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31. Lyon.

Sing, bird, on green Missouri's plain,
     The saddest song of sorrow;
Drop tears, 0 clouds, in gentlest rain
     Ye from the winds can borrow;
Breath out, ye winds, your softest sigh,
     Weep, flowers, in dewy splendor,
For him who knew well how to die,
     But never to surrender.

Up rose serene the August sun,
     Upon that day of glory;
Up curled from musket and from gun
     The war-cloud gray and hoary;
It gathered like a funeral pall,
     Now broken and now blended,
Where rang the bugle's angry call,
     And rank with rank contended.

Four thousand men, as brave and true
     As e'er went forth in daring,
Upon the foe that morning threw
     The strength of their despairing.
They feared not death — men bless the field
     That patriot soldiers die on--
Fair Freedom's cause was sword and shield,
     And at their head was Lyon.

Their leader's troubled soul looked forth
     From eyes of troubled brightness;
Sad soul! the burden of the North
     Had pressed out all its lightness. [21]
He gazed upon the unequal fight,
     His ranks all rent and gory,
And felt the shadows close like night
     Round his career of glory.

“General, come lead us!” loud the cry
     From a brave band was ringing--
“Lead us, and we will stop, or die,
     That battery's awful singing.”
He spurred to where his heroes stood,
     Twice wounded — no one knowing--
The fire of battle in his blood
     And on his forehead glowing.

Oh! cursed for aye that traitor's hand,
     And cursed that aim so deadly,
Which smote the bravest of the land,
     And dyed his bosom redly!
Serene he lay, while past him pressed
     The battle's furious billow,
As calmly as a babe may rest
     Upon its mother's pillow.

So Lyon died! and well may flowers
     His place of burial cover,
For never had this land of ours
     A more devoted lover.
Living, his country was his bride,
     His life he gave her, dying,
Life, fortune, love, he nought denied,
     To her and to her sighing.

Rest, patriot, in thy hillside grave,
     Beside her form who bore thee!
Long may the land thou diedst to save
     Her bannered stars wave o'er thee!
Upon her history's brightest page,
     And on fame's glowing portal,
She'll write thy grand, heroic page,
     And grave thy name immortal.

H. P.

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