The hilt of sword, a stone just rolled away.
And now, behold the crowning scene of glory !
The Patriot Chieftain to his colors true,"
Waved thrice his hand toward the eagle hoary,
As round his form the faded flag he drew;
While on his brow the crown he then made firmer,
His lips were moving, I could plainly see ;
I strained my ear to catch the tender murmur
Twas but a single word the name of LEE.
Lo, thereupon, the armor with one volley,
Discharged within the chasm s hollow womb;
The light o erpowered ! for me it would be folly
To try to paint the scene above the tomb.
I only know at very verge of Heaven,
u The Father of his Country " did appear,
With martyrs twain to each of whom twere given
To shed a soul-bedewed immortal tear.
The smoke of battle once for all had vanished
In lieu thereof behold white, fleecy clouds,
Whose wondrous texture every shadow banished
And paled the air like ghosts in filmy shrouds.
I turned my head to note once more the donor,
Of wreath and star, anon transformed to crown,
By heaven s decree, illustrious brow to honor !
I sought for him who wore the sable gown.
THE LAST TRIBUTE. 49
In vain my search; yet no word dare I utter,
The weight of silence mate influence brings;
Yet, even now I think I hear the flutter
Of rustling garments, like to angel wings.
If it be he, rejoining the Immortal,
Seraphic host, for which my soul doth pine,
O, may we meet at Heaven s pearly portal,
Or near the Everlasting Throne Divine,
As if by some strong shock or fell misgiving,
My trembling heart now gave one mighty bound;
I woke to find myself among the living,
Devoid of power my strange dream to expound.
Yet will I trust, t were not of need quite sterile,
To me its mem ry shall be ever dear,
But precious as a monument of beryl,
Hath it the power to stay " A WIDOW S TEAR."
A VOICE FROM AFAR.
Why stand ye there disconsolate and glum?
Doth it behoove that Nature s noblemen
Shall waste one trice of time in vain regret?
And would ye brand the epoch whence the years
That Time shall name tk an age" were given birth,
By actions rife with glaring malcontent
By lowering brows and mutterings morose
To render callow, in the fullest sense,
The motto that " IN UNION THERE is STRENGTH?"
Wouldst lend yourselves unwittingly to mock
The precepts which erewhile ye have instilled
In verdant minds? Wouldst recklessly corrode,
Ere harvest time, the wholesome vintage fruits
Fair products of good seed most nobly sown?
Nay, nay! T were but a passing blindness; yet
T were fitting that u the silent man " should speak.
Know, then, that he, now passed beyond the strife
The narrowness of earth s entire expanse
Who views with fan t less sight that mundane orb
Whose " beam " descries an ever-present " mote.
Know that with vision clear as crystal jet
Far reaching he, compassionate of soul,
Yearns tenderly to draw aside the v 7 eil;
That. earth s loved comrades share effulgent light;
Late friends and brothers -heirs of holy bond,
Whose golden links of need are stronger far
Than any our staunch friendships e er did weld.
A VOICE FROM AFAR. 51
In that ye all to me are closer drawn ;
While I, at peace, and evermore unscathed
By twaddling censure in the mouths of men;
Free from the cruel lash of cold distrust,
Nor longer harrowed by vicissitudes
Which stalk unchallenged in the wake of all,
Like wary spectres, biding well the time
When hey-day prime is past, suspicions fled
That it be their design to overtake.
Then, with swift, stealthy stride, as is their wont,
They gain the vantage ground and boldly flaunt
Their colors- -though, in truth, they conquer not;
While honest friends in blank amazement gaze
On the proceedings till, half paralyzed,
They fail to act as quickly as they would,
Arid powerless grow, however a tried and true 1 ;
Till, later on, they rally, and in time
Lay bare the case, and facts investigate.
Such mode were human nothing more or less
And likewise were it human to regret
That one should be "caught napping at his post,"
Though that one prove to be one s better self !
Yet are regrets as base purloining thieves,
Whose purpose, sinister, is but to sap
The healthful juices from the buoyant heart,
And dredge the remnant with their own ioul bane.
