you a hero; but since you began
To whimper and cry like a girl in her teens,
By George! I don't know what the devil it means!
Well! well! I _am_, rough; 'tis a very rough school,
This life of a trooper,--but yet I'm no fool!
I know a brave man, and a friend from a foe;
And, boys, that you love me I certainly know;
But wasn't it grand
When they came down the hill over sloughing and sand!
But we stood--did we not?--like immovable rock,
Unheeding their balls and repelling their shock.
Did you mind the loud cry
When, as turning to fly,
Our men sprang upon them, determined to die?
O, wasn't it grand!

God help the poor wretches that fell in that fight;
No time was there given for prayer or for flight;
They fell by the score, in the crash, hand to hand,
And they mingled their blood with the sloughing and sand.
Huzza!
Great Heavens! this bullet-hole gapes like a grave;
A curse on the aim of the traitorous knave!
Is there never a one of ye knows how to pray,
Or speak for a man as his life ebbs away?
Pray!
Pray!
Our Father! our Father!... why don't ye proceed?
Can't you see I am dying? Great God, how I bleed!
Ebbing away!
Ebbing away!
The light of day
Is turning to gray.
Pray!
Pray!
Our Father in Heaven,--boys, tell me the rest,
While I stanch the hot blood from this hole in my breast.
There's something about the forgiveness of sin--
Put that in! put that in!--and then
I'll follow your words and say an amen.

Here, Morris, old fellow, get hold of my hand;
And, Wilson, my comrade--O, wasn't it grand
When they came down the hill like a thunder-charged cloud!
Where's Wilson, my comrade?--Here, stoop down your head;
Can't _you_ say a short prayer for the dying and dead!
"Christ God, who died for sinners all,
Hear thou this suppliant wanderer's cry;
Let not e'en this poor sparrow fall
Unheeded by thy gracious eye.

"Throw wide thy gates to let him in,
And take him, pleading, to thine arms;
Forgive, O Lord! his life-long sin.
And quiet all his fierce alarms."

God bless you, my comrade, for saying that hymn;
It is light to my path when my eye has grown dim.
I am dying--bend down till I touch you once more--
Don't forget me, old fellow,--God prosper this war!
Confusion to traitors!--keep hold of my hand--
And float the OLD FLAG o'er a prosperous land!

JOHN W. WATSON.

* * * * *

SOMEBODY'S DARLING.

Into a ward of the whitewashed halls
Where the dead and the dying lay,
Wounded by bayonets, shells, and balls,
Somebody's darling was borne one day--
Somebody's darling, so young and brave;
Wearing yet on his sweet pale face--
Soon to be hid in the dust of the grave--
The lingering light of his boyhood's grace.

Matted and damp are the curls of gold
Kissing the snow of that fair young brow;
Pale are the lips of delicate mould--
Somebody's darling is dying now.
Back from his beautiful blue-veined brow
Brush his wandering waves of gold;
Cross his hands on his bosom now--
Somebody's darling is still and cold.

Kiss him once for somebody's sake,
Murmur a prayer soft and low;
One bright curl from its fair mates take--
They were somebody's pride, you know.
Somebody's hand hath rested here--
Was it a mother's, soft and white?
Or have the lips of a sister fair
Been baptized in their waves of light?

God knows best. He has somebody's love,
Somebody's heart enshrined him there,
Somebody wafts his name above,
Night and morn, on the wings of prayer.
Somebody wept when he marched away,
Looking so handsome, brave, and grand;
Somebody's kiss on his forehead lay,
Somebody clung to his parting hand.

Somebody's watching and waiting for him,
Yearning to hold him again to her heart;
And there he lies with his blue eyes dim,
And the smiling, childlike lips apart.
Tenderly bury the fair young dead--
Pausing to drop on his grave a tear.
Carve on the wooden slab o'er his head:
"Somebody's darling slumbers here."

MARIA LA CONTE.

* * * * *

TRAMP, TRAMP, TRAMP.

In the prison cell I sit,
Thinking, mother dear, of you,
And our bright and happy home so far away,
And the tears they fill my eyes,
Spite of all that I can do,
Tho' I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.

_Trump, tramp, tramp, the 'boys are marching,
Oh, cheer up, comrades, they will come,
And beneath the starry flag we shall breathe the air again,
Of freedom in our own beloved home._

In the battle front we stood
When the fiercest charge they made,
And they swept us off a hundred men or more,
But before we reached their lines
They were beaten back dismayed,
And we heard the cry of vict'ry o'er and o'er,--

_Chorus._

So within the prison cell
We are waiting for the day
That shall come to open wide the iron door,
And the hollow eye grows bright,
And the poor heart almost gay,
As we think of seeing friends and home once more.

_Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,
Oh, cheer up, comrades, they 'will come,_
_And beneath the starry flag we shall breathe the air again,
Of freedom in our own beloved home._

ANONYMOUS.

* * * * *

OUR ORDERS.

Weave no more silks, ye Lyons looms,
To deck our girls for gay delights!
The crimson flower of battle blooms,
And solemn marches fill the night.

Weave but the flag whose bars to-day
Drooped heavy o'er our early dead,
And homely garments, coarse and gray,
For orphans that must earn their bread!

Keep back your tunes, ye viols sweet,
That poured delight from other lands!
Rouse there the dancer's restless feet:
The trumpet leads our warrior bands.

And ye that wage the war of words
With mystic fame and subtle power,
Go, chatter to the idle birds,
Or teach the lesson of the hour!

Ye Sibyl Arts, in one stern knot
Be all your offices combined!
Stand close, while Courage draws the lot,
The destiny of human kind.

And if that destiny could fail,
The sun should darken in the sky,
The eternal bloom of Nature pale,
And God, and Truth, and Freedom die!

JULIA WARD HOWE.

* * * * *

WHEN THIS CRUEL WAR IS OVER.

Dearest love, do you remember
When we last did meet,
How you told me that you loved me
Kneeling at my feet?
Oh, how proud you stood before me
In your suit of blue,
When you vowed to me and country
Ever to be true.

_Chorus.--Weeping, sad and lonely,
Hopes and fears, how vain;
Yet praying
When this cruel war is over.
Praying that we meet again._

When the summer breeze is sighing
Mournfully along,
Or when autumn leaves are falling,
Sadly breathes the song.
Oft in dreams I see thee lying
On the battle plain,
Lonely, wounded, even dying,
Calling, but in vain.
_Chorus.--Weeping, sad,_ etc.

If, amid the din of battle,
Nobly you should fall,
Far away from those who love you,
None to hear you call,
Who would whisper words of comfort?
Who would soothe your pain?
Ah, the many cruel fancies
Ever in my brain!
_Chorus.--Weeping, sad,_ etc.

But our country called you, darling,
Angels cheer your way!
While our nation's sons are fighting,
We can only pray.
Nobly strike for God and country,
Let all nations see
How we love the starry banner,
Emblem of the free.

_Chorus.--Weeping, sad and lonely,
Hopes and fears, how vain;
Yet praying
When this cruel war is over,
Praying that we meet again._

ANONYMOUS.

* * * * *

SHERIDAN'S RIDE.

[September 19, 1864.]

Up from the South at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
Like a herald in haste, to the chieftain's door,
The terrible grumble and rumble and roar,
Telling the battle was on once more,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.

And wider still those billows of war
Thundered along the horizon's bar;
And louder yet into Winchester rolled
The roar of that red sea uncontrolled,
Making the blood of the listener cold
As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
With Sheridan twenty miles away.

But there is a road from Winchester town,
A good, broad highway, leading down;
And there, through the flash of the morning light,
A steed as black as the steeds of night
Was seen to pass as with eagle flight.
As if he knew the terrible need,
He stretched away with the utmost speed;
Hills rose and fell,--but his heart was gay,
With Sheridan fifteen miles away.

Still sprung from those swift hoofs, thundering South,
The dust, like smoke from the cannon's mouth;
Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster,
Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster.
The heart of the steed and the heart of the master
Were beating, like prisoners assaulting their walls.
Impatient to be where the battle-field calls;
Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,
With Sheridan only ten miles away.

Under his spurning feet, the road
Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed,
And the landscape sped away behind,
Like an ocean flying before the wind;
And the steed, like a bark fed with furnace ire,
Swept on, with his wild eyes full of fire;
But, lo! he is nearing his heart's desire,
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
With Sheridan only five miles away.

The first that the General saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
What was done,--what to do,--a glance told him both,
And, striking his spurs with a terrible oath,
He dashed down the line mid a storm of huzzas,
And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because
The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray;
By the flash of his eye, and his nostril's play,
He seemed to the whole great army to say,
"I have brought you Sheridan all the way
From Winchester down, to save the day!"

Hurrah, hurrah for Sheridan!
Hurrah, hurrah, for horse and man!
And when their statues are placed on high,
Under the dome of the Union sky,--
The American soldier's Temple of Fame,--
There with the glorious General's name
Be it said in letters both bold and bright:
"Here is the steed that saved the day
By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
From Winchester,--twenty miles away!"

