Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Southern States: Chickamauga, the River, Tenn.
Chickamauga River
Hezekiah Butterworth (1839–1905)
 
AGAIN the wandering breezes bring
  The music of the sheaves;
Again the crickets chirp and sing
  Among the golden leaves.
Twelve times the springs have oped the rills,        5
  Twelve amber autumns sighed,
Since hung the war-cloud o’er the hills,
  The year that Charlie died.
 
The springs return; the roses blow,
  And croon the bird and bee,        10
And flutes the ring-dove’s love-call low,
  Along the Tennessee;
But one dear voice, one cherished tone,
  Returns to me—ah, never!
For Charlie fills a grave unknown,        15
  By Chickamauga River.
 
Kind Nature sets her blossoms there,
  And fall the vernal rains;
But we may lay no garlands fair
  Above his loved remains.        20
A white stone marks an empty grave
  Our household graves beside,
And his dear name to it we gave
  The year that Charlie died.
 
The winds of fall were breathing low,        25
  The swallow left the eaves;
We heard the hollow bugles blow,
  When fell the harvest sheaves.
And swift the mustering squadrons passed,
  We thought of Charlie ever,—        30
And swift the blue brigades were massed
  By Chickamauga River.
 
Along the mountain spurs we saw
  The wreaths of smoke ascend;
And, all the Sabbath day, in awe,        35
  We watched the war cloud blend
With fall’s cerulean sky, and dim
  The wooded mountain side,—
Oh, how our hearts then beat for him,
  The year that Charlie died!        40
 
How Thomas thundered past when broke
  The wavering echelon!
How down the sky in flame and smoke
  Low sunk the copper sun;
The still night came, and who were saved        45
  And who were called to sever,
We could not tell; our banner waved
  By Chickamauga River.
 
And some returned with happy feet,
  But never at our door        50
The fair-haired boy we used to meet
  Came back to greet us more.
But memory seems to hear the fall
  Of steps at eventide,
And all the changing years recall        55
  The year that Charlie died.
 
Yet such a gift of God as he
  ’T is blessed to have cherished;
And they shall ever stainless be
  Who ’ve nobly fought and perished.        60
He nobly died, and he can know
  No dark dishonor ever,
But green the grass for him shall grow
  By Chickamauga River.
 
Again I see the mountains blaze        65
  In autumn’s amber light;
Again I see in shimmering haze
  The valleys long and bright.
Old Lookout Mountain towers afar
  As when, in lordly pride,        70
It plumed its head with flags of war
  The year that Charlie died.
 
On wooded Mission Ridge increase
  The fruited fields of fall,
And Chattanooga sleeps in peace        75
  Beneath her mountain wall.
O Country, free from sea to sea,
  With union blest forever,
Not vainly heroes died for thee
  By Chickamauga River!        80
 
 
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