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1837

THE BATTLE-FIELD

by William Cullen Bryant

THE BATTLE-FIELD -

Once this soft turfthis rivulet's sands

Were trampled by a hurrying crowd

And fiery hearts and armed hands

Encountered in the battle-cloud. -

Ah! never shall the land forget

How gushed the life-blood of her brave-

Gushedwarm with hope and courage yet

Upon the soil they fought to save. -

Now all is calmand freshand still;

Alone the chirp of flitting bird

And talk of children on the hill

And bell of wandering kineare heard. -

No solemn host goes trailing by

The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain;

Men start not at the battle-cry

Ohbe it never heard again! -

Soon rested those who fought; but thou

Who minglest in the harder strife

For truths which men receive not now

Thy warfare only ends with life. -

A friendless warfare! lingering long

Through weary day and weary year

A wild and many-weaponed throng

Hang on thy frontand flankand rear. -

Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof

And blench not at thy chosen lot.

The timid good may stand aloof

The sage may frown- yet faint thou not. -

Nor heed the shaft too surely cast

The foul and hissing bolt of scorn;

For with thy side shall dwellat last

The victory of endurance born. -

Truthcrushed to earthshall rise again;

Th' eternal years of God are hers;

But Errorwoundedwrithes in pain

And dies among his worshippers. -

Yeathough thou lie upon the dust

When they who helped thee flee in fear

Die full of hope and manly trust

Like those who fell in battle here. -

Another hand thy sword shall wield

Another hand the standard wave

Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed

The blast of triumph o'er thy grave. -

THE END




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