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17. the steamer Connecticut Carrying a regiment through the Highlands.

by A. L.
Down through our bright mountain passes
     The Northern wind faintly brings
A sound that is sweet and thrilling,
     And full of unuttered things:
It's the brazen clangor of trumpets,
     And the measured notes of the drum,
And cymbals, and fife, and cornet,
     As onward the volunteers come.
There's a “Hail to Columbia” breaking
     The murmur of woods and rills;
And Washington's march is sounding
     With its war-tramp among the hills.

So nearer, and ever nearer,--
     And we gather around the door,
And stand there in deep heart-silence,
     As many a time before.
Our eyes take but grave, brief notice,
     Of the brightness of earth and sky,--
There's a more soul-rousing glory
     In that dark spot passing by.
There are young lives freely offered,
     And prospects and hopes laid down;
There are fair heads bared to the death-blow,
     Or marked for the victor's crown.

See where, on their mighty transport,
     The volunteers crowd the decks,
Their black soldier-caps, in the distance,
     Diminished to tiny specks.
A vision of blue hides the steamer,
     All over, as with a haze;
But a heavier veil, like to rain-drops,
     Comes over my sight as I gaze.
Do they know, these volunteer soldiers,
     As down our broad river they glide,
What sort of a welcome awaits them,
     Deep hid in the woods on each side?

They know that the hills are in glory,
     They can see how the blue waters roll,--
Do they feel the low prayers ascending
     From the depth of each woman's soul?
They can see that the sky is its clearest,
     That the sun has its brightest glow; [15]
That the Stars and Stripes flutter before them,
     In triumph, wherever they go:
Do they know how the hearts are throbbing,
     Do they know how the eyes are wet
With a deep, high, grief and gladness,
     At this part of the Nation's debt?

Ah me! I am only a woman,--
     Not even my voice is strong
To give them a rousing welcome--
     A cheer as they pass along.
But hark! how the men are cheering,
     All down along the shore;
And the crews of the passing vessels
     Give out another roar;
And once more the echoes waken,
     As the blue-coats answer back,--
And the steamer is round the headland,
     And the waters close over her track.

October, 1861.

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