Stilled his manly breast—
All unheard sweet Nature's cadence,
Trump of fame and voice of maidens,
Now he takes his rest.
Earth, that all too soon hath bound him,
Gently wrap his clay!
Linger lovingly around him,
Light of dying day!
Softly fall, ye summer showers;
Birds and bees among the flowers
Make the gloom seem gay!
There, throughout the coming ages—
When his sword is rust,
And his deeds in classic pages—
Mindful of her trust
Shall Virginia, bending lowly,
Still a ceaseless vigil holy
Keep above his dust.
For more than a quarter of a century the subject of debate, the authorship of this ballad was settled in 1891 by the poet himself, Dr. John Williamson Palmer
Through the kindness of his nieces and of Mrs. William C. Palmer
, his own words are given here:
in September, 1862, I found myself at the Glades Hotel, at Oakland, on the line of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and in that part of Allegany County, Maryland, which is now known as Garrett County.
Early on the 16th there was a roar of guns in the air, and we knew that a great battle was toward. . . . I knew that Stonewall was in it, whatever it might be; it was his way— “ Stonewall Jackson's way.”
I had twice put that phrase into my war letters, and other correspondents, finding it handy, had quoted it in theirs.
I paced the piazza and whistled a song of Oregon lumbermen and loggers that I had learned from a California adventurer in Honolulu.
The two thoughts were coupled and welded into one to make a song; and as the words gathered to the call of the tune I wrote the ballad of “Stonewall Jackson's way” with the roar of those guns in my ears.
On the morrow I added the last stanza . . . .