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[357]

XI.

In many a battle on the wandering wave
     The sailors whom this shaft commemorates,
Wrote high on Glory's record that the brave
     Who fall for Freedom sleep at Freedom's gates;
That after life lived free,
     Life lost for Liberty
Is God's most gracious gift that hath been or shall be.

XII.

For Freedom! aye! For Freedom! 'Twas this hope
     That sent the steady, steel-tipped line of gray
Fringed with hell's fires up the steep, slippery slope
     Of Gettysburg, on that most fateful day
That found our pathway crossed
     By an outnumbering host;—
That witnessed high hopes flown; that saw the dear Cause lost.

XIII.

Unfaltering in their grave fidelity—
     Steadfast in purpose to the bitter end,
They closed thin ranks, and set brave eyes to see
     And dauntless hearts to bear what Fate should send;
Not looking vainly back
     Along the traversed track,—
But facing War's last blast, its hurricane, and wreck.

XIV.

When came the bitter end, the bugle blew
     Its last sad note, that brought the blinding tears
Down wasted cheeks from eyes that only knew
     Honor and Death through all the weary years.
The long, hard fight was done;
     Silenced was every gun;
And what we lost, e'en now they do not dream, who won.

XV.

Let not the worth of any such be weighed
     By battles balance. They who glorified
Their righteous cause and lived, and they who made
     The sacrifice supreme, in that they died
To keep their country free,
     Alike gave men to see
What hero-hearts were theirs who thus loved Liberty!

XVI.

They did their duty in the leal fearless fashion
     Of antique knighthood's flower, each man a knight,
Careless if Death, divining peace from passion,
     Whispering should greet them in the roar of fight,
Or Life to ceaseless pain
     Should lead them forth again;
Knowing that duty done is never done in vain.


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