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21. the widow of Worcester County, (Edwards' Ferry.)

by S. W.
Last spring, when Frank had fed the ploughed and harrowed ground with seed,
A fearful cry tore by us with the South wind's winged speed;
But we hoped it was a nightmare, till the news was brought from town,
That the horde of Charleston traitor-knaves had shot our banner down.
In my bitter grief and anguish keen, I felt the ancient ire
Of Bunker Hill and Lexington course through my veins like fire,
Till, as lightnings cease when breaks the dark cloud's heart upon the land,
I wept when, on my thin gray locks, I felt Frank's manly hand,
And saw my grandsire's musket gleam within his clenched grip,
And read the clear and stern gray eye that chid the quivering lip;
Read that the eye would smile no more until it saw the foe,
Whilst the lips were loth to shape the words, “Dear mother, I must go.”
So I sealed them with a kiss, dried up my tears, and filled his sack,
And, at dawn, upon his home my only darling turned his back.
As he kissed my cheek at parting, he whispered in my ear,
“Do not let my Ruth forget me, though I stay away a year.”
Our garden's yield was plenteous, and the meadow filled the mow,
And Ruth came over twice a day to milk our only cow.
The rye that Frank had sown sprang up and turned from green to gold,
But a stranger's flail, within the barn, its master's absence told.
Whilst the hireling reaped the grain, I shudd'ring thought, but held my breath,
How busy in Virginia was the sickle keen of Death!
Thus the troubled summer sped, our note of time the weekly cheer
Of his letters; and we kissed them when they reckoned half a year.
Yesterday I heard our boys had crossed the broad Potomac's flow;
Ruth was reading of the streams where Babel's weeping willows grow,
When a dove perched on the line through which flash before our gate
Words of sorrow or of gladness for the people and the State., [17]
On that lightning-chord the South breeze sighed a sad Aeolian moan,
And my heart grew sick, on looking up, to see the dove had flown.
Neighbors say there's been a battle, and that we have lost again;
Was that dove my poor boy's spirit? Is his name among the slain?

New York, Oct. 26, 1861.

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