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76. Suspiria Ensis.

Mourn no more for our dead,
     Laid in their rest serene--
With the tears a land hath shed,
     Their graves shall ever be green.

Ever their fair, true glory
     Fondly shall fame rehearse--
Light of legend and story,
     Flower of marble and verse!

(Wilt thou forget, O mother!
     How thy darlings, day by day,
For thee, and with fearless faces,
     Journeyed the darksome way--
Went down to death in the war-ship,
     And on the bare hill-side lay?)

For the giver they gave their breath,
     And 'tis now no time to mourn--
Lo, of their dear, brave death
     A mighty Nation is born!

But a long lament for others,
     Dying for darker powers!
Those that once were our brothers,
     Whose children shall yet be ours.

That a people, haughty and brave,
     (Warriors old and young!)
Should lie in a bloody grave,
     And never a dirge be sung!

We may look with woe on the dead,
     We may smooth their lids, 'tis true,
For the veils of a common red,
     And the mother's milk we drew.

But alas! how vainly bleeds
     The breast that is bared for crime!
Who shall dare hymn the deeds
     That else had been all sublime?

Were it alien steel that clashed,
     They had guarded each inch of sod--
But the angry valor dashed
     On the awful shield of God!

(Ah! if for some great good--
     On some giant evil hurled--
The thirty millions had stood
     'Gainst the might of a banded world!)

But now, to the long, long night
     They pass, as they ne'er had been--
A stranger and sadder sight
     Than ever the sun hath seen.

[64] For his waning beams illume
     A vast and a sullen train
Going down to the gloom--
     One wretched and drear refrain
The only line on their tomb--
     “They died-and they died in vain!”

Gone — ah me!--to the grave,
     And never one note of song!
The Muse would weep for the brave,
     But how shall she chant the wrong?

For a wayward wench is she--
     One that rather would wait
With Old John Brown at the tree
     Than Stonewall dying in state.

When, for the wrongs that were,
     Hath she lilted a single stave?
Know, proud hearts, that, with her,
     'Tis not enough to be brave

By the injured, with loving glance,
     Aye hath she lingered of old,
And eyed the evil askance,
     Be it never so haughty and bold.

With Homer, alms gift in hand,
     With Dante, exile and free,
With Milton, blind in the Strand,
     With Hugo, lone by the sea!

In the attic, with Beranger,
     She could carol, how blithe and free!
Of the old, worn frocks of blue,
     (All threadbare with victory!1
But never of purple and gold,
     Never of lily or bee!

And thus, though the traitor sword
     Were the bravest that battle wields--
Though the fiery valor poured
     Its life on a thousand fields--

The sheen of its ill renown
     All tarnished with guilt and blame,
No poet a deed may crown,
     No lay may laurel a name.

Yet never for thee, fair song!
     The fallen brave to condemn;
They died for a mighty wrong--
     But their demon died with them.

(Died, by field and by city!)--
     Be thine on the day to dwell,
When dews of peace and of pity
     Shall fall o'er the fading hell--

And the dead shall smile in heaven--
     And tears, that now may not rise,
Of love and of all forgiveness,
     Shall stream from a million eyes.

U. S. N.
Flag-ship Hartford, at sea, January, 1864.

1 “Des habits bleus par la victoire uses.”

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