THOMAS BUCHANAN READ.

* * * * *

LEFT ON THE BATTLE-FIELD.

What, was it a dream? am I all alone
In the dreary night and the drizzling rain?
Hist!--ah, it was only the river's moan;
They have left me behind with the mangled slain.

Yes, now I remember it all too well!
We met, from the battling ranks apart;
Together our weapons Hashed and fell,
And mine was sheathed in his quivering heart.

In the cypress gloom, where the deed was done,
It was all too dark to see his face;
But I heard his death-groans, one by one,
And he holds me still in a cold embrace.

He spoke but once, and I could not hear
The words he said for the cannon's roar;
But my heart grew cold with a deadly fear,--
God! I had heard that voice before!

Had heard it before at our mother's knee,
When we lisped the words of our evening prayer!
My brother! would I had died for thee,--
This burden is more than my soul can bear!

I pressed my lips to his death-cold cheek,
And begged him to show me, by word or sign,
That he knew and forgave me: he could not speak,
But he nestled his poor cold face to mine.

The blood flowed fast from my wounded side,
And then for a while I forgot my pain,
And over the lakelet we seemed to glide
In our little boat, two boys again.

And then, in my dream, we stood alone
On a forest path where the shadows fell;
And I heard again the tremulous tone,
And the tender words of his last farewell.

But that parting was years, long years ago,
He wandered away to a foreign land;
And our dear old mother will never know
That he died to-night by his brother's hand.

The soldiers who buried the dead away
Disturbed not the clasp of that last embrace,
But laid them to sleep till the judgment-day,
Heart folded to heart, and face to face.

SARAH TITTLE BOLTON.

* * * * *

REQUIEM

FOR ONE SLAIN IN BATTLE.

Breathe, trumpets, breathe
Slow notes of saddest wailing,--
Sadly responsive peal, ye muffled drums;
Comrades, with downcast eyes
And banners trailing,
Attend him home,--
The youthful warrior comes.

Upon his shield,
Upon his shield returning,
Borne from the field of honor
Where he fell;
Glory and grief, together clasped
In mourning,
His fame, his fate
With sobs exulting tell.

Wrap round his breast
The flag his breast defended,--
His country's flag,
In battle's front unrolled:
For it he died;
On earth forever ended
His brave young life
Lives in each sacred fold.
With proud fond tears,
By tinge of shame untainted,
Bear him, and lay him
Gently in his grave:

Above the hero write,--
The young, half-sainted,--
His country asked his life,
His life he gave!

GEORGE LUNT.

* * * * *

MUSIC IN CAMP.

Two armies covered hill and plain,
Where Rappahannock's waters
Ran deeply crimsoned with the stain
Of battle's recent slaughters.

The summer clouds lay pitched like tents
In meads of heavenly azure;
And each dread gun of the elements
Slept in its embrasure.

The breeze so softly blew, it made
No forest leaf to quiver,
And the smoke of the random cannonade
Rolled slowly from the river.

And now, where circling hills looked down
With cannon grimly planted,
O'er listless camp and silent town
The golden sunset slanted.

When on the fervid air there came
A strain--now rich, now tender;
The music seemed itself aflame
With day's departing splendor.

A Federal band, which, eve and morn,
Played measures brave and nimble,
Had just struck up, with flute and horn
And lively clash of cymbal.

Down flocked the soldiers to the banks,
Till, margined by its pebbles,
One wooded shore was blue with "Yanks,"
And one was gray with "Rebels."

Then all was still, and then the band,
With movements light and tricksy,
Made stream and forest, hill and strand,
Reverberate with "Dixie."

The conscious stream with burnished glow
Went proudly o'er its pebbles,
But thrilled throughout its deepest flow
With yelling of the Rebels.

Again a pause, and then again
The trumpets pealed sonorous,
And "Yankee Doodle" was the strain
To which the shore gave chorus.

The laughing ripple shoreward flew,
To kiss the shining pebbles;
Loud shrieked the swarming Boys in Blue
Defiance to the Rebels.

And yet once more the bugle sang
Above the stormy riot;
No shout upon the evening rang--
There reigned a holy quiet.

The sad, slow stream its noiseless flood
Poured o'er the glistening pebbles;
All silent now the Yankees stood,
And silent stood the Rebels.

No unresponsive soul had heard
That plaintive note's appealing,
So deeply "Home, Sweet Home" had stirred
The hidden fount of feeling.

Or Blue, or Gray, the soldier sees,
As by the wand of fairy,
The cottage 'neath the live-oak trees,
The cabin by the prairie.

