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FOR DECORATION DAY

BY RUPERT HUGHES

I

1861-1865 But do we truly mourn our soldier dead, Or understand at all their precious fameWe that were born too late to feel the flame That leapt from lowly hearths, and grew, dispread, And, like a pillar of fire, our armies led ? Or you that knew them-do the long years tame The memory-anguish? Are they more than name? Oh, let no stinted grief profane their bed! Let tears bedew each wreath that decks the lawn Of every grave! and raise a solemn prayer That their battalioned souls be joined to fare Dim roads, beyond the trumpets of the dawn, Yet perfumed, somehow, by our flowers that heap The peaceful barracks where their bodies sleep.

II

1898-1899 And now the long, long lines of the Nation's graves Grow longer; and the venerate slopes reveal The fresh spring turf gashed thick with tombs to seal Away another army of our braves. So hang black garlands from the architraves Of all the capitols. The dying peal Of bugles wails their final Taps. So kneel And give the dead the due their virtue craves.

Thank God, the olden sinew still is bred;
The milk of American mothers still is sweet;
The sword of Seventy-six is sharp and bright;
The Flag still floats unblotted with defeat!
But ah the blood that keeps its ripples red,
The starry lives that keep its field alight;
The pangs of women and the tears they've bled.

The Lord enlarge our spirits till we feel
The greatness of these spirits upward fled.
A kind of genius it has been that fed
Them strength to be, above all, passions, leal.
They put aside the velvet for the steel,
Left love, and hope, and ease at home; and sped
To the wilderness of war and every

dread.
Their blood is mortar for our commonweal;
Their deeds its decoration and its boast.
So mix with dirges, triumph; smiles, with tears.
Make sorrow perfect with exultant pride-
Our vanished armies have not truly died;
They march to-day before the heavenly host;
And history's veterans raise a storm of cheers,
As the Yankee troops—with glory armed and shod-
In Grand Review swing past the throne of God.

LITTLE NAN

ANONYMOUS

The wide gates swung open,
The music softly sounded,
And loving hands were heaping the soldiers' graves

with flowers;

With pansies, pinks, and roses,
And pure gold-hearted lilies,
The fairest, sweetest blossoms that grace the spring-

time bowers;

When down the walk came tripping
A wee, bare-headed girlie,
Her eyes were filled with wonder, her face was

grave and sweet;
Her small brown hands were crowded
With dandelions yellow-
The gallant, merry blossoms that children love to

greet.

O, many smiled to see her,
That dimple-cheeked wee baby,
Pass by with quaint intentness, as on a mission

bound;
And, pausing oft an instant,
Let fall from out her treasures

A yellow dandelion upon each flower-strewn mound.

The music died in silence,
A robin ceased its singing,

And in the fragrant stillness a birdlike whisper grew,
So sweet, so clear and solemn,
That smiles gave place to tear-drops :
“Nan loves 'oo, darlin' soldier; an' here's a f'ower

for 'oo."

A MONUMENT FOR THE SOLDIER 1

BY JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

A monument for the Soldiers !

And what will ye build it of?
Can ye build it of marble, or brass, or bronze,

Outlasting the Soldiers' love?
Can ye glorify it with legends

As grand as their blood hath writ
From the inmost shrine of this land of thine

To the outermost verge of it?

And the answer came: We would build it

Out of our hopes made sure,
And out of our purest prayers and tears,

And out of our faith secure:
We would build it out of the great white truths

Their death hath sanctified,
And the sculptured forms of the men in arms,

And their faces ere they died.

And what heroic figures

Can the sculptor carve in stone?
Can the marble breast be made to bleed,

And the marble lips to moan?
Can the marble brow be fevered?

And the marble eyes be graved
To look their last, as the flag floats past,

On the country they have saved ?

1

From “Green Fields and Running Brooks,” 1892, BobbsMerrill Co.

And the answer came: The figures

Shall all be fair and brave,
And, as befitting, as pure and white

As the stars above their grave!
The marble lips, and breast, and brow

Whereon the laurel lies,
Bequeath us right to guard the flight

Of the old flag in the skies !

A monument for the Soldiers !

Built of a people's love,
And blazoned and decked and panoplied

With the hearts ye build it of!
And see that ye build it stately,

In pillar and niche and gate,
And high in pose as the souls of those

It would commemorate!

DECORATION DAY 1

BY RICHARD WATSON GILDER

She saw the bayonets flashing in the sun,
The flags that proudly waved; she heard the bugles

calling;
She saw, the tattered banners falling
About the broken staffs, as one by one
The remnant of the mighty army passed;

1

By permission of the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

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