Verse > Anthologies > J. C. Squire, ed. > A Book of Women’s Verse
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J. C. Squire, ed.  A Book of Women’s Verse.  1921.
 
Sixteen Dead Men
By Dora Sigerson Shorter (1866–1918)
 
HARK! in the still night. Who goes there?
    ‘Fifteen dead men.’ Why do they wait?
‘Hasten, comrade, death is so fair.’
    Now comes their Captain through the dim gate.
 
Sixteen dead men! What on their sword?        5
    ‘A nation’s honour proud do they bear.’
What on their bent heads? ‘God’s holy word;
    All of their nation’s heart blended in prayer.’
 
Sixteen dead men! What makes their shroud?
    ‘All of their nation’s love wraps them around.’        10
Where do their bodies lie, brave and so proud?
    ‘Under the gallows-tree in prison-ground.’
 
Sixteen dead men! Where do they go?
    ‘To join their regiment where Sarsfield leads;
Wolfe Tone and Emmet, too, well do they know.        15
    There shall they bivouac, telling great deeds.’
 
Sixteen dead men! Shall they return?
    ‘Yea, they shall come again, breath of our breath.
They on our nation’s hearth made old fires burn.
    Guard her unconquered soul, strong in their death.’        20
 
 
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