Or cold, or warm, his native skies,
Bend in their beauty o'er him;
Seen through the tear-mist in his eyes,
His loved ones stand before him.

As fades the iris after rain
In April's tearful weather,
The vision vanished, as the strain
And daylight died together.

But memory, waked by music's art,
Expressed in simplest numbers,
Subdued the sternest Yankee's heart,
Made light the Rebel's slumbers.

And fair the form of Music shines,
That bright celestial creature.
Who still, 'mid war's embattled lines,
Gave this one touch of Nature.

JOHN RANDOLPH THOMPSON.

* * * * *

UNDER THE SHADE OF THE TREES.

[The last words of Stonewall Jackson[A] were: "Let us cross the river
and rest under the shade of the trees."]

[Footnote A: Major-General Thomas J. Jackson, C.S.A., killed on a
reconnoissance, May 10, 1863.]

What are the thoughts that are stirring his breast?
What is the mystical vision he sees?
--"Let us pass over the river, and rest
Under the shade of the trees."

Has he grown sick of his toils and his tasks?
Sighs the worn spirit for respite or ease?
Is it a moment's cool halt that he asks
Under the shade of the trees?

Is it the gurgle of water whose flow
Ofttimes has come to him, borne on the breeze,
Memory listens to, lapsing so low,
Under the shade of the trees?

Nay--though the rasp of the flesh was so sore,
Faith, that had yearnings far keener than these,
Saw the soft sheen of the Thitherward Shore
Under the shade of the trees;--

Caught the high psalm of ecstatic delight--
Heard the harps harping, like soundings of seas--
Watched earth's assoiled ones walking in white
Under the shade of the trees.

Oh, was it strange he should pine for release,
Touched to the soul with such transports as these,--
He who so needed the balsam of peace,
Under the shade of the trees?

Yea, it was noblest for him--it was best
(Questioning naught of our Father's decrees),
There to pass over the river and rest
Under the shade of the trees!

MARGARET JUNKIN PRESTON.

* * * * *

THE BLACK REGIMENT.

[May 27, 1863.]

Dark as the clouds of even,
Banked in the western heaven,
Waiting the breath that lifts
All the dead mass, and drifts
Tempest and falling brand
Over a ruined land,--
So still and orderly,
Arm to arm, knee to knee,
Waiting the great event,
Stands the black regiment.

Down the long dusty line
Teeth gleam and eyeballs shine;
And the bright bayonet,
Bristling and firmly set,
Flashed with a purpose grand,
Long ere the sharp command
Of the fierce rolling drum
Told them their time had come,
Told them what work was sent
For the black regiment.

"Now," the flag-sergeant cried,
"Though death and hell betide,
Let the whole nation see
If we are fit to be
Free in this land; or bound
Down, like the whining hound,--
Bound with red stripes of pain
In our cold chains again!"
O, what a shout there went
From the black regiment!

"Charge!" Trump and drum awoke;
Onward the bondmen broke;
Bayonet and sabre-stroke
Vainly opposed their rush.
Through the wild battle's crush,
With but one thought aflush,
Driving their lords like chaff,
In the guns' mouths they laugh;
Or at the slippery brands
Leaping with open hands,
Down they tear man and horse,
Down in their awful course;
Trampling with bloody heel
Over the crashing steel,--
All their eyes forward bent,
Rushed the black regiment.

"Freedom!" their battle-cry,--
"Freedom! or leave to die!"
Ah! and they meant the word,
Not as with us 'tis heard,
Not a mere party shout;
They gave their spirits out,
Trusted the end to God,
And on the gory sod
Rolled in triumphant blood.
Glad to strike one free blow,
Whether for weal or woe;
Glad to breathe one free breath,
Though on the lips of death;
Praying,--alas! in vain!--That
they might fall again,
So they could once more see
That burst to liberty!
This was what "freedom" lent
To the black regiment.

Hundreds on hundreds fell;
But they are resting well;
Scourges and shackles strong
Never shall do them wrong.
O, to the living few,
Soldiers, be just and true!
Hail them as comrades tried;
Fight with them side by side;
Never, in field or tent,
Scorn the black regiment!

GEORGE HENRY BOKER.

* * * * *

THE C.S. ARMY'S COMMISSARY.

I.--1863.

"Well, this is bad!" we sighing said,
While musing round the bivouac fire,
And dwelling with a fond desire,
On home and comforts long since fled.

"How gayly came we forth at first!
Our spirits high, with new emprise,
Ambitious of each exercise,
And glowing with a martial thirst.

