« VorigeDoorgaan »
Men start not at the battle-cry,
0, be it never heard again !
Soon rested those who fought ; but thou
Who minglest in the harder strife For truths which men receive not now,
Thy warfare only ends with lise.
Through weary day and weary year ; A wild and many-weaponed throng
Hang on thy front and flank and rear.
Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof,
And blench not at thy chosen lot ; The timid good may stand aloof,
The sage may frown, — yet faint thou not. Nor heed the shaft too surely cast,
The foul and hissing bolt of scorn ; For with thy side shall dwell, at last,
The victory of endurance born.
“Ah ha! old worn-out soldier, is it you ?"
Two shadows then I saw, two voices heard,
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again,
The eternal years of God are hers; But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,
And dies among his worshippers. Yea, though thou lie npon the dust,
When they who helped thee flee in fear, Die full of hope and manly trust,
Like those who fell in battle here !
Another hand thy sword shall wield,
Another hand the standard wave, Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed
The blast of triumph o'er thy grave.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
THE SOLDIER'S RETURN.
How sweet it was to breathe that cooler air,
SOLDIER, REST! THY WARFARE O'ER
FROM "THE LADY OF THE LAKE" SOLDIER, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking ; Dream of battled fields no more,
Days of danger, nights of waking. In our isle's enchanted hall,
Hands unseen thy couch are strewing,
Every sense in slumber dewing,
Armor's clang, or war-steed champing,
Mustering clan, or squadron tramping. Yet the lark's shrill fife may come
At the day break from the fallow, And the bittern sound his drum,
Booming from the sedgy shallow, Ruder sounds shall none be near, Guards nor warders challenge here;
Under the willows, and over the hill,
He patiently followed their sober pace; The merry whistle for once was still,
And something shadowed the sunny face. Only a boy! and his father had said
He never could let his youngest go ; Two already were lying dead
Under the feet of the trampling foe.
But after the evening work was done,
And the frogs were loud in the meadow-swamp, Over his shoulder he slung his gun
And stealthily followed the foot-path damp.
Across the clover and through the wheat
With resolute heart and purpose grim, Though cold was the dew on his hurrying feet,
And the blind bat's flitting startled him.
It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar's work was done,
Was sitting in the sun ;
Roll something large and round,
In playing there, had found;
Who stood expectant by ;
And, with a natural sigh, “'T is some poor fellow's skull,” said he, “Who fell in the great victory.
Thrice since then had the lanes been white,
And the orchards sweet with apple-bloom ; And now,
when the cows came back at night, The feeble father drove them home.
For news had come to the lonely farm
That three were lying where two had lain ; And the old man's tremulous, palsied arm
Could never lean on a son's again. The summer day grew cool and late,
He went for the cows when the work was done ; But down the lane, as he opened the gate,
He saw them coming one by one,
“I find them in the garden,
For there's many hereabout; And often, when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out; For many thousand men,” said he, “Were slain in the great victory."
TOBAL CAIX. “Now tell us what 't was all about," Young Peterkin he cries ;
Old Tubal Cain was a man of might, And little Wilhelmine looks up
In the days when earth was young ; With wonder-waiting eyes,
By the fierce red light of his furnace bright,
The strokes of his hammer rung: “Now tell us all about the war, And what they fought each other for.'
And he lifted high his brawny hand
On the iron glowing clear,
As he fashioned the sword and the spear. “It was the English,” Kaspar cried,
And he sang : “Hurrah for my handiwork! “Who put the French to rout;
Hurrah for the spear and the swori ! But what they fought each other for
Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well, I could not well make out;
For he shall be king and lord." But every body said," quoth he, “ That 't was a famous victory.
To Tubal Cain came many a one,
As he wrought by his roaring fire,
And each one prayed for a strong steel bla le “My father lived at Blenheim then,
As the crown of his desire : Yon little stream hard by ;
And he made them weapons sharp and strung, They burnt his dwelling to the ground, Till they shouted loud for glee, And he was forced to fly ;
And gave him gifts of pearl and gold, So with his wife and child he fled,
And spoils of the forest free. Nor had he where to rest his head.
And they sang :
“Hurrah for Tubal Cain, Who hath given us strength anew ! Hurrah for the smith, hurrah for the fire,
And hurrah for the metal true !" “With fire and sword the country round Was wasted far and wide ;
But a sudden change came o'er his heart, And many a childing mother there,
Ere the setting of the sun, And new-born baby died ;
And Tubal Cain was filled with pain But things like that, you know, must be
For the evil he had done; At every famous victory.
He saw that men, with rage and hate,
Made war upon their kind,
That the land was red with the blood they shed, “They say it was a shocking sight
In their lust for carnage blind. After the field was won,
And he said : “ Alas ! that ever I made, For many thousand bodies here
Or that skill of mine should plan,
The spear and the sword for men whose joy
And for many a day old Tubal Cain
Sat brooding o'er his woe ; x.
