Maurice G. (Maurice Garland) Fulton.

Southern life in southern literature; selections of representative prose and poetry online

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Online LibraryMaurice G. (Maurice Garland) FultonSouthern life in southern literature; selections of representative prose and poetry → online text (page 18 of 35)
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Trump of fame and voice of maidens,

Now he takes his rest.

Earth, that all too soon hath bound him,

Gently wrap his clay !
Linger lovingly around him,

Light of dying day !
Softly fall the summer showers
Birds and bees among the flowers

Make the gloom seem gay !


There, throughout the coming ages,

When his sword is rust,
And his deeds in classic pages

Mindful of her trust,
Shall Virginia, bending lowly,
Still a ceaseless vigil holy

Keep above his dust !


Two armies covered hill and plain,

Where Rappahannock s waters
Ran deeply crimsoned with the stain

Of battle s recent slaughters.

The summer clouds lay pitched like tents

In meads of heavenly azure ;
And each dread gun of the elements

Slept in its hid embrasure.

The breeze so softly blew, it made

No forest leaf to quiver ;
And the smoke of the random cannonade

Rolled slowly from the river.

And now, where circling hills looked down

With cannon grimly" planted,
O er listless camp and silent town

The golden sunset slanted.

When on the fervid air there came
A strain now rich, now tender ;

The music seemed itself aflame
With day s departing splendor.


A Federal band, which, eve and morn,

Played measures brave and nimble,
Had just struck up, with flute and horn

And lively clash of cymbal.

Down flocked the soldiers to the banks,

Till, margined by its pebbles,
One wooded shore was blue with " Yanks,"

And one was gray with " Rebels."

Then all was still, and then the band,

With movement light and tricksy,
Made stream and forest, hill and strand,

Reverberate with " Dixie."

The conscious stream with burnished glow-
Went proudly o er its pebbles,

But thrilled throughout its deepest flow
With yelling of the Rebels.

Again a pause, and then again

The trumpets pealed sonorous,
And " Yankee Doodle " was the strain

To which the shore gave chorus.

The laughing ripple shoreward flew,

To kiss the shining pebbles ;
Loud shrieked the swarming Boys in Blue

Defiance to the Rebels.

And yet once more the bugles sang

Above the stormy riot ;
No shout upon the evening rang

There reigned a holy quiet.


The sad, slow stream its noiseless flood
Poured o er the glistening pebbles ;

All silent now the Yankees stood,
And silent stood the Rebels.

No unresponsive soul had heard

That plaintive note s appealing,
So deeply " Home, Sweet Home " had stirred

The hidden founts of feeling.

Or Blue or Gray, the soldier sees,

As by the wand of fairy,
The cottage neath the live-oak trees,

The cabin by the prairie.

Or cold or warm, his native skies

Bend in their beauty o er him ;
Seen through the tear-mist in his eyes,

His loved ones stand before him.

As fades the iris after rain,

In April s tearful weather,
The vision vanished, as the strain

And daylight died together.

But memory, waked by music s art

Expressed in simplest numbers,
Subdued the sternest Yankee s heart,

Made light the Rebel s slumbers.

And fair the form of music shines,

That bright, celestial creature,
Who still, mid war s embattled lines,

Gave this one touch of Nature.



The combat raged not long, but ours the day ;

And through the hosts that compassed us around
Our little band rode proudly on its way,

Leaving one gallant comrade, glory-crowned,
Unburied on the field he died to gain,
Single of all his men amid the hostile slain.

One moment on the battle s edge he stood,

Hope s halo like a helmet round his hair,
The nest beheld him, dabbled in his blood,

Prostrate in death, and yet in death how fair !
Even thus he passed through the red gate of strife,
From earthly crowns and psalms to an immortal life.

A brother bore his body from the field

And gave it unto stranger s hands that closed

The calm, blue eyes on earth forever sealed,
And tenderly the slender limbs composed :

Strangers, yet sisters, who with Mary s love,

Sat by the open tomb and weeping looked above.

A little child strewed roses on his bier,

Pale roses, not more stainless than his soul,

Nor yet more fragrant than his life sincere

That blossomed with good actions, brief, but whole :

The aged matron and the faithful slave

Approached with reverent feet the hero s lowly grave.

No man of God might say the burial rite

Above the " rebel " thus declared the foe
That blanched before him in the deadly fight,


But woman s voice, in accents soft and low,
Trembling with pity, touched with pathos, read
Over his hallowed dust the ritual for the dead.