"Equipped as for a holiday,
With bounteous store of everything
To use or comfort minist'ring,
All cheerily we marched away.

"But as the struggle fiercer grew,
Light marching orders came apace,--
And baggage-wagon soon gave place
To that which sterner uses knew.

"Our tents--they went a year ago;
Now kettle, spider, frying-pan
Are lost to us, and as we can
We live, while marching to and fro.

"Our food has lessened, till at length,
E'en want's gaunt image seems to threat--
A foe to whom the bravest yet
Must yield at last his knightly strength.

"But while we've meat and flour enough
The bayonet shall be our spit--
The ramrod bake our dough on it--
A gum-cloth be our kneading trough.

"We'll bear privation, danger dare,
While even these are left to us--
Be hopeful, faithful, emulous
Of gallant deeds, though hard our fare!"

II.--1864.

"Three years and more," we grimly said,
When order came to "Rest at will"
Beside the corn-field on the hill,
As on a weary march we sped--

"Three years and more we've met the foe
On many a gory, hard-fought field,
And still we swear we cannot yield
Till Fate shall bring some deeper woe.

"Three years and more we've struggled on,
Through torrid heat and winter's chill,
Nor bated aught of steadfast will,
Though even hope seems almost gone.

"Ill fed, ill clad, and shelterless,
How little cheer in health we know!
When wounds and illness lay us low,
How comfortless our sore distress!

"These flimsy rags, that scarcely hide
Our forms, can naught discourage us;
But Hunger--ah! it may be thus
That Fortune shall the strife decide.

"But while the corn-fields give supply
We'll take, content, the roasting-ear,
Nor yield us yet to craven fear,
But still press on, to do or die:"

ED. PORTER THOMPSON.

* * * * *

THE HIGH TIDE AT GETTYSBURG.

[July 3, 1863.]

A cloud possessed the hollow field.
The gathering battle's smoky shield.
Athwart the gloom the lightning flashed,
And through the cloud some horsemen dashed,
And from the heights the thunder pealed.

Then at the brief command of Lee
Moved out that matchless infantry,
With Pickett leading grandly down,
To rush against the roaring crown
Of those dread heights of destiny.

Far heard above the angry guns
A cry across the tumult runs,--
The voice that rang through Shiloh's woods
And Chickamanga's solitudes,
The fierce South cheering on her sons!

Ah, how the withering tempest blew
Against the front of Pettigrew!
A Khamsin wind that scorched and singed
Like that infernal flame that fringed
The British squares at Waterloo!

A thousand fell where Kemper led;
A thousand died where Garnett bled:
In blinding flame and strangling smoke
The remnant through the batteries broke
And crossed the works with Armistead.

"Once more in Glory's van with me!"
Virginia cried to Tennessee;
"We two together, come what may,
Shall stand upon these works to-day!"
(The reddest day in history.)

Brave Tennessee! In reckless way
Virginia heard her comrade say:
"Close round this rent and riddled rag!"
What time she set her battle-flag
Amid the guns of Doubleday.

But who shall break the guards that wait
Before the awful face of Fate?
The tattered standards of the South
Were shrivelled at the cannon's mouth,
And all her hopes were desolate.

In vain the Tennesseean set
His breast against the bayonet!
In vain Virginia charged and raged,
A tigress in her wrath uncaged,
Till all the hill was red and wet!

Above the bayonets, mixed and crossed,
Men saw a gray, gigantic ghost
Receding through the battle-cloud,
And heard across the tempest loud
The death-cry of a nation lost!

The brave went down! Without disgrace
They leaped to Ruin's red embrace.
They only heard Fame's thunders wake,
And saw the dazzling sun-burst break
In smiles on Glory's bloody face!

They fell, who lifted up a hand
And bade the sun in heaven to stand!
They smote and fell, who set the bars
Against the progress of the stars,
And stayed the march of Motherland!

They stood, who saw the future come
On through the fight's delirium!
They smote and stood, who held the hope
Of nations on that slippery slope
Amid the cheers of Christendom.

God lives! He forged the iron will
That clutched and held that trembling hill.
God lives and reigns! He built and lent
The heights for Freedom's battlement
Where floats her flag in triumph still!

Fold up the banners! Smelt the guns!
Love rules. Her gentler purpose runs.
A mighty mother turns in tears
The pages of her battle years,
Lamenting all her fallen sons!

WILL HENRY THOMPSON.

* * * * *

LEE TO THE REAR.

[An incident in one of the battles in the Wilderness at the beginning
of the campaign of 1864.]

Dawn of a pleasant morning in May
Broke through the Wilderness cool and gray;

Book of the day: