1. Bull Run, Sunday, July 21st.
by Alice B. Haven.We — walking so slowly adown the green lane,
With Sabbath-bells chiming, and birds singing psalms,
He — eager with haste, pressing on o'er the slain,
'Mid the trampling of steeds and the drum-beat to arms,
In that cool, dewy morning.
We — waiting with faces all reverent and still,
The organ's voice vibrant with praise unto God:
His face set like flint with the impress of will,
To press back the foe, or to die on the sod--
My fair, brave young brother!
We — kneeling to hear benedictions of love,
Our hearts all at peace with the message from Heaven!
He — stretched on the field, gasping, wounded, to prove,
If mercy were found where such courage had striven,
In the midst of the slaughter.
O God!--can I live with the horrible truth!
Stabbed through as he lay, with their glittering steel;
Could they look in that face, like a woman's for youth,
And crush out its beauty with musket and heel,
Like hounds, or like demons!
That brow I have blessed in my dead mother's place,
Each morning and evening since she went unto rest;
Smoothing down the fair check, as my own baby's face,
Those eyes with her look, where my kisses were prest,
For I saw hers — so tender!
Curses spring to my lips! Oh, my God, send the hail
Of swift ready vengeance for deeds such as this!
Forego all thy mercy, if judgment must fail!
Forgive my wild heart if it prayeth amiss--
His blood crieth upward!
“Amiss!” --and the strife of my clamorous grief
Is hushed into stillness — what grief like to thine!
If my poor human heart, with its passions so brief,
Is tortured with pangs, can we guess the Divine,
With depths past all searching!
I know eyes more tender looked upward to Thee;
That visage, so marred by the torturing crown--
Those smooth, noble limbs, racked with anguish I see;
The side where the blood and the water gushed down,
From stroke fierce and brutal.
Help lips white with anguish to take up His prayer;
Help hearts that are bursting to stifle their cries;
The shout of the populace, too, has been there,
To drown pleas for justice, to clothe truth in lies--
To enrage and to madden.
They knew not we loved them; they knew not we prayed
For their weal as our own;--“we are brethren,” we plead;
Unceasing those prayers to Our Father were made;
When they flung down the palm for palmetto, we said,
“Let us still hope to win them.”
“God so loved, that He gave!” We are giving to these
The lives that were dearer to us than our own;
Let us add prayer for blood, trusting God to appease
Our heart's craving pain, when He hears on his throne,
“Oh, Father, forgive them!”