Kate Seymour Maclean

The Burial of the Scout

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O not with arms reversed,
And the slow beating of the muffled drum,
And funeral marches, bring our hero home
These stormy woods where his young heart was nursed
Ring with a trumpet burst
Of jubilant music, as if he who lies
With shrouded face, and lips all white and dumb
Were a crowned conqueror entering paradise,--
This is his welcome home!

Along the reedy marge of the dim lake,
I hear the gathering horsemen of the North,
The cavalry of night and tempest wake,--
Blowing keen bugles as they issue forth,
To guard his homeward march in frost and cold,
A thousand spearmen bold!

And the deep-bosomed woods,
With their dishevelled locks all wildly spread,
Stretch ghostly arms to clasp the immortal dead,
Back to their solitudes
While through their rocking branches overhead,
And all their shuddering pulses underground
shiver runs, as if a voice had said--
And every farthest leaf had felt the wound--
He comes--but he is dead!

The dainty-fingered May
with gentle hand shall fold and put away
The snow-white curtains of his winter tent,
and spread above him her green coverlet,
'Broidered with daisies, sweet to sight and scent
and Summer, from her outposts in the hills,
Under the boughs with heavy night-dews wet,
shall place her gold and purple sentinels,
And in the populous woods sound reveille,
falling from field and fen her sweet deserters back--
But he,--no long roll of the impatient drum,
for battle trumpet eager for the fray,
From the far shores of blue Lake Erie blown,
shall rouse the soldier's last long bivouac.

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