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The blood flowed fast from my wounded side,
And then for awhile I forgot my pain, And over the lakelet we seemed to glide
In our little boat, two boys again.
And then, in my dream, me stood alone
On a forest path where the shadows fell ; And I heard again the tremulous tone,
And the tender words of his last farewell.
But that parting was years, long years ago,
He wandered away to a foreign land; And our dear old mother will never know
That he died to-night by his brother's hand.
The soldiers who buried the dead away,
Disturbed not the clasp of that last embrace, But laid them to sleep till the Judgment-day,
Heart folded to heart, and face to face.
When Freedom, from her mountain height
Unfurl'd her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there!
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes
The milky baldric of the skies,
And stripped its pure celestial white
With streakings of the morning light.
Then, from his mansion in the sun,
She call’d her eagle bearer down,
And gave into liis mighty hand
The symbol of her chosen land !
Majestic monarch of the cloud !
Who rear'st aloft thy regal form, To hear the tempest-trumpings loud, And see the lightning lances driven,
When strive the warriors of the storm,
And rolls the thunder-drum of heaven, -
Child of the Sun! to thee 'tis given
To guard the banner of the free,
To hover in the sulphur smoke,
To ward away the battle-stroke,
And bid its blendings shine afar,
Like rainbows on the cloud of war,
The harbingers of victory!
Flag of the brave ! thy folds shall ily,
The sign of hope and triumph high !
When speaks the signal-trumpet tone,
And the long line comes gleaming on,
Ere yet the life-blood, warm and wet,
Has dimm'd the glistening bayonet,
Each soldier's eye shall brightly turn
To where thy sky-born glories burn,
And as his springing steps advance,
Catch war and vengeance from the glance.
And when the cannon-mouthings loud
Heave in wild wreaths the battle shroud,
And gory sabres rise and fall
Like shoots of flame on midnight's pall,
Then shall thy meteor glances glow,
And cowering foes shall shrink beneath
Each gallant arm that strikes below
That lovely messenger of death.
Flag of the seas! on ocean wave
Thy stars shall glitter o'er the brave;
When death, careering on the gale,
Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail,
And frighted waves rush wildly back
Before the broadside's reeling rack,
Each dying wanderer of the sea
Shall look at once to heaven and thee,
And smile to see thy splendors fly
In triumph o'er his closing eye.
Flag of the free heart's hope and home,
By angel hands to valor given,
Thy stars have lit the welkin dome,
And all thy hues were born in heaven.
Forever float that standard sheet,
Where breathes the foe but falls before us,
With Freedom's soil beneath our feet,
And Freedom's banner streaming o'er us!
OH! WHY SHOULD THE SPIRIT OF MORTAL
[The following poem was a particular favorite with Mr. Lincoln, and which he was accustomed occasionally to repeat. Mr. F. B. Carpenter, the artist, writes that while engaged in painting his picture at the White House, he was alone one evening with the President in his room, when he said: “There is a poem which has been a great favorite with me for years, which was first shown to me when a young man by a friend, and which I afterwards saw and cut from a newspaper and learned by heart. I would,” he continued, “give a great deal to know who wrote it, but have never been able to ascertain.” He then repeated the poem, and on a subsequent occasion Mr. Carpenter wrote it down from Mr. Lincoln's own lips. The poem was published more than thirty years ago, was then stated to be of Jewish origin and composition, and we think was credited to “ Songs of Israel.”]
Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?
Like a swift, fleeting meteor, a fast flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
Man passes from life to his rest in the grave.
The leaves of the oak and the willows shall fade,
Be scattered around and together be laid ;
And the young and the old, and the low and the high,
Shall moulder to dust and together shall lie.
oh ! WHY SHOULD THE SPIRIT, ETC.
The infant a mother attended and loved,
The mother that infant's affection who proved;
The husband that mother and infant who blessed,
Each, all, are away to their dwellings of rest.
The maid on whose cheek, on whose brow, in whose eye,
Shone beauty and pleasure-her triumphs are by ;
And the memory of those who loved her and praised,
Are alike from the minds of the living erased.
The hand of the king that the sceptre hath borne ;
The brow cf the priest that the mitre hath worn;
The eye of the sage and the heart of the brave,
Are hidden and lost in the depth of the grave.
The peasant, whose lot was to sow and to reap;
The herdsman, who climbed with his goats up the steep;
The beggar, who wandered in search of his bread,
Have faded away like the grass that we tread.
The saint who enjoyed the communion of heaven,
The sinner who dared to remain unforgiven,
The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just,
Have quietly mingled their bones in the dust.
So the multitude goes, like the flowers or the weed
That withers away to let others succeed;
So the multitude comes, even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that has often been told.
For we are the same our fathers have been ;
We see the same sights our fathers have seen-
We drink the same stream and view the same sun,
And run the same course our fathers have run.
The thoughts we are thinking our fathers would think;
From the death we are shrinking our fathers would shrink,
To the life we are clinging they also would cling ;
But it speeds for us all, like a bird on the wing.
They loved, but the story we cannot unfold;
They scorned, but the heart of the haughty is cold;
They grieved, but no wail from their slumbers will come;
They joyed, but the tongue of their gladness is dumb.
They died, aye ! they died : and we things that are now,
Who walk on the turf that lies over their brow,
Who make in their dwelling a transient abode,
Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage road.
Yea ! hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
We mingle together in sunshine and rain;
And the smiles and the tears, the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge.
'Tis the wink of an eye, 'tis the draught of a breath;
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud-
Oh why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?
PARRIASIUS stood, gazing forgetfully
Upon the canvas. There Prometheus lay,
Chained to the cold rocks of Mount Caucasus,
The vulture at his vitals, and the links
Of the lame Lemnian festering in his flesh;
And, as the painter's mind felt through the dim
Rapt mystery, and plucked the shadows forth
With its far-reaching fancy, and with form
And color clad them, his fine, earnest eye
Flashed with a passionate fire, and the quick curl
Of his thin nostril, and his quivering lip,
Were like the winged god's breathing from his flights.