"The Dead Drummer Boy"
The Dead Drummer Boy
- 'MIDST tangled roots that lined the wild ravine,
- Where the fierce fight raged hottest through the day,
- And where the dead in scattered heaps were seen,
- Amid the darkling forest's shade and sheen
- Speechless in death he lay.
- The setting sun, which glanced athwart the place
- In slanting lines, like amber-tinted rain,
- Fell sidewise on the drummer's upturned face,
- Where Death had left his gory finger's trace
- In one bright crimson stain.
- The silken fringes of his once bright eye
- Lay like a shadow on his cheek so fair;
- His lips were parted by a long-drawn sigh,
- That with his soul had mounted to the sky
- On some wild martial air.
- No more his hand the fierce tattoo shall beat,
- The shrill reveille, or the long roll's call,
- Or sound the charges, when, in smoke and heat
- Of fiery onset, foe with foe shall meet,
- And gallant men shall fall.
- Yet may be in some happy home, that one,
- A mother, reading from the list of dead,
- Shall chance to view the name of her dead son,
- And move her lips to say, "God's will be done!"
- And bow in grief her head.
- But more than this what tongue shall tell his story?
- Perhaps his boyish longings were for fame.
- He lived, he died; and so memento mori.
- Enough if on the page of War and Glory
- Some hand has writ his name.
SOURCE: Moore, Frank (Editor). Anecdotes, Poetry and Incidents of the War: North and South. 1860-1865. NY: The Arundl Print, 1882, p. 51, no author given.
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