« AnteriorContinuar »
POEMS OF PEACE AND WAR.
“Ha! rifleman, fling me the locket !- 't is she, But that parting was years, long years ago, My brother's young bride, — and the fallen He wandered away to a foreign land; dragoon
And our dear old mother will never know Was her husband - Hush! soldier, 't was That he died to-night by his brother's hand.
Heaven's decrec, We must bury him there, by the light of the The soldiers who buried the dead away moon !
Disturbed not the clasp of that last embrace,
But laid them to sleep till the judgment-day, “But, hark ! the far bugles their warnings unite; Heart folded to heart, and face to face. War is a virtue, - weakness a sin ;
SARAH T. BOLTOX. There's a lurking and loping around us to-night; Load again, rifleman, keep your hand in !"
MY AUTUMN WALK.
The amber sunshine lies ;
I look on the beauty round me,
And tears come into my eyes.
For the wind that sweeps the meadows They have left me behind with the mangled
Blows out of the far Southwest, slain.
Where our gallant men are fighting,
And the gallant dead are at rest.
The golden-rod is leaning,
And the purple aster waves And mine was sheathed in his quivering heart
In a breeze from the land of battles,
A breath from the land of graves. In the cypress gloom, where the deed was done,
Full fast the leaves are dropping It was all too dark to see his face ;
Before that wandering breath; But I heard his death-groans, one by one,
As fast, on the field of battle, And he holds me still in a cold embrace.
Our brethren fall in death. • He spoke but once, and I could not hear
Beautiful over my pathway The words he said, for the cannon's roar;
The forest spoils are shed ; But my heart grew cold with a deadly fear,
They are spotting the grassy hillocks O God! I had heard that voice before !
With purple and gold and red. Had heard it before at our mother's knee,
Beautiful is the death-sleep When welisped the words of ourevening prayer !
Of those who bravely fight My brother ! would I had died for thee, –
In their country's holy quarrel, This burden is more than my soul can bear !
And perish for the Right. I pressed my lips to his death-cold cheek,
But who shall comfort the living, And begged him to show me, by word or sign,
The light of whose homes is gone : That he knew and forgave mc: he could not speak,
The bride that, early widowed, But he nestled his poor cold face to mine.
Lives broken-hearted on;
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.
The matron whose sons are lying
In graves on a distant shore ;
Comes back from the war no more?
And then, in my dream, we stood alone
On a forest path where the shadows fell; And I heard again the tremulous tono,
And the tender words of his last farewell.
I look on the peaceful dwellings
Whose windows glimmer in sight, With croft and garden and orchard
That bask in the mellow light;
And I know that, when our couriers |“ Tell my brothers and companions, when they With news of victory come,
meet and crowd around, They will bring a bitter message
To hear my mournful story, in the pleasant Of hopeless grief to some.
That we fought the battle bravely, and when the Again I turn to the woodlands,
day was done, And I shudder as I see
Full many a corse lay ghastly pale beneath the The mock-grape's * blood-red banner
setting sun; Hung out on the cedar-tree;
And, mid the dead and dying, were some grown
old in wars, – And I think of days of slaughter,
The death-wound on their gallant breasts, the And the night sky red with flames,
last of many scars ; On the Chattahoochee's meadows,
And some were young, and suddenly beheld life's And the wasted banks of the James.
And one had come from Bingen, — fair Bingen O for the fresh spring-season,
on the Rhine. When the groves are in their prime, And far away in the future
“Tell my mother that her other son shall com. Is the frosty autumn-time !
fort her old age ;
For I was still a truant bird, that thought his O for that better season,
home a cage. When the pride of the foe shall yield,
For my father was a soldier, and even as a And the hosts of God and Freedom
child March back from the well-won field; My heart leaped forth to hear him tell of strug.
gles fierce and wild ; And the matron shall clasp her first-born And when he died, and left us to divide his With tears of joy and pride ;
scanty hoard, And the scarred and war-worn lover
I let them take whate'er they would, — but kept Shall claim his promised bride !
