Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
May 10
Under the Shade of the Trees
By Margaret J. Preston (1820–1897)
 
          Stonewall Jackson was shot by his own men while reconnoitring at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. He died on May 10.

WHAT are the thoughts that are stirring his breast?
  What is the mystical vision he sees?
—“Let us pass over the river, and rest
  Under the shade of the trees.”
 
Has he grown sick of his toils and his tasks?        5
  Sighs the worn spirit for respite or ease?
Is it a moment’s cool halt that he asks
  Under the shade of the trees?
 
Is it the gurgle of waters whose flow
  Ofttime has come to him, borne on the breeze,        10
Memory listens to, lapsing so low,
  Under the shade of the trees?
 
Nay—though the rasp of the flesh was so sore,
  Faith, that had yearnings far keener than these,
Saw the soft sheen of the Thitherward Shore        15
  Under the shade of the trees;—
 
Caught the high psalms of ecstatic delight—
  Heard the harps harping, like soundings of seas—
Watched earth’s assoiled ones walking in white
  Under the shade of the trees.        20
 
Oh, was it strange he should pine for release,
  Touched to the soul with such transports as these,—
He who so needed the balsam of peace,
  Under the shade of the trees?
 
Yes, it was noblest for him—it was best        25
  (Questioning naught of our Father’s decrees),
There to pass over the river and rest
  Under the shade of the trees!
 
 
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