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; 
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.