Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
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Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
 
Charles Graham Halpine. 1829–1868
 
169. The Thousand and Thirty-Seven
 
THREE years ago, to-day, 
  We raised our hands to Heaven, 
And, on the rolls of muster, 
  Our names were thirty-seven; 
There were just a thousand bayonets,         5
  And the swords were thirty-seven, 
As we took our oath of service 
  With our right hands raised to Heaven. 
  
Oh, 't was a gallant day, 
  In memory still adored.  10
That day of our sun-bright nuptials 
  With the musket and the sword! 
Shrill rang the fifes, the bugles blared, 
  And beneath a cloudless heaven 
Far flashed a thousand bayonets,  15
  And the swords were thirty-seven. 
  
Of the thousand stalwart bayonets 
  Two hundred march to-day; 
Hundreds lie in Virginia swamps, 
  And hundreds in Maryland clay;  20
While other hundreds—less happy—drag 
  Their mangled limbs around, 
And envy the deep, calm, blessed sleep 
  Of the battle-field's holy ground. 
  
For the swords—one night a week ago,  25
  The remnant, just eleven— 
Gathered around a banqueting-board 
  With seats for thirty-seven. 
There were two came in on crutches, 
  And two had each but a hand,  30
To pour the wine and raise the cup 
  As we toasted "Our Flag and Land!" 
  
And the room seemed filled with whispers 
  As we looked at the vacant seats, 
And with choking throats we pushed aside  35
  The rich but untasted meats; 
Then in silence we brimmed our glasses 
  As we stood up—just eleven— 
And bowed as we drank to the Loved and the Dead 
  Who had made us thirty-seven!  40
 
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