And his hand forbore to smite the ore, “Great praise the Duke of Marlborough won, And his furnace smouldered low. And our good Prince Eugene.”
But he rose at last with a cheerful face, “Why, 't was a very wicked thing!"
And a bright courageous eye, Said little Wilhelmine.
And bared his strong right arm for work, "Nay, nay, my little girl !" quoth he,
While the quick flames mounted high. “ It was a famous victory.
And he sang : “Hurrah for my handiwork!"
And the red sparks lit the air ;
“Not alone for the blade was the bright steel “And everybody praised the duke
made," Who this great fight did win.”
And he fashioned the first ploughshare. “But what good came of it at last ?" Quoth little Peterkin.
And men, taught wisdom from the past, “Why, that I cannot tell," said he ;
In friendship joined their hands, “But 't was a famous victory."
Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall,
And ploughed the willing lands;
“Woe's the day,” he sadly said, With a slowly shaking head,
And a look of pity ; “Ury's honest lord reviled, Mock of knave and sport of child,
In his own good city !
BARCLAY OF URY.
Up the streets of Aberdeen,
Rode the laird of Ury ;
Pressed the mob in fury.
Prompt to please her master;
Cursed him as he passed her.
Came he slowly riding ;
Turning not for chiding.
Loose and free and froward :
Drive the Quaker coward !”
“Barclay! Ho! a Barclay !”
Scarred and sunburned darkly ; Who, with ready weapon bare, Fronting to the troopers there,
Cried aloud : “God save us ! Call ye coward him who stood Ankle-deep in Lutzen’s blood,
With the brave Gustavus ?”. “Nay, I do not need thy sword, Comrade mine," said Ury's lord ; “Put it up, I pray thee.
1 Passive to his holy will, Trust I in my Master still,
Even though he slay me.
“Happier I, with loss of all, Hunted, outlawed, held in thrall,
With few friends to greet me, Than when reeve and squire were seen Riding out from Aberdeen
With bared heads to meet me;
“When each goodwife, o'er and o'er, Blessed me as I passed her door ;
And the snooded daughter, Through her casement glancing down, Smiled on him who bore renown
From red fields of slaughter.
“Hard to feel the stranger's scoff, Hard the old friends' falling off,
Hard to learn forgiving ; But the Lord his own rewards, And his love with theirs accords
Warm and fresh and living.
“Through this dark and stormy night Faith beholds a feeble light
Up the blackness streaking ;
Knowing God's own time is best,
I flew to the pleasant fields traversed so oft In a patient hope I rest
In life's morning march, when my bosom was For the full day-breaking !"
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft, So the laird of Ury said,
And knew the sweet strain that the cornTurning slow his horse's head
reapers sung. Towards the Tolbooth prison, Where, through iron gates, he heard Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I Poor disciples of the Word
swore, Preach of Christ arisen !
From my home and my weeping friends never
to part ; Not in vain, confessor old,
My little ones kissed me a thousand times o'rt, Unto us the tale is told
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fulness of Of thy day of trial !
heart. Every age on him who strays From its broad and beaten ways
“Stay, stay with us, – rest, thou art weary and Pours its sevenfold vial.
worn"; Happy he whose inward ear
And fain was their war-broken soldier to Angel comfortings can hear,
stay ;O'er the rabble's laughter ;
But sorrow returned with the dawning of mom, And, while hatred's fagots burn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.
THOMAS CAMPBELL Glimpses through the smoke discern
Of the good hereafter.
THE DRUMMER-BOY'S BURIAL
All day long the storm of battle through the i After hands shall sow the seed,
startled valley swept ; After hands from hill and mead
All night long the stars in heaven o'er the slain Reap the harvests yellow.
sad vigils kept. Thus, with somewhat of the seer,
O the ghastly upturned faces gleaming whit-ly Must the moral pioneer
through the night ! From the fuiure borrow,
O the heaps of mangled corses in that dim seja: Clothe the waste with dreams of grain,
chral light ! And, on midnight's sky of rain,
1 Paint the golden morrow!
One by one the pale stars faded, and at length JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
the morning broke; But not one of all the sleepers on that field of !
death awoke. THE SOLDIER'S DREAM.
Slowly passed the golden hours of that long bright Our bugles sang truce, -- for the night-cloud had summer day, lowered
And upon that field of carnage still the desd And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky;
unburied lay. And thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered,
Lay there stark and cold, but pleading with a The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
dumb, unceasing prayer,
For a little dust to hide them from the staring | When reposing that night on my pallet of straw, sun and air.
By the wolf-scaring fagot that guarded the slain; At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw,
But the foeman held possession of that hardAnd thrice ere the morning I dreamt it again. won battle-plain,
In unholy wrath denying even burial to our siain. Methought from the battle-field's dreadful array,
Far, far I had roamed on a desolate track : Once again the night dropped round thein, - | 'T was autumn, — and sunshine arose on the way night so holy and so calm To the home of my fathers, that welcoined me That the moonbeams hushed the spirit, like the back.
sound of prayer or psalm.