The Hospital Steward—even he—
Who on the sleeper kept his glance,
Was changed; late bright-black beard and eye
Looked now hearse-black; his heavy heart,
Like his fagged mare, no more could dance;
His grape was now a raisin dry:
’Tis Mosby’s homily—Man must die.
The amber sunset flushed the camp
As on the hill their eyes they fed;
The pickets dumb looks at the wagon dart;
A handkerchief waves from the bannered tent—
As white, alas! the face of the dead:
Who shall the withering news impart?
The bullet of Mosby goes through heart to heart!
They buried him where the lone ones lie
(Lone sentries shot on midnight post)—
A green-wood grave-yard hid from ken,
Where sweet-fern flings an odor nigh—
Yet held in fear for the gleaming ghost!
Though the bride should see threescore and ten,
She will dream of Mosby and his men.
Now halt the verse, and turn aside—
The cypress falls athwart the way;
No joy remains for bard to sing;
And heaviest dole of all is this,
That other hearts shall be as gay
As hers that now no more shall spring:
To Mosby-land the dirges cling.
Lee in the Capitol.
Hard pressed by numbers in his strait,
Rebellion’s soldier-chief no more contends—
Feels that the hour is come of Fate,
Lays down one sword, and widened warfare ends.
The captain who fierce armies led
Becomes a quiet seminary’s head—
Poor as his privates, earns his bread.
In studious cares and aims engrossed,
Strives to forget Stuart and Stonewall dead—
Comrades and cause, station and riches lost,
And all the ills that flock when fortune’s fled.
No word he breathes of vain lament,
Mute to reproach, nor hears applause—
His doom accepts, perforce content,
And acquiesces in asserted laws;
Secluded now would pass his life,
And leave to time the sequel of the strife.
But missives from the Senators ran;
Not that they now would gaze upon a swordless foe,
And power made powerless and brought low:
Reasons of state, ’tis claimed, require the man.
Demurring not, promptly he comes
By ways which show the blackened homes,
And—last—the seat no more his own,
But Honor’s; patriot grave-yards fill
The forfeit slopes of that patrician hill,
And fling a shroud on Arlington.
The oaks ancestral all are low;
No more from the porch his glance shall go
Ranging the varied landscape o’er,
Far as the looming Dome—no more.
One look he gives, then turns aside,
Solace he summons from his pride:
“So be it! They await me now
Who wrought this stinging overthrow;
They wait me; not as on the day
Of Pope’s impelled retreat in disarray—
By me impelled—when toward yon Dome
The clouds of war came rolling home”
The burst, the bitterness was spent,
The heart-burst bitterly turbulent,
And on he fared.