“Oh, dig him a grave
by the red rowan tree,
Where the spring moss grows softer than fringes of foam!
And lay his bed smoothly, and leave room for me,
For I shall be ready before he comes home.
“And carve on his tombstone
a name and a wreath,
And a tale to touch hearts through the slow-spreading years—
How he died his noble and beautiful death,
And his mother who longed for him, died of her tears.
“But what is this face
shining in at the door,
With its old smile of peace, and its flow of fair hair?
Are you come, blessed ghost, from the far heavenly shore?
Do not go back alone—let me follow you there!”
“Oh! clasp me, dear
mother. I come to remain;
I come to your heart, and God answers your prayer.
Your son is alive from the hosts of the slain,
And the Cross of our Queen on his breast glitters fair!”
(September 20, 1854.)
BY RICHARD CHENEVIX TRENCH.
Though till now ungraced in story, scant although
thy waters be,
Alma, roll those waters proudly, proudly roll them to the sea:
Yesterday, unnamed, unhonoured, but to wandering Tartar known—
Now thou art a voice for ever, to the world’s four corners blown.
In two nations’ annals graven, thou art now a deathless name,
And a star for ever shining in the firmament of fame.
Many a great and ancient river, crowned with city, tower and shrine,
Little streamlet, knows no magic, boasts no potency like thine,
Cannot shed the light thou sheddest around many a living head,
Cannot lend the light thou lendest to the memories of the dead.
Yea, nor all unsoothed their sorrow, who can, proudly mourning, say—
When the first strong burst of anguish shall have wept itself away—
“He has pass’d from, us, the loved one; but he sleeps with them that
By the Alma, at the winning of that terrible hill-side.”
Yes, and in the days far onward, when we all are cold as those
Who beneath thy vines and willows on their hero-beds repose,
Thou on England’s banners blazon’d with the famous fields of old,
Shalt, where other fields are winning, wave above the brave and bold;
And our sons unborn shall nerve them for some great deed to be done,
By that Twentieth of September, when the Alma’s heights were won.
Oh! thou river! dear for ever to the gallant, to the free—
Alma, roll thy waters proudly, proudly roll them to the sea.
(September 20, 1854.)
BY GERALD MASSEY.
Our old War-banners on the
Were waving merrily o’er them;
The hope of half the world behind—
The sullen Foe before them!
They trod their march of battle,