Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
102. Elegiac
 
By James Gates Percival
 
 
O, IT is great for our country to die, where ranks are contending!
  Bright is the wreath of our fame; glory awaits us for aye,—
Glory, that never is dim, shining on with light never ending,—
  Glory that never shall fade, never, O never, away!
 
O, it is sweet for our country to die! How softly reposes        5
  Warrior youth on his bier, wet by the tears of his love,
Wet by a mother’s warm tears. They crown him with garlands of roses,
  Weep, and then joyously turn, bright where he triumphs above.
 
Not to the shades shall the youth descend, who for country hath perished;
  Hebe awaits him in heaven, welcomes him there with her smile;        10
There, at the banquet divine, the patriot spirit is cherished;
  Gods love the young who ascend pure from the funeral pile.
 
Not to Elysian fields, by the still, oblivious river;
  Not to the isles of the blest, over the blue, rolling sea;
But on Olympian heights shall dwell the devoted forever;        15
  There shall assemble the good, there the wise, valiant, and free.
 
O, then, how great for our country to die, in the front rank to perish,
  Firm with our breast to the foe, victory’s shout in our ear!
Long they our statues shall crown, in songs our memory cherish;
  We shall look forth from our heaven, pleased the sweet music to hear.        20
 

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