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.
 
1356. The Forefather
 
By Richard Burton
 
 
HERE at the country inn,
  I lie in my quiet bed,
And the ardent onrush of armies
  Throbs and throbs in my head.
 
Why, in this calm, sweet place,        5
  Where only silence is heard,
Am I ware of the crash of conflict,—
  Is my blood to battle stirred?
 
Without, the night is blessed
  With the smell of pines, with stars;        10
Within, is the mood of slumber,
  The healing of daytime scars.
 
’T is strange,—yet I am thrall
  To epic agonies;
The tumult of myriads dying        15
  Is borne to me on the breeze.
 
Mayhap in the long ago
  My forefather grim and stark
Stood in some hell of carnage,
  Faced forward, fell in the dark;        20
 
And I, who have always known
  Peace with her dove-like ways,
Am gripped by his martial spirit
  Here in the after days.
 
I cannot rightly tell:        25
  I lie, from all stress apart,
And the ardent onrush of armies
  Surges hot through my heart.
 

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