What! shall that sudden blade Leap out no more? No more thy hand be laid Upon the sword-hilt, smiting sore? O for another such The charger's rein to clutch,— One equal voice to summon victory, Sounding thy battle-cry, Brave darling of the soldiers' choice! Would there were one more voice! O gallant charge, too bold! O fierce, imperious greed To pierce the clouds that in their darkness hold Slaughter of man and steed! Now, stark and cold, Among thy fallen braves thou liest, And even with thy blood defiest The wolfish foe: But ah, thou liest low, And all our birthday song is hushed indeed! Young lion of the plain, Thou of the tawny mane! Hotly the soldiers' heart shall beat, Their mouths thy death repeat, Their vengeance seek the trail again Where thy red doomsmen be; But on the charge no more shall stream Thy hair,—no more thy sabre gleam,— No more ring out thy battle-shout, Thy cry of victory! Not when a hero falls The sound a world appalls: For while we plant his cross There is a glory, even in the loss: But when some craven heart From honor dares to part, Then, then, the groan, the blanching cheek, And men in whispers speak, Nor kith nor country dare reclaim From the black depths his name. Thou, wild young warrior, rest, By all the prairie winds caressed! Swift was thy dying pang; Even as the war-cry rang Thy deathless spirit mounted high And sought Columbia's sky:— There, to the northward far, Shines a new star, And from it blazes down The light of thy renown!
July 10, 1876
Edmund Clarence Stedman’s other poems:
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