Beechenbrook Part 3

Web Novel Beechenbrook Part 3. If you are looking for Beechenbrook Part 3 you are coming to the right place.
Beechenbrook is a Webnovel created by Margaret Junkin Preston.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

She dares not to stir with a question, _her_ woe, One word,–and the bitter-brimm’d heart would o’erflow: But speechless, and moveless, and stony of eye, Scarce conscious of aught in the earth or the sky, In a swoon of the heart, all her senses have reeled,– But she prays for endurance,–for here is the field.

The flight and pursuit, so hara.s.sing, so hot, Have drifted all combatants far from the spot: And through the spa.r.s.e woodlands, and over the plain, Lie gorily scattered, the wounded and slain.

Oh! the sickness,–the shudder,–the quailing of fear, As it leaps to her lips,–“What if Dougla.s.s be here!”

Yet she frames not a question; her spirit can bear Oh! anything,–all things, but hopeless despair: Does her darling lie stretched on the slope of yon hill?

Let her doubt–let her hug the suspense, if she will!

She watches each ambulance-burden with dread; She loots in the faces of dying and dead: And hour after hour, with steady control, She bends to her task all the strength of her soul; She comforts the wounded with pity’s sweet care, And the spirit that’s pa.s.sing, she speeds with her prayer.

She starts as she hears, from her stout-hearted boy, A wild exclamation, half doubt and half joy:–

“Oh! Surgeon!–some brandy! he’s fainting!–Ah! now The colour comes back to his cheek and his brow:– He breathes again–speaks again–listen!–you are ‘An orderly’–is it?–‘of Colonel Dunbar?’

‘He fought like a lion!’ (I knew it!) and pa.s.sed Untouched through the battle, ‘unhurt to the last?’

–My father is safe,–mother!–safe!–what a joy!

And here is Macpherson,–our barefooted boy!”

Poor Alice!–her grief has been tearless and dumb, But the pressure once lifted, her senses succ.u.mb: Too quick the revulsion,–too glad the surprise,– The mists of unconsciousness curtain her eyes: ‘Tis only a moment they suffer eclipse, And words of thanksgiving soon thrill on her lips.

To Beechenbrook’s quiet, with tenderest care, They hasten the wounded, wan soldier to bear; And never hung mother more patiently o’er The couch of the child, her own bosom that bore, Than Alice above the lone orphan, who lay Submissively breathing his spirit away.

He knows that existence is ebbing; his brain Is lucid and calm, in the pauses of pain; But his round boyish cheek with no weeping is wet, And his smile is not touched with a shade of regret.

No murmur is uttered–no lingering sigh Escapes him;–so young,–yet so willing to die!

His garment of flesh he has worn undefiled, His faith is the beautiful faith of a child: He knows that the Crucified hung on the tree, That the pathway to bliss might be open and free: He believes that the cup has been drained,–he can find Not a drop of the wrath that had filled it,–behind.

If ever a doubt or misgiving a.s.sails, His finger he puts on the print of the nails; If sometimes there springs an emotion of fear, He lays his cold hand on the mark of the spear!

He thinks of his darling, dead mother;–the light Of the Heavenly City falls full on his sight: And under the rows of the palms, by the brim Of the river–he knows she is waiting for him.

But the present comes back;–and on Alice’s ear, Fall whispers like these, as she pauses to hear:

“Only a private;–and who will care When I may pa.s.s away,– Or how, or why I perish, or where I mix with the common clay?

They will fill my empty place again, With another as bold and brave; And they’ll blot me out, ere the Autumn rain Has freshened my nameless grave.

Only a private:–it matters not, That I did my duty well; That all through a score of battles I fought, And then, like a soldier, fell: The country I died for,–never will heed My unrequited claim; And history cannot record the deed, For she never has heard my name.

Only a private;–and yet I know, When I heard the rallying call, I was one of the very first to go, And … I’m one of the many who fall: But, as here I lie, it is sweet to feel, That my honor’s without a stain;– That I only fought for my Country’s weal, And not for glory or gain.

Only a private;–yet He who reads Through the guises of the heart, Looks not at the splendour of the deeds, But the way we do our part; And when He shall take us by the hand, And our small service own, There’ll a glorious band of privates stand As victors around the throne!”

The breath of the morning is heavy and chill, And gloomily lower the mists on the hill: The winds through the beeches are shivering low, With a plaintive and sad _miserere_ of woe: A quiet is over the Cottage,–a dread Clouds the children’s sweet faces,–Macpherson is dead!


‘Tis Autumn,–and Nature the forest has hung With arras more gorgeous than ever was flung From Gobelin looms,–all so varied, so rare, As never the princeliest palaces were.

Soft curtains of haze the far mountains enfold, Whose warp is of purple, whose woof is of gold, And the sky bends as peacefully, purely above, As if earth breathed an atmosphere only of love.

But thick as white asters in Autumn, are found The tents all bestrewing the carpeted ground; The din of a camp, with its stir and its strife, Its motley and strange, mult.i.tudinous life, Floats upward along the brown slopes, till it fills The echoing hollows afar in the hills.

‘Tis the twilight of Sabbath,–and sweet through the air, Swells the blast of the bugle, that summons to prayer: The signal is answered, and soon in the glen Sits Colonel Dunbar in the midst of his men.

The Chaplain advances with reverent face, Where lies a felled oak, he has chosen his place; On the stump of an ash-tree the Bible he lays, And they bow on the gra.s.s, as he solemnly prays.

Underneath thine open sky, Father, as we bend the knee, May we feel thy presence nigh, –Nothing ‘twixt our souls and thee!

We are weary,–cares and woes Lay their weight on every breast, And each heart before thee knows, That it sighs for inward rest.

Thou canst lift this weight away, Thou canst bid these sighings cease; Thou canst walk these waves and say To their restless tossings–“Peace!”

We are tempted;–snares abound,– Sin its treacherous meshes weaves; And temptations strew us round, Thicker than the Autumn leaves.

Midst these perils, mark our path, Thou who art ‘the life, the way;’

Rend each fatal wile that hath Power to lead our souls astray.

Prince of Peace! we follow Thee!

Plant thy banner in our sight; Let thy shadowy legions be Guards around our tents to-night.”

Through the aisles of the forest, far-stretching and dim As a cloister’d Cathedral, the notes of a hymn Float tenderly upward,–now soft and now clear, As if twilight had silenced its breathing to hear; Now swelling, a lofty, triumphant refrain,– Now sobbing itself into sadness again.

The Bible is opened, and stillness profound Broods over the listeners scattered around; And warning, and comfort, and blessing, and balm, Distil from the beautiful words of the Psalm.

Then simply and earnestly pleading,–his face Lit up with persuasive and eloquent grace, The Chaplain pours forth, from the warmth of his heart, His words of entreaty and truth, ere they part.

“I see before me valiant men, With courage high and true, Who fight as only heroes fight, And die, as heroes do.

Your serried ranks have never quailed Before the battle-shock, Whose maddest fury beats and breaks Like foam against the rock.

Ye’ve borne the deadly brunt of war, Through storm, and cold, and heat, Yet never have ye turned your backs Nor fled before defeat.

Behind you lie your cheerful homes, And all of sweet or fair,– The only remnants earth has left Of Eden-life, are there.

Ye know that many a once bright cheek Consuming care, makes wan; Ye know the old, dear happiness That blest your hearths,–is gone.

Ye see your comrades smitten down,– The young, the good, the brave,– Ye feel, the turf ye tread to-day, May be to-morrow’s grave.

Yet not a murmur meets the ear, Nor discontent has sway, And not a sullen brow is seen, Through all the camp to-day.

No Greek, in Greece’s palmiest days, His javelin ever threw, Impelled by more heroic zeal, Or n.o.bler aim than you.

No mailed warrior ever bore Aloft his shining lance, More proudly through the tales that fire The page of old romance.

Oh! soldiers!–well ye bear your part; The world awards its praise: Be sure,–this grandest tourney o’er,– ‘Twill crown you with its bays!

But there’s sublimer work than even To free your native sod; –Ye may be loyal to your land, Yet traitors to your G.o.d!

No Moslem heaven for him who falls, A bribed requital doles; And while ye save your country,–ye, Alas! may lose your souls!

No glorious deeds can urge their claim,– No merits, entrance win,– The pierced hand of Christ alone, Must freely let you in.

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