Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Wretch," I cried, “thy God hath lent thee-by these angels he

hath sent thee Respite-respite and nepenthe from the memories of Lenore ! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore !

Quoth the raven, “ Nevermore!”

'Prophet !” said I, “ thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil !
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest toss'd thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror haunted-tell me truly, I implore-
Is there-is there balm in Gilead ?-tell me tell me, I implore !
Quoth the raven,

“Nevermore!”

“ Prophet!” said I, "thing of evil !-prophet still, if bird or devil !
By that heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore,
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden, whom the angels name Lenore;
Clasp a fair and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore !”

Quoth the raven, “ Nevermore !"

" Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked,

upstarting“ Get thee back into the tempest and the night's Plutonian shore ! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken !-quit the bust above my door ! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my

door!”
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore !"

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door ;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the

floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor,

Shall be lifted-neverinore !

THE LOYAL LEGION.

COLONEL CHAS. G. HALPINE (MILES O'RIELLY).

[This poem was read at the festival in honor of Washington's Birthday, given by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion in Philadelphia, Feb. 220, 1866.)

FOREVER past the days of gloom,

The long, sad days of doubt and fear,
When woman, by her idle loom,
Heard the dread battle's nearing boom

With clasped hands and straining ear;
While each new hour the past pursues

With further threat of loss and pain,
Till the sick senses would refuse
To longer drink the bloody news

That told of sons and brothers slain.

The days of calm at length are won,

And, sitting thus, with folded hands,
We talk of great deeds greatly done,
While all the future seems to run

A silvery tide o'er golden sands.
With pomp the votive sword and shield

The saviors of the land return;
And while new shrines to Peace we build,
On our great banner's azure field

Yet larger constellations burn!

Who bore the sag—who won the day?

The young proud manhood of the land,
Called from the forge and plow away,
They seized the weapons of the fray

With eager but untutored hand;
They swarmed o'er all the roads that led

To where the peril hottest burned-
By night, by day, their hurrying tread
Still southward to the struggle sped,

Nor ever from their purpose turned.

THE LOYAL LEGION.

141

Why tell how long the contest hung,

Now crowned with hope and now depressed,
And how the varying balance swung,
Until, like gold in furnace flung,

The truth grew stronger for the test ? 'Twas our own blood we had to meet;

'Twas with full peers our swords were crossed Till in the march, assault, retreat, And in the school of stern defeat

We learned success at bloody cost.

Oh, comrades of the camp and deck!

All that is left by pitying Fate
Of those who bore through fire and wreck,
With sinewy arm and stubborn neck

His flag whose birth we celebrate!
Oh, men, whose names, forever bright

On history's golden tablets gravedBy land, by sea who waged the fight, What guerdon will you ask to-night

For service done, for perils braved ?

The charging lines no more we see,

No more we hear the din of strife; Nor under every greenwood tree, Stretched in their life's great agony.

Are those who wait the surgeon's knife; No more the dreaded stretchers drip,

The jolting ambulances groan; No more, while all the senses slip, We hear from the soon silent lip

The prayer for death as balm alone !

And ye who, on the sea's blue breast,

And down the rivers of the land,
With clouds of thunder as a crest,
Where still your conquering prows were pressed

War's lightnings wielded in your hand !

Ye, too, released, no longer feel

The threat of battle, storm and rockTorpedoes grating on the keel, While the strained sides with broadsides reel,

And turrets feel the dinting shock.

Joint saviors of the land! To-day

What guerdon ask you of the land ? No boon too great for you to prayWhat can it give that could repay

The men we miss from our worn band ? The men who lie in trench and swamp,

The dead who rock beneath the waveThe brother-souls of march and camp, Bright spiritseach a shining lamp,

Teaching our children to be brave !

And thou-Great Shade! in whom was nursed

The germ and grandeur of our land In peace, in war, in reverence first, Who taught our infancy to burst

The tightening yoke of Britain's hand ! Thou, too, from thy celestial height

Will join the prayer we make to-day“ Homes for the crippled in the fight, And, what of life is left, made bright

By all that gratitude can pay.”

Teach these who loll in gilded seats,

With nodding plume and jewelled gown,
Boasting a pedigee that dates
Back to the men who swayed the fates

When thou wert battling Britain's crown, That ere the world a century swims

Though time—this poor, blue-coated host, With brevet-rank of shattered limbs, Will swell the fame in choral hynins

And be of pride the p oudest boast ! **

THE LOYAL LEGION.

143

Homes for the heroes we implore,

The brave who limbs and vigor gave,
That-North and South, from shcre to shore
One free, rich, boundless country o'er-

The flag of Washington might wave;
The flag that first—the day recall-

Long years ago, one summer morn,
Flashed up o'er Independence Hall,
A meteor-messenger to all

That a new Nation here was born!

Oh, wives and daughters of the land !

To every gentler impuls : true, To you we raise the invoking hand, Take pity on our stricken band,

These demi-gods disguis d in blue!
More sweet than coo of pairing birds

Your voice when urging gentle deeds,
And power and beauty clothe her words,
A west wind through the heart's thrilled chords

When woman's voice. for pity pleads.

To you I leave the soldier's doom,

Your glistening eyes assure me right; Oh, think through many a night of gloom, When round you all was light and bloom,

And he preparing for the fight--
The soldier bade his fancy roam

Far from the foe's battalions proud-
From camps, and hot steeds champing foam,
And fondly on your breast at home

The forehead of his spirit bowed !

Oh, by the legions of the dead,

Whose ears even yet our love may reach-
Whose souls, in fight or prison fied,
Now swarm in column overhead,

Winging with fire my faltering speech ;

« PreviousContinue »