15. the Volunteer's burial.
by Park Benjamin.'Tis eve; one brightly beaming star
Shines from the eastern heaven afar,
To light the footsteps of the brave,
Slow marching to a comrade's grave.
The northern wind has sunk to sleep;
The sweet South breathes, as, low and deep,
The martial clang is heard, the tread
Of those who bear the silent dead.
And whose the form, all stark and cold,
Thus ready for the loosened mould,
And stretched upon so rude a bier?
Thine, soldier, thine! the Volunteer.
Poor Volunteer! the shot, the blow,
Or swift disease hath laid him low;
And few his early loss deplore--
His battle fought, his journey o'er.
Alas! no wife's fond arms caressed.
His cheek no tender mother pressed,
No pitying soul was by his side,
As lonely in his tent he died.
He died — the Volunteer — at noon;
At evening came the small platoon
That soon will leave him to his rest,
With sods upon his manly breast.
Hark to their fire! his only knell--
More solemn than the passing bell;
For, ah! it tells a spirit flown,
Unshriven, to the dark unknown.
His deeds and fate shall fade away,
Forgotten since his dying day,
And never on the roll of Fame
Shall be inscribed his humble name.
Alas! like him, how many more
Lie cold upon Potomac's shore!
How many green unnoted graves
Are bordered by those placid waves!
Sleep, soldier, sleep! from sorrow free,
And sin and strife. 'Tis well with thee.
'Tis well: though not a single tear
Laments the buried Volunteer!