T is sown in weakness, it is raised in power,"

Softly the promise floated on the air,
And the sweet breathings of the sunset hour

Came back responsive to the mourner s prayer ;
Gently they laid him underneath the sod,
And left him with his fame, his country, and his God.

Let us not weep for him whose deeds endure,
So young, so brave, so beautiful, he died ;

As he had wished to .die ; the past is sure,
Whatever yet of sorrow may betide

Those who still linger by the stormy shore,

Change cannot harm him now nor fortune touch him more.

And when Virginia, leaning on her spear,

Victrix et vidua, the conflict done,
Shall raise her mailed hand to wipe the tear

That starts as she recalls each martyred son,
No prouder memory her breast shall sway,
Than thine, our early-lost, lamented Latane.


[William Gordon McCabe was born at Richmond, Virginia, in
1841. During the war he served in the artillery of the Army of
Northern Virginia. After the war he established at Petersburg,
Virginia, a boys preparatory school, which after some years was
moved to Richmond. Mr. McCabe has published not only poems
but textbooks, literary reviews, and historical articles.]



I picture her there in the quaint old room,
Where the fading firelight starts and falls,

Alone in the twilight s tender gloom

With the shadows that dance on the dim-lit walls.

Alone, while those faces look silently down

From their antique frames in a grim repose

Slight scholarly Ralph in his Oxford gown,
And stanch Sir Alan, who died for Montrose.

There are gallants gay in crimson and gold,
There are smiling beauties with powdered hair,

But she sits there, fairer a thousandfold,
Leaning dreamily back in her low armchair.

And the roseate shadows of fading light

Softly clear steal over the sweet young face,

Where a woman s tenderness blends to-night
With the guileless pride of a knightly race.

Her small hands lie clasped in a listless way

On the old Romance which she holds on her knee

Of Tristram, the bravest of knights in the fray,
And Iseult, who waits by the sounding sea.

And her proud, dark eyes wear a softened look

As she watches the dying embers fall :
Perhaps she dreams of the knight in the book,

Perhaps of the pictures that smile on the wall.


What fancies I wonder are thronging her brain,
For her cheeks flush warm with a crimson glow !

Perhaps ah ! me, how foolish and vain !
But I d give my life to believe it so !

Well, whether I ever march home again
To offer my love and a stainless name,

Or whether I die at the head of my men,
I 11 be true to the end all the same.


The wintry blast goes wailing by,
The snow is falling overhead ;
I hear the lonely sentry s tread,

And distant watch fires light the sky.

Dim forms go flitting through the gloom ;
The soldiers cluster round the blaze
To talk of other Christmas days,

And softly speak of home and home.

My saber swinging overhead

Gleams in the watch fire s fitful glow,
While fiercely drives the blinding snow,

And memory leads me to the dead.

My thoughts go wandering to and fro,
Vibrating twixt the Now and Then ;
I see the low-browed home again,

The old hall wreathed with mistletoe.


And sweetly from the far-off years

Comes borne the laughter faint and low,
The voices of the Long Ago !

My eyes are wet with tender tears.

I feel again the mother-kiss,

I see again the glad surprise

That lighted up the tranquil eyes
And brimmed them o er with tears of bliss,

As, rushing from the old hall door,

She fondly clasped her wayward boy
Her face all radiant with the joy

She felt to see him home once more.

My saber swinging on the bough

Gleams in the watch fire s fitful glow,
While fiercely drives the blinding snow

Aslant upon my saddened brow.

Those cherished faces all are gone !
Asleep within the quiet graves
Where lies the snow in drifting waves,

And I am sitting here alone.

There s not a comrade here to-night

But knows that loved ones far away
On bended knees this night will pray :

" God bring our darling from the fight."

But there are none to wish me back,

For me no yearning prayers arise.

The lips are mute and closed the eyes
My home is in the bivouac.



What shall we say now of our gentle knight ?

Or how express the measure of our woe
For him who rode the foremost in the fight,

Whose good blade flashed so far amid the foe ?

Of all his knightly deeds what need to tell

That good blade now lies fast within its sheath

What can we do but point to where he fell,
And, like a soldier, met a soldier s death.

We sorrow not as those who have no hope,
For he was pure in heart as brave in deed

God pardon us, if blind with tears we grope,

And love be questioned by the hearts that bleed.

And yet O foolish and of little faith !

We cannot choose but weep our useless tears

We loved him so ! we never dreamed that Death
Would dare to touch him in his brave young years.

