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[238] would linger in the hearts of all present. The following was the poem:

The birthday of Lee.

Mary Ashley Townsend
What singer's song,
     However bravely he might sing,
To this proud hour and day could bring
     Meed justly strong?
For chaplet worth the hero's brows,
     His spirit's supreme dower,
Among the gardens of the earth
     Where grows the fitting flower?

No trumpets thrall
     The ear with southern battle odes,
No tramp of steeds the green turf goads,
     No bugles call.
Is heard no tramp of armed men,
     No blades nor bayonets gleam,
No sentry guards a tented plain
     By Rappahannock's stream.

No war flags stir
     In old Virginia's mountain breeze,
No shot and shell the silence tease,
     No drums demur!
There, nature kind, builds up anew,
     Where cannon gored the sod,
And scatters flowers to shield the scars
     Where trampling armies trod.

No camp fires burn—
     No sunrise gun is heard at morn—
Where battle raged, now waves the corn
     Or ploughshares turn.
Nature is brave—in vain regret
     No weed nor blossom lives.
That which she never can forget
     She tenderly forgives!


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