previous next
[504] I may be excused, if in closing I offer you one in return, in words which I heard for the first time,old as they are, around a camp-fire in the army of Northern Virginia one cold and cheerless night towards the close of 1861, from the lips of a gallant infantry officer now “dead on the field of glory.” They will not be on this account the less appropriate to this occasion:
When the black-lettered list to the gods was presented,
     The list of what Fate for each mortal intends;
At the long string of ills a kind goddess relented,
     And slipped in three blessings-wife, children and friends.

In vain surly Pluto maintained he was cheated,
     For justice divine could not compass its ends,
The scheme of man's penance he swore was defeated,
     Since earth becomes heaven with wife, children and friends.

If the stock of our bliss is in stranger hands vested,
     The fund ill secured oft in bankruptcy ends--
But the heart issues bills which are never protested,
     When drawn on the firm of wife, children and friends.

Though valor still burns in his life's dying embers,
     The death-wounded tar who his colors defends,
Drops a tear of regret as he dying remembers
     How blessed was his home with wife, children and friends.

The soldier, whose deeds live immortal in story,
     Whom duty to far distant latitudes sends,
With transport would barter whole ages of glory
     For one happy day with wife, children and friends.

The spring-time of youth, still unclouded by sorrow,
     Alone on itself for enjoyment depends,
But drear is the twilight of age if it borrow
     No warmth from the smile of wife, children and friends.

Let us drink, for my verse growing colder and colder,
     To subjects too solemn insensibly tends.
Let us drink, pledge me high, love and virtue shall flavor
     The glass which I fill to wife, children and friends.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Pluto (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1861 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: