Beechenbrook Part 5

Web Novel Beechenbrook Part 5. If you are looking for Beechenbrook Part 5 you are coming to the right place.
Beechenbrook is a Webnovel created by Margaret Junkin Preston.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

The Chaplain’s recital is ended:–no word From Alice’s white, breathless lips has been heard; Till, rousing herself from her pa.s.sionless woe, She simply and quietly says–“I will go.”

There are moments of anguish so deadly, so deep– That numbness seems over the senses to creep, With interposition, whose timely relief, Is an anodyne-draught to the madness of grief.

Such mercy is meted to Alice;–her eye That sees as it saw not, is vacant and dry: The billows’ wild fury sweeps over her soul, And she bends to the rush with a pa.s.sive control.

Through the dusk of the night–through the glare of the day, She urges, unconscious, her desolate way: One image is ever her vision before, –That blanketed form on the hospital floor!

Her journey is ended; and yonder she sees The spot where _he_ lies, looming white through the trees: Her torpor dissolves with a shuddering start, And a terrible agony clutches her heart.

The Chaplain advances to meet her:–he draws Her silently onward;–no question–no pause– Her finger she lays on her lip;–if she spake, She knows that the spell that upholds her, would break.

She has strength to go forward; they enter the door,– And there, on the crowded and blood-tainted floor, Close wrapped in his blanket, lies Dougla.s.s:–his brow Wore never a look so seraphic as now!

She stretches her arms the dear form to enfold,– G.o.d help her!…, she shrieks …, it is silent and cold!

X.

“Break, my heart, and ease this pain– Cease to throb, thou tortured brain; Let me die,–since he is slain, –Slain in battle!

Blessed brow, that loved to rest Its dear whiteness on my breast– Gory was the gra.s.s it prest, –Slain in battle!

Oh! that still and stately form– Never more will it be warm; Chilled beneath that iron storm, –Slain in battle!

Not a pillow for his head– Not a hand to smooth his bed– Not one tender parting said, –Slain in battle!

Straightway from that b.l.o.o.d.y sod, Where the trampling hors.e.m.e.n trod– Lifted to the arms of G.o.d; –Slain in battle!

Not my love to come between, With its interposing screen– Naught of earth to intervene; –Slain in battle!

s.n.a.t.c.hed the purple billows o’er, Through the fiendish rage and roar, To the far and peaceful sh.o.r.e; –Slain in battle!

_Nunc demitte_–thus I pray– What else left for me to say, Since my life is reft away?

–Slain in battle!

Let me die, oh! G.o.d!–the dart Rankles deep within my heart,– Hope, and joy, and peace, depart; –Slain in battle!”

‘Tis thus through her days and her nights of despair, Her months of bereavement so bitter to bear, That Alice moans ever. Ah! little they know, Who look on that brow, still and white as the snow, Who watch–but in vain–for the sigh or the tear, That only comes thick when no mortal is near,– Who whisper–“How gently she bends to the rod!”

Because all her heart-break is kept for her G.o.d,– Ah! little _they_ know of the tempests that roll Their desolate floods through the depths of her soul!

Afar in our sunshiny homes on the sh.o.r.e, We heed not how wildly the billows may roar; We smile at our firesides, happy and free, While the rich-freighted argosy founders at sea!

Though wrapped in the weeds of her widowhood, pale,– Though life seems all sunless and dim through the veil That drearily shadows her sorrowful brow,– Is the cause of her country less dear to her now?

Does the patriot-flame in her heart cease to stir,– Does she feel that the conflict is over for her?

Because the red war-tide has deluged her o’er,– Has wreaked its wild wrath, and can harm _her_ no more,– Does she stand, self-absorbed, on the wreck she has braved, Nor care if her country be lost or be saved?

By her pride in the soil that has given her birth– By her tenderest memories garnered on earth– By the legacy blood-bought and precious, which she Would leave to her children–the right to be free,– By the altar where once rose the hymn and the prayer; By the home that lies scarred in its solitude there,– By the pangs she has suffered,–the ills she has borne,– By the desolate exile through which she must mourn,– By the struggles that hallow this fair Southern sod, By the vows she has breathed in the ear of her G.o.d,– By the blood of the heart that she worshipped,–the life That enfolded her own; by her love, as his wife; By his death on the battle-field, gallantly brave,– By the shadow that ever will wrap her–his grave– By the faith she reposes, oh! Father! in Thee, She claims that her glorious South MUST be free!

VIRGINIA.

A SONNET.

Grandly thou fillest the world’s eye to-day, My proud Virginia! When the gage was thrown– The deadly gage of battle–thou, alone, Strong in thy self-control, didst stoop to lay The olive-branch thereon, and calmly pray We might have peace, the rather. When the foe Turned scornfully upon thee,–bade thee go, And whistled up his war-hounds, then–the way Of duty full before thee,–thou didst spring Into the centre of the martial ring– Thy brave blood boiling, and thy glorious eye, Shot with heroic fire, and swear to claim Sublimest victory in G.o.d’s own name,– Or, wrapped in robes of martyrdom,–to die!

JACKSON.

A SONNET.

Thank G.o.d for such a Hero!–Fearless hold His diamond character beneath the sun, And brighter scintillations, one by one, Come flashing from it. Never knight of old Wore on serener brow, so calm, yet bold, Diviner courage: never martyr knew Trust more sublime,–nor patriot, zeal more true,– Nor saint, self-abnegation of a mould Touched with profounder beauty. All the rare, Clear, starry points of light, that gave his soul Such lambent l.u.s.tre, owned but one sole aim,– Not for himself, nor yet his country’s fame, These glories shone: he kept the cl.u.s.tered whole A jewel for the crown that Christ shall wear!

DIRGE FOR ASHBY.

Heard ye that thrilling word– Accent of dread– Flash like a thunderbolt, Bowing each head– Crash through the battle dun, Over the booming gun– “_Ashby, our bravest one_,– _Ashby is dead!_”

Saw ye the veterans– Hearts that had known Never a quail of fear, Never a groan– Sob ‘mid the fight they win, –Tears their stern eyes within,– “Ashby, our Paladin, Ashby is gone!”

Dash,–dash the tear away– Crush down the pain!

“_Dulce et decus_,” be Fittest refrain!

Why should the dreary pall Round him be flung at all?

Did not our hero fall Gallantly slain?

Catch the last word of cheer Dropt from his tongue; Over the volley’s din, Loud be it rung– “_Follow me! follow me!_”– Soldier, oh! could there be Paean or dirge for thee, Loftier sung!

Bold as the Lion-heart, Dauntless and brave; Knightly as knightliest Bayard could crave; Sweet with all Sidney’s grace– Tender as Hampden’s face– Who–who shall fill the s.p.a.ce Void by his grave?

‘Tis not _one_ broken heart, Wild with dismay; Crazed with her agony, Weeps o’er his clay: Ah! from a thousand eyes Flow the pure tears that rise; Widowed Virginia lies Stricken to-day!

Yet–though that thrilling word– Accent of dread– Falls like a thunderbolt, Bowing each head– Heroes! be battle done Bravelier every one, Nerved by the thought alone– _Ashby is dead!_

STONEWALL JACKSON’S GRAVE.[A]

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