Ah ! dear bronzed face, so fearless and so bright !

As kind to friend as thou wast stern to foe
No more we 11 see thee radiant in the fight,

The eager eyes the flush on cheek and brow.

No more we 11 greet the lithe, familiar form

Amid the surging smoke with deaf ning cheer

No more shall soar above the iron storm

Thy ringing voice in accents sweet and clear.


Aye ! he has fought the fight and passed away
Our grand young leader smitten in the strife,

So swift to seize the chances of the fray,
And careless only of his noble life.

He is not dead but sleepeth ! Well we know
The form that lies to-day beneath the sod

Shall rise what time the golden bugles blow

And pour their music through the courts of God.

And there amid our great heroic dead,

The war-worn sons of God whose work is done!

His face shall shine, as they \vith stately tread
In grand review sweep past the jasper throne.

Let not our hearts be troubled ! Few and brief
His days were here, yet rich in love and faith ;

Lord, we believe, help Thou our unbelief,

And grant Thy servants such a life and death !


[John Williamson Palmer was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in
1825. After studying medicine, he began the practice of his profes
sion in San Francisco. After 1870 he resided in New York and
engaged in general literary work. For a time he was editorially con
nected with the Century Dictionary. His collected poems were
published in 1901 under the title "For Charlie s Sake, and Other
Ballads and Lyrics. He died in 1906."]


Come, stack arms, men : pile on the rails ;

Stir up the camp fire bright !
No growling if the canteen fails :

We 11 make a roaring night.


Here Shenandoah brawls along,
There burly Blue Ridge echoes strong
To swell the Brigade s rousing song,
Of Stonewall Jackson s Way.

We see him now the queer slouched hat,

Cocked over his eye askew :
The shrewd, dry smile ; the speech so pat,

So calm, so blunt, so true.
The " Blue-light Elder " knows em well :
Says he, " That s Banks : he s fond of shell.
Lord save his soul : we 11 give him " : well,

That s Stonewall Jackson s Way.

Silence ! Ground arms ! Kneel all ! Caps off !

Old Massa s going to pray.
Strangle the fool that dares to scoff :

Attention ! it s his way.
Appealing from his native sod,
In forma pauperis to God,
" Lay bare Thine arm ! Stretch forth Thy rod :

Amen ! " That s Stonewall s Way.

He s in the saddle now. Fall in !

Steady ! the whole brigade.
Hill s at the ford, cut off ; we 11 win

His way out, ball and blade.
What matter if our shoes are worn ?
What matter if our feet are torn ?
Quick step ! we re with him before morn

That s Stonewall Jackson s Way.


The sun s bright lances rout the mists

Of morning ; and, By George !
Here s Longstreet, struggling in the lists,

Hemmed in an ugly gorge.
Pope and his Dutchmen ! whipped before.
" Bay nets and grape ! " hear Stonewall roar.
Charge, Stuart ! Pay off Ashby s score,

In Stonewall Jackson s Way.

Ah, Maiden ! wait, and watch, and yearn,
For news of Stonewall s band.

Ah, Widow ! read, with eyes that burn,
That ring upon thy hand.

Ah, Wife ! sew on, pray on, hope on !

Thy life shall not be all forlorn.

The foe had better ne er been born,
That gets in Stonewall s Way.


[Henry Lynden Flash was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1835. He
was an officer in the Confederate army and after the war made his
home in New Orleans until 1886, when he removed to Los Angeles,
California. In 1860 he published a volume entitled " Poems," but
his reputation rests chiefly upon several pieces written in war time.]


Not midst the lightning of the stormy fight,
Nor in the rush upon the vandal foe,

Did kingly Death, with his resistless might,
Lay the great leader low.


His warrior soul its earthly shackles broke
In the full sunshine of a peaceful town ;

When all the storm was hushed, the trusty oak
That propped our cause went down.

Though his alone the blood that flecks the ground,

Recalling all his grand heroic deeds,
Freedom herself is writhing in the wound,

And all the country bleeds.

He entered not the Nation s Promised Land
At the red belching of the cannon s mouth,

But broke the House of Bondage with his hand
The Moses of the South !

O gracious God ! not gainless is the loss :

A glorious sunbeam gilds thy sternest frown ;

And while his country staggers neath the Cross,
He rises with the Crown !


[Thaddeus Oliver was born in Twiggs County, Georgia, in 1826.
He was an eloquent lawyer and a gifted man. He died in a hospital
at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1864.]


