A vast and a sullen train
Going down to the gloom--
One wretched and drear refrain
The only line on their tomb--
“They died-and they died in vain!”
Gone — ah me!--to the grave,
And never one note of song!
The Muse would weep for the brave,
But how shall she chant the wrong?
For a wayward wench is she--
One that rather would wait
With Old John Brown at the tree
Than Stonewall dying in state.
When, for the wrongs that were,
Hath she lilted a single stave?
Know, proud hearts, that, with her,
'Tis not enough to be brave
By the injured, with loving glance,
Aye hath she lingered of old,
And eyed the evil askance,
Be it never so haughty and bold.
With Homer, alms gift in hand,
With Dante, exile and free,
With Milton, blind in the Strand,
With Hugo, lone by the sea!
In the attic, with Beranger,
She could carol, how blithe and free!
Of the old, worn frocks of blue,
(All threadbare with victory!1）
But never of purple and gold,
Never of lily or bee!
And thus, though the traitor sword
Were the bravest that battle wields--
Though the fiery valor poured
Its life on a thousand fields--
The sheen of its ill renown
All tarnished with guilt and blame,
No poet a deed may crown,
No lay may laurel a name.
Yet never for thee, fair song!
The fallen brave to condemn;
They died for a mighty wrong--
But their demon died with them.
(Died, by field and by city!)--
Be thine on the day to dwell,
When dews of peace and of pity
Shall fall o'er the fading hell--
And the dead shall smile in heaven--
And tears, that now may not rise,
Of love and of all forgiveness,
Shall stream from a million eyes.
Flag-ship Hartford, at sea, January, 1864.