A battle poem.
by Benj. F. Taylor.Break up camp, drowsy World!
For the shrouds are unfurled,
And the dead drummers beat the long roll through the morn,
And the bugle-blown orders
Invade the dumb borders
Where the grave-digger dreamed he had laid them forlorn.
From old Saratoga,
From old Ticonderoga,
From Bennington, Bunker, and Lexington Green,
They have marched back sublime
To the sentries of time,
And have passed on triumphant, unchallenged between!
I can hear the flint-locks,--
The old click of the clocks
That timed Liberty's step to no pendulum swing!
When the bullets all sped,
Woman smilingly said,
“Let us charm the dull weights till they fly and they sing!”
Ah! those old blackened ladles
Where Glory's own cradles!
Rocked a red-coat to sleep with each birth from the mould,
And the old fashioned-fire
Blazed hotter and higher,
Till it welded the New World and walled out the Old.
By battalions they come,
To the snarl of the drum!
Bleeding feet that turn beautiful, printing the snow,
For roses seem blowing
Where'er they are going,
As if June with her blushes were buried below.
Hail, mighty Campaigners!
The Lord's old retainers!
Eighty winters on furlough, the tidings ye bring,
Of the old royal Georges
And the old Valley Forges,
Our cannon are telling: the People are King!
Clear and strong, far and near,
Rings a Green Mountain cheer,
And they lower their dim colors all shivered and shred,
And their swords red with rust,
And their guns gray with dust,
And then shoulder to shoulder, the Living and Dead!
The broad age is a line--
Past and present entwine--
We will finish the work that the Fathers begun;
Then those to their sleeping,
And these to their weeping,
And one faith and flag for the Federal gun!
Speak, Helmsman, the words
Half battles, half swords--
Let the “President's March” be resounding abroad;
With thy pen on the page
Keeping time with the Age,
Till thy swords without scabbards flash grandly for God!
Then the rattling roll of the musketeers,
And the ruffled drums, and the rallying cheers,
And the rifles burn with a keen desire,
Like the crackling whips of the hemlock fire,
And the singing shot, and the shrieking shell,
And the splintery fire of the shattered hell,
And the great white breaths of the cannon-smoke,
As the growling guns by batteries spoke
In syllables dropped from the thunder of God--
The throb of the cloud where the drummer-boy trod!
And the ragged gaps in the walls of blue
Where the iron surge rolled heavily through,
That the Colonel builds with a breath again,
As he cleaves the dim with his “Close up, men!”
And the groan torn out from the blackened lips,
And the prayer doled slow with the crimson drips,
And the beamy look in the dying eye,
As under the cloud the Stars go by!
But his soul marched on, the Captain said,
For the Boy in Blue can never be dead!
And the troopers sit in their saddles all,
As the statues carved in an ancient hall,
And they watch the whirl from their breathless ranks,
And their spurs are close to the horses' flanks,
And the fingers work of the sabre hand--
Oh! to bid them live, and to make them grand!
And the buglesounds to the charge at last,
And away they plunge, and the front is past,
And the jackets blue grow red as they ride,
And the scabbards, too, that clank by their side,
And the dead soldiers deaden the strokes iron shod,
As they gallop right on o'er the plashy red sod:
Right into the cloud all spectral and dim,
Right up to the guns, black throated and grim,
Right down on the hedges bordered with steel,
Right through the dense columns, then “Right about wheel!”
Hurrah! a new swath through the harvest again!
Hurrah for the Flag! To the battle, amen!
O glimpse of clear heaven!
The Fathers' old fallow God seeded with Stars--
Thy furrows were turning
When ploughshares were burning,
And the half of each “bout” is redder than Mars!
Flaunt forever thy story,
O wardrobe of glory!
Where the Fathers laid down their mantles of blue, 
And challenged the ages,
O grandest of pages!
In covenant solemn, eternal, and true.
O Flag glory-rifted!
Like a flower of strange grace on the crest of a surge,
On some Federal fold
A new tale shall be told,
And the record immortal emblazon thy verge.