my father's sword;
And with boyish love I hung it where the bright The leaves are swept from the branches ;
light used to shine, But the living buds are there,
On the cottage wall at Bingen, - calm Bingen With folded flower and foliage,
on the Rhine. To sprout in a kinder air. October, 1864
“Tell my sister not to weep for me, and sob with
drooping head, When the troops come marching home again
with glad and gallant tread, BINGEN ON. THE RHINE. But to look upon them proudly, with a calm and
steadfast eye, A SOLDIER of the Legion lay dying in Algiers, For her brother was a soldier too, and not afraid There was lack of woman's nursing, there was to die ; dearth' of woman's tears ;
And if a comrade seek her love, I ask her in my But a comrade stood beside him, while his life
name blood ebbed away,
To listen to him kindly, without regret or shame, And bent, with pitying glances, to hear what he And to hang the old sword in its place (my famight say.
ther's sword and mine) The dying soldier faltered, and he took that com- For the honor of old Bingen, - dear Bingen on rade's hand,
the Rhine. And he said, “I nevermore shall see my own, my native land ;
“There's another, — not a sister ; in the happy Take a message, and a token, to some distant days gone by friends of mine,
You'd have known her by the merriment that For I was born at Bingen, - at Bingen on the sparkled in her eye ; Rhine.
| Too innocent for coquetry, - too fond for idle
scorning, $ Ampelopis, mock-grape. I have here literally trans-L lated the botanical name of the Virginia creeper, an ap
O friend! I fear the lightest heart makes some. pellation too cumbrous for verse.
times heaviest mourning!
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
Tell her the last night of my life (for, ere the moon | And upon platforms where the oak-trees grew, be risen,
| Trumpets he set, huge beyond dreams of wonMy body will be out of pain, my soul be out of der, prison), —
Craftily purposed, when his arms withdrew, I dreamed I stood with her, and saw the yellow To make him thought still housed there, like sunlight shine
the thunder : On the vine-clad hills of Bingen,—fair Bingen on And it so fell; for when the winds blew right, the Rhine.
They woke their trumpets to their calls of might. “I saw the blue Rhine swecp along, - I heard, Unseen, but heard, their calls the trumpets blew, or seemed to hear,
| Ringing the granite rocks, their only bearers, The German songs we used to sing, in chorus Till the long fear into religion grew, sweet and clear ;
And nevermore those heights had human darers. And down the pleasant river, and up the slant. Dreadful Doolkarnein was an carthly god ; ing hill,
· His walls but shadowed forth his mightier The echoing chorus soundcd, through the evening frowning: calm and still ;
Armies of giants at his bidding trod And her glad blue eyes were on me, as we passed, From realm to realm, king after king diswith friendly talk,
crowning. Down many a path beloved of yore, and well. When thunder spokc, or when the earthquake remembered walk!
stirred, And her little hand lay lightly, confidingly in Then, muttering in accord, his host was heard.
mine, — But we'll meet no more at Bingen, — loved Bin-| But when the winters marred the mountain gen on the Rhine."
shelves, His trembling voice grow saint and hoarse, his! And softer changes came with vernal mornings,
" Something had touched the trumpets' lofty selves, grasp was childish weak, — His cyes put on a dying look, — he sighed and! And less and less rang forth their sovereign ceased to speak ;
warnings ; His comrade bent to lift him, but the spark of
bent to lift him but the sports of Fewer and feebler; as when silence spreads life had fled,
In plaguc-struck tents, where haughty chiefs, The soldier of the Legion in a foreign land is dead !
left dying, And the soft moon rose up slowly, and calmly
W calmly Fail by degrees upon their angry beds, she looked down
Till, one by one, ceascs the last stern sighing. On the red sand of the battle-field, with bloody One by one, thus, their breath the trumpets corses strewn ;
drew, Yes, calmly on that drcadful scene her pale light | Till now no more the imperious music blew.
seemed to shine, As it shone on distant Bingen, — fair Bingen on
Is he then dead? Can grent Doolkarnein die ! the Rhine.
| Or can his endless hosts elsewhere be needed ? CAROLINE E. NORTON. Were the great breaths that blew his minstrelsy
Phantoms, that faded as himself receled !
Or is he angered ? Surely he still comes ; THE TRUMPETS OF DOOLKARNEIN.
This silence ushers the dread visitation ;
Sudden will burst the torrent of his drums, (In Eastern history are two Iskanders, or Alexanders, who are And then will follow bloodly desolation. sometimes confounded, and both of whom are called Doolkar. nein, or the Two-Horned, in allusion to their subjugation of East
So did fear dream ; though now, with not a sound and West, horns being an Oriental syinbol of power.
To scare good hope, summer had twice crept round. One of these heroes is Alexander of Macedon; the other a con. queror of more ancient times, who built the marvellous series of ramparts on Mount Caucasus, known in fable as the wall of Gog and Magog, that is to say, of the people of the North. It reache:1 from the Euxine Sea to the Caspian, where its flanks originated the subsequent appellation of the Caspian Gates.)
cended. With awful walls, far glooming, that possessed Giant, nor aught blasting their bold emprise, The passes 'twixt the snow-fed Caspian foun. They met, though twice they halted, breath tains,
suspended : Doolkarnein, the dread lord of East and West, Oncc, at a coming like a god's in rage Shut up the northern nations in their moun. With thunderous leaps, - but 't was the piled tains;
Lay him low, lay him low,
Lay him low !
And once, when in the woods an oak, for age,
Fell dead, the silence with its groan appalling. at last they came where still, in dread array, As though they still might speak, the trumpets lay. | Unhurt they lay, like caverns above ground,
The rifted rocks, for hands, about them clinging, Their tubes as straight, their mighty mouths as
round And firm as when the rocks were first set ring
ing. Fresh from their unimaginable mould They might have seçmed, save that the storms
had stained them With a rich rust, that now, with gloomy gold In the bright sunshine, beauteously engrained
them. Breathless the gazers looked, nigh faint for awe, Then leaped, then laughed. What was it now
they saw ?
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,
Leave him to God's watching eye ;
Trust him to the hand that made him.
Lay him low, lay him low,
GEORGE HENRY BOKER.
THE PRIVATE OF THE BUFFS.
Myriads of birds. Myriads of birds, that filled
The trumpets all with nests and nestling voices ! The great, huge, stormy music had been stilled By the soft needs that nursed those small, sweet
noises ! O thou Doolkarnein, where is now thy wall ?
Where now thy voice divine and all thy forces ? Great was thy cunning, but its wit was small Compared with nature's least and gentlest
courses. Fears and false creeds may fright the realms
awhile; But heaven and earth abide their time, and smile. !
Last night, among his fellow roughs,
He jested, quaffed, and sword; A drunken private of the Buffs,
Who never looked before. To-day, beneath the focman's frown,
He stands in Elgin's place, Ambassador from Britain's crown,
And type of all her race.
THE KNIGHT'S TOMB. WHERE is the grare of Sir Arthur O'Kellyn ? Where may the grave of that good man be? By the side of a spring, on the breast of Helvellyn, | Under the twigs of a young birch-tree ! The oak that in summer was street to hear, And rustled its leaves in the fall of the year, And whistled and roared in the winter alone, Is gone, - and the birch in its stead is grown. — The knight's bones are dust, And his good sword rnst ;His soul is with the saints, I trust.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.
Poor, reckless, rude, low-born, untaught,
Bewildered, and alonc,
He yet can call his own.
Bring coril or axe or flanc,
Shall England come to shame.
Far Kentish hop-fields round him seemed,
Like dreams, to come and go ;
One sheet of living snow;
In gray soft eddyings hung;
Doomed by himself so young?
DIRGE FOR A SOLDIER. CLOSE his eyes; his work is donc !
What to him is friend or foeman, Rise of moon or set of sun,
Hand of man or kiss of woman ?
Yes, honor calls ! — with strength like steel
He put the vision by;
An English lad must die.
And thus, with eyes that would not shrink,
With knee to man unbent, Unfaltering on its dreadful brink,
To his red grave he went.
And taking many a fort,
In happy hour, -
With all his power,
Vain mightiest fleets of iron framed,
Vain those all-shattering guns,
The strong heart of her sons ;
A man of mean estate,
SIR FRANCIS HASTINGS DOYLE.
Which in his height of pride,
To the king sending ;
Their fall portending.
FROM “ALICE OF MONMOUTH." OUR good steeds snuff the evening air,
Our pulses with their purpose tingle ;
Into the fight !
Through level lightnings gallop nearer ! One look to Heaven ! No thoughts of home : The guidons that we bear are dearer.
Cut left and right!
And turning to his men,
Be not amazed ;
By fame been raised.
And for myself, quoth he,
Nor more esteem me.
Loss to redeem me.
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.
EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN.
Poitiers and Cressy tell,
No less our skill is
Lopped the French lilies.
THE BALLAD OF AGINCOURT.
The Duke of York so dread
Amongst his henchmen.
On the false Frenchmen !
Fair stood the wind for France,
Longer will tarry ;
Landed King Harry.
They now to fight are gone ;
To hear was wonder ;