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No jars disturb his gentle rest,

No noise his slumber breaks,
But thy words sleep upon his breast-

“ He'll see them when he wakes." (Southern.)



The poplar drops beside the way

Its tasseled plumes of silver gray; The chestnut points its great brown buds, impatient

for the laggard May.

The honeysuckles lace the wall;

The hyacinths grow fair and tall; And mellow sun, and pleasant wind, and odorous bees

are over all.

Down-looking in this snow-white bud,

How distant seems the war's red flood ! How far remote the streaming wounds, the sickening

scent of human blood!

For Nature does not recognize

This strife that rends the earth and skies; No war-dreams vex the winter's sleep of clover-heads

and daisy-eyes.

She holds her even way the same,

Though navies sink, or cities flame: A snowdrop is a snowdrop still, despite the Nation's

joy or shame.

When blood her grassy altar wets,

She sends the pitying violets To heal the outrage with their bloom, and cover it

with soft regrets.

O crocuses with rain-wet eyes,

O tender-lipped anemones, What do you know of agony, and death, and blood

won victories?

No shudder breaks your sunshine trance,

Though near you rolls, with slow advance, Clouding your shining leaves with dust, the anguish

laden ambulance.

Yonder a white encampment hums;

The clash of martial music comes; And now your startled stems are all a-tremble with the

jar of drums.

Whether it lessen or increase,

Or whether trumpets shout or cease, Still, deep within your tranquil hearts, the happy bees

are humming, “ Peace!” O flowers ! the soul that faints or grieves

New comfort from your lips receives; Sweet confidence and patient faith are hidden in your

healing leaves.

Help us to trust still on and on,

That this dark night will soon be gone, And that these battle-stains are but the blood-red

trouble of the dawn,

Dawn of a broader, whiter day

Then ever blessed us with its ray,A dawn beneath whose purer light all guilt and

wrong shall fade away.

Then shall our Nation break its bands,

And, silencing the envious lands, Stand in the searching light unshamed, with spotless

robe, and clean, white hands.


Five Forks, April 1, 1865


Ho! pony. Down the lonely road

Strike now your cheeriest pace!
The woods on fire do not burn higher

Than burns my anxious face;
Far have you sped, but all this night

Must feel my nervous spur;
If we be late, the world must wait

The tidings we aver :

To home and hamlet, town and hearth,

To thrill child, mother, man, I carry to the waiting North

Great news from Sheridan!

The birds are dead among the pines,

Slain by the battle fright,
Prone in the road the steed reclines

That never reached the fight;
Yet on we go,--the wreck below

Of many a tumbled wain,
By ghastly pools where stranded mules

Die, drinking of the rain;
With but my list of killed and missed

I spur my stumbling nag,
To tell of death at many a tryst,

But victory to the flag!

Halt! who comes there? The countersign!

“ A friend.”-“ Advance! The fight,How goes it, say?”—“We won the day!”.

Huzza! Pass on!”—“Good-night!”. And parts the darkness on before,

And down the mire we tramp,
And the black sky is painted o'er

With many a pulsing camp;
O'er stumps and ruts, by ruined huts,

Where ghosts look through the gloam,-


tread I hear the dead Follow the news toward home!

The hunted souls I see behind,

In swamp and in ravine,

Whose cry for mercy thrills the wind

Till cracks the sure carbine;
The moving lights, which scare the dark,

And show the trampled place
Where, in his blood, some mother's bud

Turns up his young, dead face;
The captives spent, whose standards rent

The conqueror parades,
As at the Five Forks roads arrive

The General's dashing aides.

O wondrous Youth! through this grand ruth

Runs my boy's life its thread;
The General's fame, the battle's name,

The rolls of maimed and dead
I bear, with my thrilled soul astir,

And lonely thoughts and fears,
And am but History's courier

To bind the conquering years; A battle-ray, through ages gray

To light to deeds sublime, And flash the luster of this day

Down all the aisles of Time!

Ho! pony,—'tis the signal gun

The night-assault decreed;
On Petersburg the thunderbolts

Crash from the lines of Meade;
Fade the pale, frightened stars o'erhead,

And shrieks the bursting air;
The forest foliage, tinted red,

Grows ghastlier in the glare;

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