Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

manhood; when this war has ceased, and a hundred thousand colored men can show wounds received in heroic service, or give other evidence that they have bravely fought for our country, I will put these men before the nation, and say, “ they have given their blood to your blood; will you let them or their kind be trampled under foot

any more ?"

VIII.

VERY DARK.

Our boys died game. One was ordered to fall in rank. He answered quietly, “I will if I can. His arm hung shattered by his side, and he was bleeding to death. His last words brought tears to the eyes of all around. He murmured, “ It grows very dark, mother---- very dark.” Poor fellow, his thoughts were far away at his peaceful home in Ohio.--Cincinnati Guzette.

The crimson tide was ebbing, and the pulse grew weak and faint, But the lips of that brave soldier scorned e'en now to make complaint; "Fall in ranks ! a voice called to him,-calm and low was his reply: “Yes, if I can, I'll do it I will do it, though I die,'' And he murmured, when the life-light had died out to just a spark, " It is growing very dark, mother-growing very dark.”

[ocr errors]

There were tears in manly eyes, then, and manly heads were bowed,
Though the balls flew thick around them, and the cannons thundered loud;
They gathered round the spot where the dying soldier lay,
To catch the broken accents he was struggling then to say;
And a change came o'er the features where death had set his mark,
“ “ It is growing very dark, mother - very, very dark.”

Far away his mind had wandered, to Ohio’s hills and vales,
Where the loved ones watched and waited with that love that never fails ;
He was with them as in childhood, seated in the cottage door,
Where he watched the evening shadows slowly creeping on the floor;
Bend down closely, comrades, closely, he is speaking now, and hark!
" It is growing very dark, mother--very, very dark.”

He was dreaming of his mother, that her loving hand was pressed
On his brow for one short moment, e'er he sank away to rest;

That her lips were now imprinting a kiss upon his cheek,
And a voice he well remembered spoke so soft, and low, and meek.
Her gentle form was near him, her footsteps he could mark,
“ But 'tis growing very dark, mother-mother, very dark.”

And the eye that once had kindled, flashed forth with patriot light,
Slowly gazing, vainly strove to pierce the gathering gloom of night,
Ah! poor soldier! ah! fond mother! you are severed now for aye,
Cold and pulseless, there he lies now, where he breathed his life away.
Through this heavy cloud of sorrow shines there not one heavenly spark ?
Ah! it has grown dark, mother-very, very dark.

Gather round him, soldiers, gather, fold his hands and close his eyes,
Near another one is dying, “Rally round our flag!” he cries;
“Heaven protect it-fight on, comrades, speedily avenge our death !”
Then his voice grew low and faltering, slowly came each painful breath.
Two brave forms lay side by side there; death had loved a shining mark,
And two sad mothers say, “It has grown dark, ah! very dark.”-Z. R.

IX.

THE PLANTING OF THE APPLE-TREE.

BY W. C. BRYANT.

Come, let us plant the apple-tree!
Cleave the tough greensward with the spade;
Wide let its hollow bed be made;
There gently lay the roots, and there
Sift the dark mould with kindly care,

And press it o'er them tenderly,
As, round the sleeping infant's feet,
We softly fold the cradle-sheet :

So plant we the apple-tree.

What plant we in the apple-tree?
Buds, which the breath of summer days
Shall lengthen into leafy sprays;
Boughs, where the thrush with crimson breast
Shall haunt and sing and hide her nest.

We plant upon the sunny lea

A shadow for the noontide hour,
A shelter from the summer shower,

When we plant the apple-tree.

What plant we in the apple-tree ?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs,
To load the May-wind's restless wings,
When, from the orchard-row, he pours
Its fragrance through our open doors ;

A world of blossoms for the bee;
Flowers for the sick girl's silent room ;
For the glad infant sprigs of bloom.

We plant with the apple-tree.

What plant we in the apple-tree?
Fruits that shall swell in sunny June,
And redden in the August noon,
And drop as gentle airs come by
That fan the blue September sky;

While children, wild with noisy glee,
Shall scent their fragrance as they pass,
And search for them the tufted grass

At the foot of the apple-tree.

And when above this apple-tree
The winter stars are quivering bright,
And winds go howling through the night,
Girls, whose young eyes o’erflow with mirth,
Shall peel its fruit by cottage-hearth,

And guests in prouder homes shall see,
Heaped with the orange and the grape,
As fair as they in tint and shape,

The fruit of the apple-tree.

The fruitage of this apple-tree
Winds and our flag of stripe and star
Shall bear to coasts that lie afar,
Where men shall wonder at the view,
And ask in what fair groves they grew;

And they who roam beyond the sea
Shall look, and think of childhood's day,

And long hours passed in summer play

In the shade of the apple-tree.

Each year shall give this apple-tree
A broader flush of roseate bloom,
A deeper maze of verdurous gloom,
And loosen, when the frost-clouds lower,
The crisp brown leaves in thicker shower,

The years shall come and pass, but we
Shall hear no longer, where we lie,
The summer's song, the autumn's sigh,

In the boughs of the apple-tree.

And time shall waste this apple-tree.
Oh, when its aged branches throw
Thin shadows on the sward below,
Shall fraud and force and iron will
Oppress the weak and helpless still ?

What shall the tasks of mercy be,
Amid the toils, the strifes, the tears
Of those who live when length of years

Is wasting this apple-tree?

“Who planted this old apple-tree?"
The children of that distant day
Thus to some aged man will say;
And, gazing on its mossy stem,
The gray-haired man shall answer them:

" A poet of the land was he,
Born in the rude, but good old times;
'Tis said he made some quaint old rhymes

On planting the apple-tree.”

X.

THE UNION

D. 8. DICKINSON.- 1861.

Give up the Union ? Its name shall be heard with veneration amid the roar of Pacific's waves, away upon the rivers of the North and East, where liberty is divided from monarchy, and be wafted in gentle breezes upon the Rio Grande. It shall rustle in the harvest, and wave in the standing corn, on the extended prairies of the West, and be heard in the bleating folds and lowing herds upon a thousand hills. It shall be with those who delve in mines, and shall hum in the manufactories of New England, and in the cotton gins of the South. It shall be proclaimed by the stars and stripes in every sea of earth, as the American Union, one and indivisible; upon the great thoroughfares, wherever steam drives and engines throb and shriek, its greatness and perpetuity shall be hailed with gladness. It shall be lisped in the earliest words, and ring in the merry voices of childhood, and swell to heaven upon the song of maidens. It shall live in the stern resolve of manhood, and rise to the mercy-seat upon woman's gentle prayer. Holy men shall invoke its perpetuity at the altars of religion, and it shall be whispered in the last accents of expiring age. Thus shall survive and be perpetuated the American Union, and when it shall be proclaimed that time shall be no more, and the curtains shall fall, and the good shall be gathered to a more perfect union, still may the destiny of our dear land recognize the conception of the poet of her primitive days:

“ Perfumes as of Eden flowed sweetly along,
And a voice, as of angels, enchantingly sung,
Columbia, Columbia, to glory arise,
The queen of the world and child of the skies."

XI.

A MIRROR FOR TRAITORS.

JOSEPH HOLT. -- 1861.

Let no man imagine that, because this rebellion has been made by men renowned in our civil and military history, it is the less guilty or the less courageously to be resisted. It is precisely that class of men who have subverted the best governments that have ever existed. The purest spirits that have lived in the tide of times, the noblest institutions that have arisen to bless our race, have found among those in whom they had most confided, and whom they had most

« ElőzőTovább »