"All quiet along the Potomac," they say,

" Except now and then a stray picket
Is shot, as he walks on his beat, to and fro,

By a rifleman hid in the thicket.


T is nothing a private or two, now and then,
Will not count in the news of the battle ;

Not an officer lost only one of the men,
Moaning out, all alone, the death rattle."

All quiet along the Potomac to-night,

Where the soldiers lie peacefully dreaming ;
Their tents in the rays of the clear autumn moon,

Or the light of the watch fires, are gleaming.
A tremulous sigh, as the gentle night wind

Through the forest leaves softly is creeping ;
While stars up above, with their glittering eyes,

Keep guard for the army is sleeping.

There s only the sound of the lone sentry s tread,

As he tramps from the rock to the fountain,
And thinks of the two in the low trundle-bed

Far away in the cot on the mountain.
His musket falls slack his face, dark and grim,

Grows gentle with memories tender,
As he mutters a prayer for the children asleep

For their mother mav Heaven defend her !

The moon seems to shine just as brightly as then,

That night, when the love yet unspoken
Leaped up to his lips when low-murmured vows

Were pledged to be ever unbroken.
Then drawing his sleeve roughly over his eyes,

He dashes off tears that are welling,
And gathers his gun closer up to its place

As if to keep down the heart-swelling.


He passes the fountain, the blasted pine tree

The footstep is lagging and weary ;
Yet onward he goes, through the broad belt of light,

Toward the shades of the forest so dreary.
Hark ! was it the night wind that rustled the leaves ?

Was it moonlight so wondrously flashing ?
It looked like a rifle "Ah ! Mary, good-by ! "

And the lifeblood is ebbing and plashing.

All quiet along the Potomac to-night,
No sound save the rush of the river ;

While soft falls the dew on the face of the dead
The picket s off duty forever.


[Marie Ravenel de la Coste was born of French parents in
Savannah, Georgia, where the greater part of her early life was
spent. Her life has been devoted to teaching French, and the
writing of poetry has been merely an incidental matter with her.
Owing to her reticence about herself, it is not possible to give fuller
biographical details.]


Into a ward of the whitewashed walls

Where the dead and the dying lay,
Wounded by bayonets, shells, and balls,

Somebody s darling was borne one day.
Somebody s darling, so young and brave,

Wearing still on his pale, sweet face
Soon to be hid by the dust of the grave

The lingering light of his boyhood s grace.


Matted and damp are the curls of gold

Kissing the snow of that fair young brow ;
Pale are the lips of delicate mold,

Somebody s darling is dying now.
Back from the beautiful blue-veined brow

Brush every wandering silken thread,
Cross his hands on his bosom now

Somebodv s darling is still and dead !

Kiss him once for somebody s sake ;

Murmur a prayer both soft and low ;
One bright curl from its fair mates take

They were somebody s .pride, you know.
Somebody s hand has rested there ;

Was it a mother s soft and white ?
Or have the lips of a sister fair

Been baptized in those waves of light ?

God knows best ! He was somebody s love ;

Somebody s heart enshrined him there
Somebody wafted his name above,

Night and morn, on the wings of prayer.
Somebody wept when he marched away,

Looking so handsome, brave, and grand ;
Somebody s kiss on his forehead lay,

Somebody clung to his parting hand.

Somebody s watching and waiting for him,
Yearning to hold him again to her heart ;

And there he lies with his blue eyes dim,
And the smiling, childlike lips apart.


Tenderly bury the fair young dead,
Pausing to drop on his grave a tear ;

Carve on the wooden slab o er his head,
"Somebody s darling slumbers here."


[Caroline A. Ball was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1823.
She spent the early years of her life in the North, but in her young
womanhood she returned to Charleston. Here she married Mr. Isaac
Ball and bore a conspicuous part in the social life of Charleston. She
published in 1 866 her small volume of poetry under the title " The
Jacket of Gray, and Other Poems."]


Fold it up carefully, lay it aside,
Tenderly touch it, look on it with pride ;
For dear must it be to our hearts evermore,
The jacket of gray our loved soldier boy wore.

Can we ever forget when he joined the brave band,
Who rose in defense of dear Southern land ;
And in his bright youth hurried on to the fray ;
How proudly he donned it, the jacket of gray ?

His fond mother blessed him and looked up above,
Commending to Heaven the child of her love ;
What anguish was hers mortal tongue may not say,
When he passed from- her sight in the jacket of gray.

But her country had called him, she would not repine,
Though costly the sacrifice placed on its shrine ;
Her heart s dearest hopes on its altar she lay,
When she sent out her boy in his jacket of gray 1


Months passed, and war s thunders rolled over the land,
Unsheathed was the sword and lighted the brand ;
\Ye heard in the distance the noise of the fray,
And prayed for our boy in the jacket of gray.

Ah ! vain all all vain were our prayers and our tears,
The glad shout of victory rang in our ears ;
But our treasured one on the cold battlefield lay,
While the lifeblood oozed out on the jacket of gray.

His young comrades found him and tenderly bore
His cold, lifeless form to his home by the shore ;
Oh, dark were our hearts on that terrible day
When we saw our dead boy in the jacket of gray.

Ah ! spotted and tattered and stained now with gore
Was the garment which once he so proudly wore.
We bitterly wept as we took it away,
And replaced with death s white robe the jacket of gray.

We laid him to rest in his cold, narrow bed,

And graved on the marble we placed o er his head,

As the proudest of tributes our sad hearts could pay,

" He never disgraced the dear jacket of gray."

Then fold it up carefully, lay it aside,
Tenderly touch it, look on it w r ith pride ;
For dear must it be to our hearts evermore.
The jacket of gray our loved soldier boy wore.



[Mrs. Margaret Junkin Preston was born in Milton, Pennsylvania,
in 1 820. In 1 848 her father became President of Washington College
(now Washington and Lee University), and Lexington, Virginia, be
came thereafter the home of the family. In 1857 she married Pro
fessor T. L. Preston, of the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington.
The rest of her life was spent in Lexington, with the exception of a
few years toward the end in Baltimore. It was in the latter city that
she died, in 1897.]


Yes, " Let the tent be struck " : Victorious morning

Through every crevice flashes in a day
Magnificent beyond all earth s adorning :

The night is over ; wherefore should he stay ?

And wherefore should our voices choke to say,
" The General has gone forward " ?

Life s foughten field not once beheld surrender ;

But with superb endurance, present, past,
Our pure Commander, lofty, simple, tender,

Through good, through ill, held his high purpose fast,

Wearing his armor spotless, till at last,

Death gave the final, "forward"

All hearts grew sudden palsied : Yet what said he

Thus summoned? "Let the tent be struck!" For when

Did call of duty fail to find him ready
Nobly to do his work in sight of men,
For God s and for his country s sake and then,
To watch, wait, or go forward ?

1 The selections from Margaret Junkin Preston are reprinted through the
courtesy of the holder of the copyright, the Houghton Mifflin Company.


We will not weep, we dare not ! Such a story
As his large life writes on the century s years,

Should crowd our bosoms with a flush of glory,
That manhood s type, supremest that appears
To-day, he shows the ages. Nay, no tears
Because he has gone forward !

Gone forward ? Whither ? Where the marshal d legions,
Christ s well-worn soldiers, from their conflicts cease ;

Where Faith s true Red-Cross knights repose in regions
Thick-studded with the calm, white tents of peace,
Thither, right joyful to accept release,

The General has gone forward!


What are the thoughts that are stirring his breast ?

What is the mystical vision he sees ?
" Let us pass over the river and rest

Under the shade of the trees"

Has he grown sick of his toils and his tasks ?

Sighs the worn spirit for respite or ease ?
Is it a moment s cool halt that he asks

Under the shade of the trees ?

Is it the gurgle of waters whose flow

Ofttime has come to him, borne on the breeze,
Memory listens to, lapsing so low,

Under the shade of the trees ?


Nay though the rasp of the flesh was so sore,
Faith, that had yearnings far keener than these,

Saw the soft sheen of the Thitherward Shore,
Under the shade of the trees ;

Caught the high psalms of ecstatic delight,

Heard the harps harping, like soundings of seas,

Watched earth s assorted ones walking in white
Under the shade of the trees.

O, was it strange he should pine for release,

Touched to the soul with such transports as these,

He who so needed the balsam of peace,
Under the shade of the trees ?

Yea, it was noblest for him it was best,
(Questioning naught of our Father s decrees),

There to pass over the river and rest
Under the shade of the trees !


I give my soldier boy a blade,

In fair Damascus fashioned well ;

Online LibraryMaurice G. (Maurice Garland) FultonSouthern life in southern literature; selections of representative prose and poetry → online text (page 18 of 35)