Now five and twenty years are gone, and lo, to-day they come,
The Blue and Gray in proud array with throbbing fife and drum;
But not as rivals, not as foes, as brothers reconciled,
To twine love's fragrant roses where the thorns of hate grew wild.
They tell the hero of three wars, the lion-hearted man,
Who wore his valor like a star—uncrowned American;
Above his heart serene and still the folded Stars and Bars,
Above his head, like mother-wings, the sheltering Stripes and Stars.
Aye, five and twenty years, and lo, the manhood of the South
Has held its valor stanch and strong as at the cannon's mouth,
With patient heart and silent tongue has kept its true parole,
And in the conquests born of peace has crowned its battle roll.
But ever while we sing of war, of courage tried and true,
Of heroes wed to gallant deeds, or be it Gray or Blue,
Then Albert Sidney Johnston's name shall flash before our sight
Like some resplendent meteor across the sombre night.
America, thy sons are knit with sinews wrought of steel,
They will not bend, they will not break, beneath the tyrant's heel;
But in the white-hot flame of love, to silken cobwebs spun,
They whirl the engines of the world, all keeping time as one.
To-day they stand abreast and strong, who stood as foes of yore,
The world leaps up to bless their feet, heaven scatters blessings o'er;
Their robes are wrought of gleaming gold, their wings are freedom's own,
The trampling of their conquering hosts shakes pinnacle and throne.
Oh, veterans of the Blue and Gray, who fought on Shiloh field,
The purposes of God are true, His judgment stands revealed;
The pangs of war have rent the veil, and lo, His high decree:
One heart, one hope, one destiny, one flag from sea to sea.
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