Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
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Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
 
The Burial of Grant
By Richard Watson Gilder
 
New York, August 8, 1885

YE living soldiers of the mighty war,
  Once more from roaring cannon, and the drums,
  And bugles blown at morn, the summons comes;
Forget the halting limb, each wound and scar;
  Once more your Captain calls to you;        5
  Come to his last review!
 
And come ye, too, bright spirits of the dead,
  Ye who flamed heavenward from the embattled field;
  And ye whose harder fate it was to yield
Life from the loathful prison or anguished bed;        10
  Dear ghosts! come join your comrades here
  Beside this sacred bier!
 
Nor be ye absent, ye immortal band,—
  Warriors of ages past, and our own age,—
  Who drew the sword for right, and not in rage,        15
Made war that peace might live in all the land,
  Nor ever struck one vengeful blow,
  But helped the fallen foe.
 
And fail not ye,—but, ah, ye falter not
  To join his army of the dead and living,—        20
  Ye who once felt his might, and his forgiving;
Brothers, whom more in love than hate he smote.
  For all his countrymen make room
  By our great hero’s tomb!
 
Come soldiers—not to battle as of yore,        25
  But come to weep; ay, shed, your noblest tears;
  For lo, the stubborn chief, who knew not fears,
Lies cold at last, ye shall not see him more,
  How long grim Death he fought and well,
  That poor, lean frame doth tell.        30
 
All’s over now; here let our Captain rest,
  Silent among the blare of praise and blame;
  Here let him rest, while never rests his fame;
Here in the city’s heart he loved the best,
  And where our sons his tomb may see        35
  To make them brave as he;—
 
As brave as he—he on whose iron arm
  Our Greatest leaned, our gentlest and most wise;
  Leaned when all other help seemed mocking lies,
While this one soldier checked the tide of harm,        40
  And they together saved the state,
  And made it free and great.
 
 
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