Now, hearken well, I know w T hereof I speak,
And speaking as one lately passed beyond
The horizon that frames the mode of men :
I would diffuse trariquility s rare balm.
And something of pure sentiment impart.
What doth it signify, where mortal dust,
52 A VOICE FUO1V1 AFAR.
From which my soul hath parted company,
Shall dwindle till no atom there remains,
So that mv bones be not contention s prey?
And to yourselves, what doth it matter, save
As trophy of that gloating rivalry
Which doth inflate the willing hearts of men
On such occasions, till becomes a farce,
Or misnomer, the effort they construe
As most respectful to the prior cause?
For e en as nacre may be smeared and dimmed
By dross of barnacle or calcium blur:
So, motives, once as pure as jasper rays,
If fostered by the reek of envy s slum,
May not conceal the parasitic blight;
That gross exchange for that which of itself
Had chastely thriven till its envoy sparks
Did glitter richly in x the noonday sun,
When, lo! the motive pure and self-sustained,
Had towered resplendent with prismatic light.
If ye would rear a monument, so strong
That no power known to man may e er detract
One whit from solid base or lofty spire,
Whose polished column nay, whose burnished shaft
The vaulted dome of heaven will not shame
By contrast, but whose canopy will grace
Its capital, which, looming gainst the sky,
With breathe forth language eloquent as mute,
At roseal dawn of morn, at prime of noon.
At amber sunset and at verge of eve,
At twilight vespers, when the tim rous stars,
Like bashful messengers, in tufts appear,
At night, when purple shadows fade before
A VOICE FROM AFAK. 53
The radiant imprint of the moon s ripe kiss,
At glowering midnight, from whose visage grim
Those love-fraught beams in turn do shrink and wane,
At all hours, seasons, and through all extremes,
A language that will penetrate its way.
Like the aroma from ambrosial beds
When press the feet of Archangels upon
Their marv lous wealth of amaranthine blooms:
A mute oration, whose sage paragraphs,
The op ning calyxes of spring-time flowers,
The azure tint of summer, and the rain
That patters softly on the autumn leaves,
The Indian-summer haze which blandly waits
To usher in, betimes, the crisp hoar frost,
The whited drifts of winter, and the snow,
Whose gleam perennial pales the mountain peaks:
All will in turn appear to have TRANSCRIBED!
And like a silver bell, whose ring is heard
By sense acute ere its clear notes peal forth;
So discourse dumb may still be so replete
With ornate utterance, albeit restrained,
That mind, susceptible to import grand,
Doth memorize what it hath SEEMED to say,
And, echoing down the ages, wisdom s words
Doth thus renew their elsewise flagging power,
Till on the oriflamme, whose scroll-ed verge
Do quaintly span the zenith, is inscribed
A. glorious MORAL, which shall live for aye.
If ye would carve a record that will last
Till mountains shall be moved and seas consumed,
Bear ye no malice gainst your fellow-men;
And if your purpose be to honor me,
54 A VOICE FROM AFAR.
Or yet my memory, tor my deeds on earth,
I do beseech, ye act with one accord;
For I am bound to none, save through the love
Which renders me commiserate toward all;
Nor would I have withheld a farthing which
Doth represent a secret wish to give;
"The widow s mite," the stripling s hoarded store,
The dimpled lassie s pence, and youth s proud sum
Should have a place beneath the corner-stone.
For I am of the people, e en as dew,
Which freshens drooping plants, is of the clouds,
And ye shall note my pleasure and my thanks
Shine forth in gratitude from smiling sky,
From nower-clad hills and mossy woodland haunts,
From placid lake, from shimmering olive bough,
And from the white-capped billows, which delight
To stud with countless gems their lofty crests;
Then, with a voice of thunder, signal give
That all their treasure is to be received
By Goddess fair; when lo! that a-ged dame,
Know r n bv repute as worthy Mother Earth,
Doth smooth her spacious lap and meekly wait
The shower of moistened gems, which place have had
In helmet lately vanished from the sight,
All the bright visions which your eyes behold,
From time to time, when turn your thoughts to me,
Shall be imbued with pleasure of my soul ;
Nor shall ye fail to hear the words, " well done."
THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY