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A great hot plain from sea to mountain spread,
Through it a level river slowly drawn;
Streamed banners like the dawn.
There came a blinding flash, a deafening roar,
And dissonant cries of triumph and dismay;
And with the dead he lay.
The morn broke in upon his solemn dreams,
And still with steady pulse and deepening eye, "Where bugles call,” he said, “and rifles gleam,
I follow, though I die!"
Wise youth! By few is glory's wreath attained;
But death, or late or soon, awaiteth all,
And nothing lost to fall.
BY JOHN ALBION ANDREW
The heart swells with unwonted emotion when we remember our sons and brothers, whose constant valor has sustained on the field the cause of our country, of civilization, and liberty. On the ocean, on the rivers, on the land, on the heights where they thundered down from the clouds of Lookout Mountain the defiance of the skies, they have graven with their swords a record imperishable.
The Muse herself demands the lapse of silent years to soften, by the influence of time, her too keen and poignant realization of the scenes of War,—the pathos, the heroism, the fierce joy, the grief of battle. But during the ages to come she will brood over their memory. Into the hearts of her consecrated priests she will breathe the inspirations of lofty and undying beauty, sublimity, and truth, in all the glowing forms of speech, of literature, and plastic art. By the homely traditions of the fireside, by the headstones in the churchyard consecrated to those whose forms repose far off in rude graves, or sleep beneath the sea, embalmed in the memories of succeeding generations of parents and children, the heroic dead will live on in immortal youth.
The bell which rang out the Declaration of Independence has found at last a voice articulate, to “proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." It has been heard across oceans, and has modified the sentiments of cabinets and kings. The people of the Old World have heard it, and their hearts stop to catch the last whisper of its echoes. The poor slave has heard it; and with bounding joy, tempered by the mystery of religion, he worships and adores. The waiting continent has heard it, and already foresees the fulfilled prophecy, when she will sit
redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled by the irresistible Genius of Universal Emancipation.”
COME UP FROM THE FIELDS, FATHER 1
BY WALT WHITMAN
Come up from the fields, father, here's a letter from
our Pete, And come to the front door, mother, here's a letter
from thy dear son.
Lo, 'tis autumn,
ing in the moderate wind, Where apples ripe in the orchards hang and grapes
on the trellis'd vines, (Smell you the smell of the grapes on the vines ? Smell you the buckwheat where the bees were lately
Above all, lo, the sky so calm, so transparent after
the rain, and with wondrous clouds, Below too, all calm, all vital and beautiful and the
farm prospers well.
Down in the fields all prospers well,
daughter's call, And come to the entry, mother, to the front door come
right away. * By permission of the publisher, David McKay, Philadelphia.
Fast as she can she hurries, something ominous, her
catches the main words only, Sentences broken, gunshot wound in the breast, cav
alry skirmish, taken to hospital, At present low, but will soon be better.
Ah now the single figure to me,
faint, By the jamb of a door leans.
Grieve not so, dear mother (the just-grown daughter
speaks through her sobs, The little sisters huddle around speechless and dis
may'd,) See, dearest mother, the letter says Pete will soon be
Alas poor boy, he will never be better, (nor may be
needs to be better, that brave and simple soul,) While they stand at home at the door he is dead al
ready, The only son is dead.
But the mother needs to be better,
sleeping, often waking, In the midnight waking, weeping, longing with one
deep longing, O that she might withdraw unnoticed, silent from
life escape and withdraw, To follow, to seek, to be with her dear dead son.
THE DEATH OF GRANT
BY AMBROSE BIERCE
Father! whose hard and cruel law
Is part of thy compassion's plan,
Thy works presumptuously we scan
Unbidden still, the awful slope
Walling us in, we climb to gain
Assurance of the shining plain
In vain : beyond the circling hill
The shadow and the cloud abide ;
Subdue the doubt, our spirits guide