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Our wheat-fields yellow in the sun;
When down the vale a rider flew:
“Ho! neighbors, Gettysburgh is won!
Horse and foot, at the cannon's mouth
We hurled them back to the hungry South;
The North is safe, and the vile marauder
Curses the hour he crossed the border.”
My boys were there! I nearer pressed--
“And Philip, Courtney, what of them?”
His voice dropped low: “O madam! rest
Falls sweet when battle's tide we stem:
Your Philip was first of the brave that day
With his colors grasped as in death he lay:
And Courtney-well, I only knew
Not a man was left of his rebel crew”
. . . . . .
My home is drear and still to-night,
Where Shenandoah murmuring flows;
The Blue Ridge towers in the pale moonlight,
And balmily the south wind blows;
But my fire burns dim, while athwart the wall
Black as the pines the shadows fall;
And the only friend within my door
Is the sleeping hound on the moonlit floor.
Yet still in dreams my boys I own:
They chase the deer o'er dewy hills,
Their hair by mountain winds is blown,
Their shout the echoing valley fills,
Wafts from the woodland spring sunshine
Comes as they open this door of mine;
And I hear them sing by the evening blaze
The songs they sang in the vanished days.
I cannot part their lives and say,
“This was the traitor, this the true;”
God only knows why one should stray,
And one go pure death's portals through.
They have passed from their mother's clasp and care;
But my heart ascends in the yearning prayer
That His large love will the two enfold--
My Courtney fair and my Philip bold!
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