Just as the spring came laughing through the strife,
With all its gorgeous cheer,
In the bright April of historic life
Fell the great cannoneer.
The wondrous lulling of a hero's breath
His bleeding country weeps;
Hushed, in the alabaster arms of Death,
Our young Marcellus sleeps.
Nobler and grander than the child of Rome,
Curbing his chariot steeds,
The knightly scion of a Southern home
Dazzled the land with deeds.
Gentlest and bravest in the battle's brunt—
The Champion of the Truth—
He bore his banner in the very front
Of our immortal youth.
A clang of sabres 'mid Virginian snow,
The fiery pang of shells—
And there's a wail of immemorial woe
In Alabama dells.
The pennon droops that led the sacred band
Along the crimson field;
The meteor blade sinks from the nerveless hand
Over the spotless shield.
We gazed and gazed upon that beauteous face,
While, round the lips and eyes,
Couched in their marble slumber, flashed the grace
Of a divine surprise.