previous next

69. Carte de Visite.

“'Twas a terrible fight,” the soldier said;
     “Our Colonel was one of the first to fall,
Shot dead on the field by a rifle-ball--
     A braver heart than his never bled.”

A group for the painter's art were they:
     The soldier with scarred and sunburnt face,
A fair-haired girl, full of youth and grace,
     And her aged mother, wrinkled and gray.

These three in porch, where the sunlight came
     Through the tangled leaves of the jasmine-vine,
Spilling itself like a golden wine,
     And flecking the doorway with rings of flame.

The soldier had stopped to rest by the way,
     For the air was sultry with summer-heat;
The road was like ashes under the feet,
     And a weary distance before him lay.

”Yes, a terrible fight; our ensign was shot
     As the order to charge was given the men,
When one from the ranks seized our colors, and then
     He, too, fell dead on the self-same spot.

”A handsome boy was this last: his hair
     Clustered in curls round his noble brow;
I can almost fancy I see him now,
     With the scarlet stain on his face so fair.“

“What was his name?--have you never heard?--
     Where was he from, this youth who fell?
And your regiment, stranger, which was it? tell!”
     “Our regiment? It was the Twenty-third.”

The color fled from the young girl's cheek,
     Leaving it as white as the face of the dead;
The mother lifted her eyes, and said:
     “Pity my daughter — in mercy speak!”

“I never knew aught of this gallant youth,”
     The soldier answered; ” not even his name,
Or from what part of our State he came:
     As God is above, I speak the truth!

”But when we buried our dead that night,
     I took from his breast this picture — see!
It is as like him as like can be:
     Hold it this way, toward the light.“

One glance, and a look, half-sad, half-wild,
     Passed over her face, which grew more pale,
Then a passionate, hopeless, heart-broken wail,
     And the mother bent low o'er the prostrate child.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Carte Visite (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: