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The men who here in harness died
Fell not in vain, though in defeat.
They by their end well fortified
The Cause, and built retreat
(With memory of their valor tried)
For emulous hearts in many an after fray—
Hearts sore beset, which died at bay.




Let none misgive we died amiss
When here we strove in furious fight:
Furious it was; nathless was this
Better than tranquil plight,
And tame surrender of the Cause
Hallowed by hearts and by the laws.
We here who warred for Man and Right,
The choice of warring never laid with us.
There we were ruled by the traitor's choice,
Nor long we stood to trim and poise,
But marched, and fell—victorious!



No shame they take for dark defeat
While prizing yet each victory won,
Who fight for the Right through all retreat,
Nor pause until their work is done.
The Cape-of-Storms is proof to every throe;
Vainly against that foreland beat
Wild winds aloft and wilder waves below:
The black cliffs gleam through rents in sleet
When the livid Antarctic storm-clouds glow.




Afar they fell. It was the zone
Of fig and orange, cane and lime
(A land how all unlike their own,
With the cold pine-grove overgrown),
But still their Country's clime.
And there in youth they died for her—
The Volunteers,
For her went up their dying prayers:
So vast the Nation, yet so strong the tie.
What doubt shall come, then, to deter
The Republic's earnest faith and courage high.


When Sunday tidings from the front
Made pale the priest and people,
And heavily the blessing went,
And bells were dumb in the steeple;
The Soldier's widow (summering sweetly here,
In shade by waving beeches lent)
Felt deep at heart her faith content,
And priest and people borrowed of her cheer.




To them who crossed the flood
And climbed the hill, with eyes
Upon the heavenly flag intent,
And through the deathful tumult went
Even unto death: to them this Stone—
Erect, where they were overthrown—
Of more than victory the monument.


The grass shall never forget this grave.
When homeward footing it in the sun
After the weary ride by rail,
The stripling soldiers passed her door,
Wounded perchance, or wan and pale,
She left her household work undone—
Duly the wayside table spread,
With evergreens shaded, to regale
Each travel-spent and grateful one.
So warm her heart—childless—unwed,
Who like a mother comforted.


Happy are they and charmed in life
Who through long wars arrive unscarred
At peace. To such the wreath be given,
If they unfalteringly have striven—
In honor, as in limb, unmarred.


Let cheerful praise be rife,
And let them live their years at ease,
Musing on brothers who victorious died—
Loved mates whose memory shall ever please.
And yet mischance is honorable too—
Seeming defeat in conflict justified
Whose end to closing eyes is hid from view.
The will, that never can relent—
The aim, survivor of the bafflement,
Make this memorial due.



Silence and Solitude may hint
(Whose home is in yon piny wood)
What I, though tableted, could never tell—
The din which here befell,
And striving of the multitude.
The iron cones and spheres of death
Set round me in their rust,
These, too, if just,
Shall speak with more than animated breath.
Thou who beholdest, if thy thought,
Not narrowed down to personal cheer,
Take in the import of the quiet here—
The after-quiet—the calm full fraught;
Thou too wilt silent stand—
Silent as I, and lonesome as the land.




They said that Fame her clarion dropped
Because great deeds were done no more—
That even Duty knew no shining ends,
And Glory—'twas a fallen star!
But battle can heroes and bards restore.
Nay, look at Kenesaw:
Perils the mailed ones never knew
Are lightly braved by the ragged coats of blue,
And gentler hearts are bared to deadlier war.


Beauty and youth, with manners sweet, and friends—
Gold, yet a mind not unenriched had he
Whom here low violets veil from eyes.
But all these gifts transcended be:
His happier fortune in this mound you see.



When, after storms that woodlands rue,
To valleys comes atoning dawn,
The robins blithe their orchard-sports renew;
And meadow-larks, no more withdrawn,
Caroling fly in the languid blue;


The while, from many a hid recess,
Alert to partake the blessedness,
The pouring mites their airy dance pursue.
So, after ocean's ghastly gales,
When laughing light of hoyden morning breaks,
Every finny hider wakes—
From vaults profound swims up with glittering scales;
Through the delightsome sea he sails,
With shoals of shining tiny things
Frolic on every wave that flings
Against the prow its showery spray;
All creatures joying in the morn,
Save them forever from joyance torn,
Whose bark was lost where now the dolphins play;
Save them that by the fabled shore,
Down the pale stream are washed away,
Far to the reef of bones are borne;
And never revisits them the light,
Nor sight of long-sought land and pilot more;
Nor heed they now the lone bird's flight
Round the lone spar where mid-sea surges pour.



No trophy this—a Stone unhewn,
And stands where here the field immures
The nameless brave whose palms are won.
Outcast they sleep; yet fame is nigh—
Pure fame of deeds, not doers;


Nor deeds of men who bleeding die
In cheer of hymns that round them float:
In happy dreams such close the eye.
But withering famine slowly wore,
And slowly fell disease did gloat.
Even Nature's self did aid deny;
In horror they choked the pensive sigh.
Yea, off from home sad Memory bore
(Though anguished Yearning heaved that way),
Lest wreck of reason might befall.
As men in gales shun the lee shore,
Though there the homestead be, and call,
And thitherward winds and waters sway—
As such lorn mariners, so fared they.
But naught shall now their peace molest.
Their fame is this: they did endure—
Endure, when fortitude was vain
To kindle any approving strain
Which they might hear. To these who rest,
This healing sleep alone was sure.


Sailors there are of gentlest breed,
Yet strong, like every goodly thing;
The discipline of arms refines,
And the wave gives tempering.
The damasked blade its beam can fling;
It lends the last grave grace:


The hawk, the hound, and sworded nobleman
In Titian's picture for a king,
Are of hunter or warrior race.
In social halls a favored guest
In years that follow victory won,
How sweet to feel your festal fame
In woman's glance instinctive thrown:
Repose is yours—your deed is known,
It musks the amber wine;
It lives, and sheds a light from storied days
Rich as October sunsets brown,
Which make the barren place to shine.
But seldom the laurel wreath is seen
Unmixed with pensive pansies dark;
There's a light and a shadow on every man
Who at last attains his lifted mark—
Nursing through night the ethereal spark.
Elate he never can be;
He feels that spirit which glad had hailed his worth,
Sleep in oblivion.—The shark
Glides white through the phosphorus sea.



These flags of armies overthrown—
Flags fallen beneath the sovereign one
In end foredoomed which closes war;


We here, the captors, lay before
The altar which of right claims all—
Our Country. And as freely we,
Revering ever her sacred call,
Could lay our lives down—though life be
Thrice loved and precious to the sense
Of such as reap the recompense
Of life imperiled for just cause—
Imperiled, and yet preserved;
While comrades, whom Duty as strongly nerved,
Whose wives were all as dear, lie low.
But these flags given, glad we go
To waiting homes with vindicated laws.


Over this hearth—my father's seat—
Repose, to patriot-memory dear,
Thou tried companion, whom at last I greet
By steepy banks of Hudson here.
How oft I told thee of this scene—
The Highlands blue—the river's narrowing sheen.
Little at Gettysburg we thought
To find such haven; but God kept it green.
Long rest! with belt, and bayonet, and canteen.



The cavalry-camp lies on the slope
Of what was late a vernal hill,
But now like a pavement bare—
An outpost in the perilous wilds
Which ever are lone and still;
But Mosby's men are there—
Of Mosby best beware.
Great trees the troopers felled, and leaned
In antlered walls about their tents;
Strict watch they kept; 'twas Hark! and Mark!
Unarmed none cared to stir abroad
For berries beyond their forest-fence:
As glides in seas the shark,
Rides Mosby through green dark.
All spake of him, but few had seen
Except the maimed ones or the low;
Yet rumor made him every thing—
A farmer—woodman—refugee—
The man who crossed the field but now;
A spell about his life did cling—
Who to the ground shall Mosby bring?
The morning-bugles lonely play,
Lonely the evening-bugle calls—
Unanswered voices in the wild;
The settled hush of birds in nest
Becharms, and all the wood enthralls:
Memory's self is so beguiled
That Mosby seems a satyr's child.


They lived as in the Eerie Land—
The fire-flies showed with fairy gleam;
And yet from pine-tops one might ken
The Capitol Dome—hazy—sublime—
A vision breaking on a dream:
So strange it was that Mosby's men
Should dare to prowl where the Dome was seen.
A ride toward Aldie broke the spell.—
The Leader lies before his tent
Gazing at heaven's all-cheering lamp
Through blandness of a morning rare;
His thoughts on bitter-sweets are bent:
His sunny bride is in the camp—
But Mosby—graves are beds of damp!
The trumpet calls; he goes within;
But none the prayer and sob may know:
Her hero he, but bridegroom too.
Ah, love in a tent is a queenly thing,
And fame, be sure, refines the vow;
But fame fond wives have lived to rue,
And Mosby's men fell deeds can do.
Tan-tara! tan-tara! tan-tara!
Mounted and armed he sits a king;
For pride she smiles if now she peep—
Elate he rides at the head of his men;
He is young, and command is a boyish thing:
They file out into the forest deep—
Do Mosby and his rangers sleep?


The sun is gold, and the world is green,
Opal the vapors of morning roll;
The champing horses lightly prance—
Full of caprice, and the riders too
Curving in many a caricole.
But marshaled soon, by fours advance—
Mosby had checked that airy dance.
By the hospital-tent the cripples stand—
Bandage, and crutch, and cane, and sling,
And palely eye the brave array;
The froth of the cup is gone for them
(Caw! caw! the crows through the blueness wing):
Yet these were late as bold, as gay;
But Mosby—a clip, and grass is hay.
How strong they feel on their horses free,
Tingles the tendoned thigh with life;
Their calvary jackets make boys of all—
With golden breasts like the oriole;
The chat, the jest, and laugh are rife.
But word is passed from the front—a call
For order; the wood is Mosby's hall.
To which behest one rider sly
(Spurred, but unarmed) gave little heed—
Of dexterous fun not slow or spare,
He teased his neighbors of touchy mood,
Into plungings he pricked his steed:
A black-eyed man on a coal-black mare,
Alive as Mosby in mountain air.


His limbs were long, and large, and round;
He whispered, winked—did all but shout:
A healthy man for the sick to view;
The taste in his mouth was sweet at morn;
Little of care he cared about.
And yet of pains and pangs he knew—
In others, maimed by Mosby's crew.
The Hospital Steward—even he
(Sacred in person as a priest),
And on his coat-sleeve broidered nice
Wore the caduceus, black and green.
No wonder he sat so light on his beast;
This cheery man in suit of price
Not even Mosby dared to slice.
They pass the picket by the pine
And hollow log—a dreary place;
His horse adroop, and pistol clean;
'Tis cocked—kept leveled toward the wood;
Strained vigilance ages his childish face.
Since midnight has that stripling been
Peering for Mosby through the green.
Splashing they cross the freshet-flood,
And up the muddy bank they strain;
A horse at a spectral white-ash shies—
One of the span of the ambulance,
Black as a hearse. They give the rein:
Silent speed on a scout were wise,
Could cunning baffle Mosby's spies.


Rumor had come that a band was lodged
In green retreats of hills that peer
By Aldie (famed for the swordless charge).
Much store they'd heaped of captured arms
And, peradventure, pilfered cheer;
For Mosby's lads oft hearts enlarge
In revelry by some gorge's marge.
“Don't let your sabres rattle and ring;
To his oat-bag let each man give heed—
There now, that fellow's bag's untied,
Sowing the road with the precious grain.
Your carbines swing at hand—you need!
Look to yourselves, and your nags beside,
Men who after Mosby ride.”
Picked lads and keen went sharp before—
A guard, though scarce against surprise;
And rearmost rode an answering troop,
But flankers none to right or left.
No bugle peals, no pennon flies:
Silent they sweep, and fain would swoop
On Mosby with an Indian whoop.
On, right on through the forest land,
Nor man, nor maid, nor child was seen—
Not even a dog. The air was still;
The blackened hut they turned to see,
And spied charred benches on the green;
A squirrel sprang from the rotting mill
Whence Mosby sallied late, brave blood to spill.


By worn-out fields they cantered on—
Drear fields amid the woodlands wide;
By cross-roads of some olden time,
In which grew groves; by gate-stones down—
Grassed ruins of secluded pride:
A spell-bound land, long past the prime,
Fit land for Mosby or for crime.
The brook in the dell they pass. One peers
Between the leaves: “Ay, there's the place—
There, on the oozy ledge—'twas there
We found the body (Blake's, you know);
Such whirlings, gurglings round the face—
Shot drinking! Well, in war all's fair—
So Mosby says. The bough—take care!”
Hard by, a chapel. Flower-pot mould
Danked and decayed the shaded roof;
The porch was punk; the clapboards spanned
With ruffled lichens gray or green;
Red coral-moss was not aloof;
And mid dry leaves green dead-man's-hand
Groped toward that chapel in Mosby-land.
The road they leave and take the wood,
And mark the trace of ridges there—
A wood where once had slept the farm—
A wood where once tobacco grew
Drowsily in the hazy air,
And wrought in all kind things a calm—
Such influence, Mosby! bids disarm.


To ease even yet the place did woo—
To ease which pines unstirring share,
For ease the weary horses sighed:
Halting, and slackening girths, they feed,
Their pipes they light, they loiter there;
Then up, and urging still the Guide,
On, and after Mosby ride.
This Guide in frowzy coat of brown,
And beard of ancient growth and mould,
Bestrode a bony steed and strong,
As suited well with bulk he bore—
A wheezy man with depth of hold
Who jouncing went. A staff he swung—
A wight whom Mosby's wasp had stung.
Burnt out and homeless—hunted long!
That wheeze he caught in autumn-wood
Crouching (a fat man) for his life,
And spied his lean son 'mong the crew
That probed the covert. Ah! black blood
Was his 'gainst even child and wife—
Fast friends to Mosby. Such the strife.
A lad, unhorsed by sliding girths,
Strains hard to readjust his seat
Ere the main body show the gap
'Twixt them and the rear-guard; scrub-oaks near
He sidelong eyes, while hands move fleet;
Then mounts and spurs. One drops his cap—
“Let Mosby find!” nor heeds mishap.


A gable time-stained peeps through trees:
“You mind the fight in the haunted house?
That's it; we clenched them in the room—
An ambuscade of ghosts, we deemed,
But proved sly rebels on a bouse!
Luke lies in the yard.” The chimneys loom:
Some muse on Mosby—some on doom.
Less nimbly now through brakes they wind,
And ford wild creeks where men have drowned;
The pool they skirt, avoid the fen,
And so till night, when down they lie,
Their steeds still saddled, in wooded ground:
Rein in hand they slumber then,
Dreaming of Mosby's cedarn den.
But Colonel and Major friendly sat
Where boughs deformed low made a seat.
The Young Man talked (all sworded and spurred)
Of the partisan's blade he longed to win,
And frays in which he meant to beat.
The grizzled Major smoked, and heard:
“But what's what—Mosby?” “No, a bird.”
A contrast here like sire and son,
Hope and Experience sage did meet;
The Youth was brave, the Senior too;
But through the Seven Days one had served,
And gasped with the rear-guard in retreat:
So he smoked and smoked, and the wreath he blew—
“Any sure news of Mosby's crew?”


He smoked and smoked, eyeing the while
A huge tree hydra-like in growth—
Moon-tinged—with crook'd boughs rent or lopped—
Itself a haggard forest. “Come!”
The Colonel cried, “to talk you're loath;
D'ye hear? I say he must be stopped,
This Mosby—caged, and hair close cropped.”
“Of course; but what's that dangling there?”
“Where?” “From the tree—that gallows-bough;”
“A bit of frayed bark, is it not?”
“Ay—or a rope; did we hang last?—
Don't like my neckerchief any how;”
He loosened it: “O ay, we'll stop
This Mosby—but that vile jerk and drop!”
By peep of light they feed and ride,
Gaining a grove's green edge at morn,
And mark the Aldie hills uprear
And five gigantic horsemen carved
Clear-cut against the sky withdrawn;
Are more behind? an open snare?
Or Mosby's men but watchmen there?
The ravaged land was miles behind,
And Loudon spread her landscape rare;
Orchards in pleasant lowlands stood,
Cows were feeding, a cock loud crew,
But not a friend at need was there;
The valley-folk were only good
To Mosby and his wandering brood.


What best to do? what mean yon men?
Colonel and Guide their minds compare;
Be sure some looked their Leader through;
Dismounted, on his sword he leaned
As one who feigns an easy air;
And yet perplexed he was they knew—
Perplexed by Mosby's mountain-crew.
The Major hemmed as he would speak,
But checked himself, and left the ring
Of cavalrymen about their Chief—
Young courtiers mute who paid their court
By looking with confidence on their king;
They knew him brave, foresaw no grief—
But Mosby—the time for thought is brief.
The Surgeon (sashed in sacred green)
Was glad 'twas not for him to say
What next should be; if a trooper bleeds,
Why he will do his best, as wont,
And his partner in black will aid and pray;
But judgment bides with him who leads,
And Mosby many a problem breeds.
This Surgeon was the kindliest man
That ever a callous trade professed;
He felt for him, that Leader young,
And offered medicine from his flask:
The Colonel took it with marvelous zest.
For such fine medicine good and strong,
Oft Mosby and his foresters long.


A charm of proof. “Ho, Major, come—
Pounce on yon men! Take half your troop,
Through the thickets wind—pray speedy be—
And gain their rear. And, Captain Morn,
Picket these roads—all travelers stop;
The rest to the edge of this crest with me,
That Mosby and his scouts may see.”
Commanded and done. Ere the sun stood steep,
Back came the Blues, with a troop of Grays,
Ten riding double—luckless ten!—
Five horses gone, and looped hats lost,
And love-locks dancing in a maze—
Certes, but sophomores from the glen
Of Mosby—not his veteran men.
“Colonel,” said the Major, touching his cap,
“We've had our ride, and here they are.”
“Well done! how many found you there?”
“As many as I bring you here.”
“And no one hurt?” “There'll be no scar—
One fool was battered.” “Find their lair?”
“Why, Mosby's brood camp every where.”
He sighed, and slid down from his horse,
And limping went to a spring-head nigh.
“Why, bless me, Major, not hurt, I hope?”
“Battered my knee against a bar
When the rush was made; all right by-and-by.—
Halloa! they gave you too much rope—
Go back to Mosby, eh? elope?”


Just by the low-hanging skirt of wood
The guard, remiss, had given a chance
For a sudden sally into the cover—
But foiled the intent, nor fired a shot,
Though the issue was a deadly trance;
For, hurled 'gainst an oak that humped low over,
Mosby's man fell, pale as a lover.
They pulled some grass his head to ease
(Lined with blue shreds a ground-nest stirred).
The Surgeon came—“Here's a to-do!”
“Ah!” cried the Major, darting a glance,
“This fellow's the one that fired and spurred
Down hill, but met reserves below—
My boys, not Mosby's—so we go!”
The Surgeon—bluff, red, goodly man—
Kneeled by the hurt one; like a bee
He toiled. The pale young Chaplain too—
(Who went to the wars for cure of souls,
And his own student-ailments)—he
Bent over likewise; spite the two
Mosby's poor man more pallid grew.
Meanwhile the mounted captives near
Jested; and yet they anxious showed;
Virginians; some of family-pride,
And young, and full of fire, and fine
In open feature and cheek that glowed;
And here thralled vagabonds now they ride—
But list! one speaks for Mosby's side.


“Why, three to one—your horses strong—
Revolvers, rifles, and a surprise—
Surrender we account no shame!
We live, are gay, and life is hope;
We'll fight again when fight is wise.
There are plenty more from where we came;
But go find Mosby—start the game!”
Yet one there was who looked but glum;
In middle-age, a father he,
And this his first experience too:
“They shot at my heart when my hands were up—
This fighting's crazy work, I see!”
But noon is high; what next to do?
The woods are mute, and Mosby is the foe.
“Save what we've got,” the Major said;
“Bad plan to make a scout too long;
The tide may turn, and drag them back,
And more beside. These rides I've been,
And every time a mine was sprung.
To rescue, mind, they won't be slack—
Look out for Mosby's rifle-crack.”
“We welcome it! give crack for crack!
Peril, old lad, is what I seek.”
“O then, there's plenty to be had—
By all means on, and have our fill!”
With that, grotesque, he writhed his neck,
Showing a scar by buck-shot made—
Kind Mosby's Christmas gift, he said.


“But, Colonel, my prisoners—let a guard
Make sure of them, and lead to camp.
That done, we're free for a dark-room fight
If so you say.” The other laughed;
“Trust me, Major, nor throw a damp.
But first to try a little sleight—
Sure news of Mosby would suit me quite.”
Herewith he turned—“Reb, have a dram?”
Holding the Surgeon's flask with a smile
To a young scapegrace from the glen.
“Oh yes!” he eagerly replied,
“And thank you, Colonel, but—any guile?
For if you think we'll blab—why, then
You don't know Mosby or his men.”
The Leader's genial air relaxed.
“Best give it up,” a whisperer said.
“By heaven, I'll range their rebel den!”
“They'll treat you well,” the captive cried;
“They're all like us—handsome—well-bred;
In wood or town, with sword or pen,
Polite is Mosby, bland his men.”
“Where were you, lads, last night?—come, tell!”
“We?—at a wedding in the Vale—
The bridegroom our comrade; by his side
Belisent, my cousin—O, so proud
Of her young love with old wounds pale—
A Virginian girl! God bless her pride—
Of a crippled Mosby-man the bride!”


“Four walls shall mend that saucy mood,
And moping prisons tame him down,”
Said Captain Cloud. “God help that day,”
Cried Captain Morn, “and he so young.
But hark, he sings—a madcap one!”
“O, we multiply merrily in the May,
The birds and Mosby's men, they say!”
While echoes ran, a wagon old,
Under stout guard of Corporal Chew
Came up; a lame horse, dingy white,
With clouted harness; ropes in hand,
Cringed the humped driver, black in hue;
By him (for Mosby's band a sight)
A sister-rebel sat, her veil held tight.
“I picked them up,” the Corporal said,
“Crunching their way over stick and root,
Through yonder wood. The man here—Cuff—
Says they are going to Leesburg town.”
The Colonel's eye took in the group;
The veiled one's hand he spied—enough!
Not Mosby's. Spite the gown's poor stuff,
Off went his hat: “Lady, fear not;
We soldiers do what we deplore—
I must detain you till we march.”
The stranger nodded. Nettled now,
He grew politer than before:—
“'Tis Mosby's fault, this halt and search:”
The lady stiffened in her starch.


“My duty, madam, bids me now
Ask what may seem a little rude.
Pardon—that veil—withdraw it, please
(Corporal! make every man fall back);
Pray, now, I do but what I should;
Bethink you, 'tis in masks like these
That Mosby haunts the villages.”
Slowly the stranger drew her veil,
And looked the Soldier in the eye—
A glance of mingled foul and fair;
Sad patience in a proud disdain,
And more than quietude. A sigh
She heaved, as if all unaware,
And far seemed Mosby from her care.
She came from Yewton Place, her home,
So ravaged by the war's wild play—
Campings, and foragings, and fires—
That now she sought an aunt's abode.
Her kinsmen? In Lee's army, they.
The black? A servant, late her sire's.
And Mosby? Vainly he inquires.
He gazed, and sad she met his eye;
“In the wood yonder were you lost?”
No; at the forks they left the road
Because of hoof-prints (thick they were—
Thick as the words in notes thrice crossed),
And fearful, made that episode.
In fear of Mosby? None she showed.


Her poor attire again he scanned:
“Lady, once more; I grieve to jar
On all sweet usage, but must plead
To have what peeps there from your dress;
That letter—'tis justly prize of war.”
She started—gave it—she must need.
“'Tis not from Mosby? May I read?”
And straight such matter he perused
That with the Guide he went apart.
The Hospital Steward's turn began:
“Must squeeze this darkey; every tap
Of knowledge we are bound to start.”
“Garry,” she said, “tell all you can
Of Colonel Mosby—that brave man.”
“Dun know much, sare; and missis here
Know less dan me. But dis I know—”
“Well, what?” “I dun know what I know.”
“A knowing answer!” The hump-back coughed,
Rubbing his yellowish wool like tow.
“Come—Mosby—tell!” “O dun look so!
My gal nursed missis—let we go.”
“Go where?” demanded Captain Cloud;
“Back into bondage? Man, you're free!”
“Well, let we free!” The Captain's brow
Lowered; the Colonel came—had heard:
“Pooh! pooh! his simple heart I see—
A faithful servant.—Lady” (a bow),
“Mosby's abroad—with us you'll go.


“Guard! look to your prisoners; back to camp!
The man in the grass—can he mount and away?
Why, how he groans!” “Bad inward bruise—
Might lug him along in the ambulance.”
“Coals to Newcastle! let him stay.
Boots and saddles!—our pains we lose,
Nor care I if Mosby hear the news!”
But word was sent to a house at hand,
And a flask was left by the hurt one's side.
They seized in that same house a man,
Neutral by day, by night a foe—
So charged his neighbor late, the Guide.
A grudge? Hate will do what it can;
Along he went for a Mosby-man.
No secrets now; the bugle calls;
The open road they take, nor shun
The hill; retrace the weary way.
But one there was who whispered low,
“This is a feint—we'll back anon;
Young Hair-Brains don't retreat, they say;
A brush with Mosby is the play!”
They rode till eve. Then on a farm
That lay along a hill-side green,
Bivouacked. Fires were made, and then
Coffee was boiled; a cow was coaxed
And killed, and savory roasts were seen;
And under the lee of a cattle-pen
The guard supped freely with Mosby's men.


The ball was bandied to and fro;
Hits were given and hits were met:
“Chickamauga, Feds—take off your hat!”
“But the Fight in the Clouds repaid you, Rebs!”
“Forgotten about Manassas yet?”
Chatting and chaffing, and tit for tat,
Mosby's clan with the troopers sat.
“Here comes the moon!” a captive cried;
“A song.” what say? Archy, my lad!”
Hailing the still one of the clan
(A boyish face with girlish hair),
“Give us that thing poor Pansy made
Last year.” He brightened, and began;
And this was the song of Mosby's man:
Spring is come; she shows her pass—
Wild violets cool!
South of woods a small close grass—
A vernal wool!
Leaves are a'bud on the sassafras—
They'll soon be full:
Blessings on the friendly screen—
I'm for the South! says the leafage green.
Robins! fly, and take your fill
Of out-of-doors—
Garden, orchard, meadow, hill,
Barns and bowers;
Take your fill, and have your will—
Virginia's yours!
But, bluebirds! keep away, and fear
The ambuscade in bushes here.


“A green song that,” a sergeant said;
“But where's poor Pansy? gone, I fear.”
“Ay, mustered out at Ashby's Gap.”
“I see; now for a live man's song;
Ditty for ditty—prepare to cheer.
Comrades, you can fling a cap!
You barehead Mosby-boys—why—clap!”
Nine Blue-coats went a-nutting
Slyly in Tennessee—
Not for chestnuts—better than that—
Hush, you bumble-bee!
Nutting, nutting—
All through the year there's nutting!
A tree they spied so yellow,
Rustling in motion queer;
In they fired, and down they dropped—
Butternuts, my dear!
Nutting, nutting—
Who'll 'list to go a-nutting?
Ah! why should good fellows foemen be?
And who would dream that foes they were—
Larking and singing so friendly then—
A family likeness in every face.
But Captain Cloud made sour demur:
“Guard! keep your prisoners in the pen,
And let none talk with Mosby's men.”


That captain was a valorous one
(No irony, but honest truth),
Yet down from his brain cold drops distilled,
Making stalactites in his heart—
A conscientious soul, forsooth;
And with a formal hate was filled
Of Mosby's band; and some he'd killed.
Meantime the lady rueful sat,
Watching the flicker of a fire
Where the Colonel played the outdoor host
In brave old hall of ancient Night.
But ever the dame grew shyer and shyer,
Seeming with private grief engrossed—
Grief far from Mosby, housed or lost.
The ruddy embers showed her pale.
The Soldier did his best devoir:
“Some coffee?—no?—a cracker?—one?”
Cared for her servant—sought to cheer:
“I know, I know—a cruel war!
But wait—even Mosby'll eat his bun;
The Old Hearth—back to it anon!”
But cordial words no balm could bring;
She sighed, and kept her inward chafe,
And seemed to hate the voice of glee—
Joyless and tearless. Soon he called
An escort: “See this lady safe
In yonder house.—Madam, you're free.
And now for Mosby.—Guide! with me.”


(“A night-ride, eh”) “Tighten your girths!
But, buglers! not a note from you.
Fling more rails on the fires—a blaze!”
(“Sergeant, a feint—I told you so—
Toward Aldie again. Bivouac, adieu!)
After the cheery flames they gaze,
Then back for Mosby through the maze.
The moon looked through the trees, and tipped
The scabbards with her elfin beam;
The Leader backward cast his glance,
Proud of the cavalcade that came—
A hundred horses, bay and cream:
“Major! look how the lads advance—
Mosby we'll have in the ambulance!”
“No doubt, no doubt:—was that a hare?—
First catch, then cook; and cook him brown.”
“Trust me to catch,” the other cried—
“The lady's letter!—a dance, man, dance
This night is given in Leesburg town!”
“He'll be there, too!” wheezed out the Guide;
“That Mosby loves a dance and ride!”
“The lady, ah!—the lady's letter—
A lady, then, is in the case,”
Muttered the Major. “Ay, her aunt
Writes her to come by Friday eve
(To-night), for people of the place,
At Mosby's last fight jubilant,
A party give, though table-cheer be scant.”


The Major hemmed. “Then this night-ride
We owe to her?—One lighted house
In a town else dark.—The moths, begar!
Are not quite yet all dead!” “How? how?”
“A mute, meek, mournful little mouse!—
Mosby has wiles which subtle are—
But woman's wiles in wiles of war!”
“Tut, Major! by what craft or guile—”
“Can't tell! but he'll be found in wait.
Softly we enter, say, the town—
Good! pickets post, and all so sure—
When—crack! the rifles from every gate,
The Grey-backs fire—dash up and down—
Each alley unto Mosby's known!”
“Now, Major, now—you take dark views
Of a moonlight night.” “Well, well, we'll see,”
And smoked as if each whiff were gain.
The other mused; then sudden asked,
“What would you do in grand decree?”
“I'd beat, if I could, Lee's armies—then
Send constables after Mosby's men.”
“Ay, ay!—you're odd.” The moon sailed up;
On through the shadowy land they went.
“Names must be made and printed be!”
Hummed the blithe Colonel. “Doc, your flask!
Major, I drink to your good content.
My pipe is out—enough for me!
This gold-lace gleams—does Mosby see?


“But what comes here?” A man from the front
Reported a tree athwart the road.
“Go round it, then; no time to bide;
All right—go on! Were one to stay
For each distrust of a nervous mood,
Long miles we'd make in this our ride
Through Mosby-land.—On! with the Guide!”
Then sportful to the Surgeon turned:
“Green sashes hardly serve by night!”
“Nor bullets nor bottles,” the Major sighed,
“Against these moccasin-snakes—such foes
As seldom come to solid fight:
They kill and vanish; through grass they glide;
Devil take Mosby!”—his horse here shied.
“Hold! look—the tree, like a dragged balloon;
A globe of leaves—some trickery here;
My nag is right—best now be shy.”
A movement was made, a hubbub and snarl;
Little was plain—they blindly steer.
The Pleiads, as from ambush sly,
Peep out—Mosby's men in the sky!
As restive they turn, how sore they feel,
And cross, and sleepy, and full of spleen,
And curse the war. “Fools, North and South!”
Said one right out. “O for a bed!
O now to drop in this woodland green!”
He drops as the syllables leave his mouth
Mosby speaks from the undergrowth—


Speaks in a volley! out jets the flame!
Men fall from their saddles like plums from trees;
Horses take fright, reins tangle and bind;
“Steady—dismount—form—and into the wood!”
They go, but find what scarce can please:
Their steeds have been tied in the field behind,
And Mosby's men are off like the wind.
Sound the recall! vain to pursue—
The enemy scatters in wilds he knows,
To reunite in his own good time;
And, to follow, they need divide—
To come astray on crouching foes:
Maple and hemlock, beech and lime,
Are Mosby's confederates, share the crime.
“Major,” burst in a bugler small,
“The fellow we left in Loudon grass—
Sir Slyboots with the inward bruise,
His voice I heard—the very same—
Some watchword in the ambush pass;
Ay, sir, we had him in his shoes—
We caught him—Mosby—but to lose!”
“Go, go!—these saddle-dreamers! Well,
And here's another.—Cool, sir, cool!”
“Major, I saw them mount and sweep,
And one was bumped, or I mistake,
And in the skurry dropped his wool.”
“A wig! go fetch it:—the lads need sleep;
They'll next see Mosby in a sheep!


“Come, come, fall back! reform your ranks—
All's jackstraws here! Where's Captain Morn?—
We've parted like boats in a raging tide!
But stay—the Colonel—did he charge?
And comes he there? 'Tis streak of dawn;
Mosby is off, the woods are wide—
Hist! there's a groan—this crazy ride!”
As they searched for the fallen, the dawn grew chill;
They lay in the dew: “Ah, hurt much, Mink?
And—yes—the Colonel!” Dead! but so calm
That death seemed nothing—even death,
The thing we deem every thing heart can think;
Amid wilding roses that shed their balm,
Careless of Mosby he lay—in a charm!
The Major took him by the hand—
Into the friendly clasp it bled
(A ball through heart and hand he rued):
“Good-bye!” and gazed with humid glance;
Then in a hollow revery said,
“The weakest thing is lustihood;
But Mosby”—and he checked his mood.
“Where the advance?—cut off, by heaven!
Come, Surgeon, how with your wounded there?”
“The ambulance will carry all.”
“Well, get them in; we go to camp.
Seven prisoners gone? for the rest have care.”
Then to himself, “This grief is gall;
That Mosby!—I'll cast a silver ball!”


“Ho!” turning—“Captain Cloud, you mind
The place where the escort went—so shady?
Go, search every closet low and high,
And barn, and bin, and hidden bower—
Every covert—find that lady!
And yet I may misjudge her—ay,
Women (like Mosby) mystify.
“We'll see. Ay, Captain, go—with speed!
Surround and search; each living thing
Secure; that done, await us where
We last turned off. Stay! fire the cage
If the birds be flown.” By the cross-road spring
The bands rejoined; no word; the glare
Told all. Had Mosby plotted there?
The weary troop that wended now—
Hardly it seemed the same that pricked
Forth to the forest from the camp:
Foot-sore horses, jaded men;
Every backbone felt as nicked,
Each eye dim as a sick-room lamp,
All faces stamped with Mosby's stamp.
In order due the Major rode—
Chaplain and Surgeon on either hand;
A riderless horse a negro led;
In a wagon the blanketed sleeper went;
Then the ambulance with the bleeding band;
And, an emptied oat-bag on each head,
Went Mosby's men, and marked the dead.


What gloomed them? what so cast them down,
And changed the cheer that late they took,
As double-guarded now they rode
Between the files of moody men?
Some sudden consciousness they brook,
Or dread the sequel. That night's blood
Disturbed even Mosby's brotherhood.
The flagging horses stumbled at roots,
Floundered in mires, or clinked the stones;
No ride spake except aside;
But the wounded cramped in the ambulance,
It was horror to hear their groans—
Jerked along in the woodland ride,
While Mosby's clan their revery hide.
The Hospital Steward—even he—
Who on the sleeper kept his glance,
Was changed; late bright-black beard and eye
Looked now hearse-black; his heavy heart,
Like his fagged mare, no more could dance;
His grape was now a raisin dry:
'Tis Mosby's homily—Man must die.
The amber sunset flushed the camp
As on the hill their eyes they fed;
The pickets dumb looks at the wagon dart;
A handkerchief waves from the bannered tent—
As white, alas! the face of the dead:
Who shall the withering news impart?
The bullet of Mosby goes through heart to heart!


They buried him where the lone ones lie
(Lone sentries shot on midnight post)—
A green-wood grave-yard hid from ken,
Where sweet-fern flings an odor nigh—
Yet held in fear for the gleaming ghost!
Though the bride should see threescore and ten,
She will dream of Mosby and his men.
Now halt the verse, and turn aside—
The cypress falls athwart the way;
No joy remains for bard to sing;
And heaviest dole of all is this,
That other hearts shall be as gay
As hers that now no more shall spring:
To Mosby-land the dirges cling.


(April, 1866)

Hard pressed by numbers in his strait
Rebellion's soldier-chief no more contends—
Feels that the hour is come of Fate,
Lays down one sword, and widened warfare ends.
The captain who fierce armies led
Becomes a quiet seminary's head—
Poor as his privates, earns his bread.
In studious cares and aims engrossed,
Strives to forget Stuart and Stonewall dead—
Comrades and cause, station and riches lost,
And all the ills that flock when fortune's fled.


No word he breathes of vain lament,
Mute to reproach, nor hears applause—
His doom accepts, perforce content,
And acquiesces in asserted laws;
Secluded now would pass his life,
And leave to time the sequel of the strife.
But missives from the Senators ran;
Not that they now would gaze upon a swordless foe,
And power made powerless and brought low:
Reasons of state, 'tis claimed, require the man.
Demurring not, promptly he comes
By ways which show the blackened homes,
And—last—the seat no more his own,
But Honor's; patriot grave-yards fill
The forfeit slopes of that patrician hill,
And fling a shroud on Arlington.
The oaks ancestral all are low;
No more from the porch his glance shall go
Ranging the varied landscape o'er,
Far as the looming Dome—no more.
One look he gives, then turns aside,
Solace he summons from his pride:
“So be it! They await me now
Who wrought this stinging overthrow;
They wait me; not as on the day
Of Pope's impelled retreat in disarray—
By me impelled—when toward yon Dome
The clouds of war came rolling home.”
The burst, the bitterness was spent,
The heart-burst bitterly turbulent,
And on he fared.


In nearness now
He marks the Capitol—a show
Lifted in amplitude, and set
With standards flushed with the glow of Richmond yet;
Trees and green terraces sleep below.
Through the clear air, in sunny light,
The marble dazes—a temple white.
Intrepid soldier! had his blade been drawn
For yon starred flag, never as now
Bid to the Senate-house had he gone,
But freely, and in pageant borne,
As when brave numbers without number, massed,
Plumed the broad way, and pouring passed—
Bannered, beflowered—between the shores
Of faces, and the dinn'd huzzas,
And balconies kindling at the sabre-flash,
'Mid roar of drums and guns, and cymbal-crash,
While Grant and Sherman shone in blue—
Close of the war and victory's long review.
Yet pride at hand still aidful swelled,
And up the hard ascent he held.
The meeting follows. In his mien
The victor and the vanquished both are seen—
All that he is, and what he late had been.
Awhile, with curious eyes they scan
The Chief who led invasion's van—


Allied by family to one,
Founder of the Arch the Invader warred upon:
Who looks at Lee must think of Washington;
In pain must think, and hide the thought,
So deep with grievous meaning it is fraught.
Secession in her soldier shows
Silent and patient; and they feel
(Developed even in just success)
Dim inklings of a hazy future steal;
Their thoughts their questions well express:
“Does the sad South still cherish hate?
Freely will Southern men with Northern mate?
The blacks—should we our arm withdraw,
Would that betray them? some distrust your law.
And how if foreign fleets should come—
Would the South then drive her wedges home?”
And more hereof. The Virginian sees—
Replies to such anxieties.
Discreet his answers run—appear
Briefly straightforward, coldly clear.
“If now,” the Senators, closing, say,
“Aught else remain, speak out, we pray.”
Hereat he paused; his better heart
Strove strongly then; prompted a worthier part
Than coldly to endure his doom.
Speak out? Ay, speak, and for the brave,
Who else no voice or proxy have;
Frankly their spokesman here become,
And the flushed North from her own victory save.


That inspiration overrode—
Hardly it quelled the galling load
Of personal ill. The inner feud
He, self-contained, a while withstood;
They waiting. In his troubled eye
Shadows from clouds unseen they spy;
They could not mark within his breast
The pang which pleading thought oppressed:
He spoke, nor felt the bitterness die.
“My word is given—it ties my sword;
Even were banners still abroad,
Never could I strive in arms again
While you, as fit, that pledge retain.
Our cause I followed, stood in field and gate—
All's over now, and now I follow Fate.
But this is naught. A People call—
A desolated land, and all
The brood of ills that press so sore,
The natural offspring of this civil war,
Which ending not in fame, such as might rear
Fitly its sculptured trophy here,
Yields harvest large of doubt and dread
To all who have the heart and head
To feel and know. How shall I speak?
Thoughts knot with thoughts, and utterance check.
Before my eyes there swims a haze,
Through mists departed comrades gaze—
First to encourage, last that shall upbraid!
How shall I speak? The South would fain
Feel peace, have quiet law again—
Replant the trees for homestead-shade.


You ask if she recants: she yields.
Nay, and would more; would blend anew,
As the bones of the slain in her forests do,
Bewailed alike by us and you.
A voice comes out from those charnel-fields,
A plaintive yet unheeded one:
‘Died all in vain? both sides undone?’
Push not your triumph; do not urge
Submissiveness beyond the verge.
Intestine rancor would you bide,
Nursing eleven sliding daggers in your side?
Far from my thought to school or threat;
I speak the things which hard beset.
Where various hazards meet the eyes,
To elect in magnanimity is wise.
Reap victory's fruit while sound the core;
What sounder fruit than re-established law?
I know your partial thoughts do press
Solely on us for war's unhappy stress;
But weigh—consider—look at all,
And broad anathema you'll recall.
The censor's charge I'll not repeat,
That meddlers kindled the war's white heat—
Vain intermeddlers or malign,
Both of the palm and of the pine;
I waive the thought—which never can be rife—
Common's the crime in every civil strife:
But this I feel, that North and South were driven
By Fate to arms. For our unshriven,


What thousands, truest souls, were tried—
As never may any be again—
All those who stemmed Secession's pride,
But at last were swept by the urgent tide
Into the chasm. I know their pain.
A story here may be applied:
“In Moorish lands there lived a maid
Brought to confess by vow the creed
Of Christians. Fain would priests persuade
That now she must approve by deed
The faith she kept. “What deed?” she asked.
“Your old sire leave, nor deem it sin,
And come with us.” Still more they tasked
The sad one: “If heaven you'd win—
Far from the burning pit withdraw,
Then must you learn to hate your kin,
Yea, side against them—such the law,
For Moor and Christian are at war.”
“Then will I never quit my sire,
But here with him through every trial go,
Nor leave him though in flames below—
God help me in his fire!”
So in the South; vain every plea
'Gainst Nature's strong fidelity;
True to the home and to the heart,
Throngs cast their lot with kith and kin,
Foreboding, cleaved to the natural part—
Was this the unforgivable sin?
These noble spirits are yet yours to win.
Shall the great North go Sylla's way?
Proscribe? prolong the evil day?


Confirm the curse? infix the hate?
In Union's name forever alienate?
From reason who can urge the plea—
Freemen conquerors of the free?
When blood returns to the shrunken vein,
Shall the wound of the Nation bleed again?
Well may the wars wan thought supply,
And kill the kindling of the hopeful eye,
Unless you do what even kings have done
In leniency—unless you shun
To copy Europe in her worst estate—
Forbear to wreak the ill you reprobate.”
He ceased. His earnestness unforeseen
Moved, but not swayed their former mien;
And they dismissed him. Forth he went
Through vaulted walks in lengthened line
Like porches erst upon the Palatine:
Historic reveries their lesson lent,
The Past her shadow through the Future sent.
But no. Brave though the Soldier, grave his plea—
Catching the light in the future's skies,
Instinct disowns each darkening prophecy:
Faith in America never dies;
Heaven shall the end ordained fulfill.
We march with Providence cheery still.




How often in the years that close,
When truce had stilled the sieging gun,
The soldiers, mounting on their works,
With mutual curious glance have run
From face to face along the fronting show,
And kinsman spied, or friend—even in a foe.
What thoughts conflicting then were shared,
While sacred tenderness perforce
Welled from the heart and wet the eye;
And something of a strange remorse
Rebelled against the sanctioned sin of blood,
And Christian wars of natural brotherhood.
Then stirred the god within the breast—
The witness that is man's at birth;
A deep misgiving undermined
Each plea and subterfuge of earth;
They felt in that rapt pause, with warning rife,
Horror and anguish for the civil strife.


Of North or South they recked not then,
Warm passion cursed the cause of war:
Can Africa pay back this blood
Spilt on Potomac's shore?
Yet doubts, as pangs, were vain the strife to stay,
And hands that fain had clasped again could slay.
How frequent in the camp was seen
The herald from the hostile one,
A guest and frank companion there
When the proud formal talk was done;
The pipe of peace was smoked even 'mid the war,
And fields in Mexico again fought o'er.
In Western battle long they lay
So near opposed in trench or pit,
That foeman unto foeman called
As men who screened in tavern sit:
“You bravely fight” each to the other said—
“Toss us a biscuit!” o'er the wall it sped.
And pale on those same slopes, a boy—
A stormer, bled in noon-day glare;
No aid the Blue-coats then could bring,
He cried to them who nearest were,
And out there came 'mid howling shot and shell
A daring foe who him befriended well.


Mark the great Captains on both sides,
The soldiers with the broad renown—
They all were messmates on the Hudson's marge,
Beneath one roof they laid them down;
And, free from hate in many an after pass,
Strove as in school-boy rivalry of the class.
A darker side there is; but doubt
In Nature's charity hovers there:
If men for new agreement yearn,
Then old upbraiding best forbear:
The South's the sinner!” Well, so let it be;
But shall the North sin worse, and stand the Pharisee?
O, now that brave men yield the sword,
Mine be the manful soldier-view;
By how much more they boldly warred,
By so much more is mercy due:
When Vicksburg fell, and the moody files marched out,
Silent the victors stood, scorning to raise a shout.