Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Warrior’s Return
By William Leggett (1801–1839)
 
STILL, still is that heart, lovely maid! erst so warm,
And pale thy fair cheek, and thy once lovely form
Is cold as the marble that bends o’er thy tomb—
Thou art gone in the pride of thy youth and thy bloom!
 
There were friends weeping o’er thee, as death dimm’d thine eye;        5
There was one standing by thee who breathed not a sigh:
By him not a murmur of sorrow was spoken—
But he thought of thy fate with a heart that was broken!
 
His mind as he stood there had travell’d far back
Through the vista of years, o’er life’s desolate track,        10
To those warm sunny hours when his bosom was young,
And when on thy accents delighted he hung.
 
Then he left thee to mourn o’er his absence and pass’d
To where flouted war’s banner and sounded her blast—
And he thought of the battle-field gory and red,        15
The despair of the dying, the blood that was shed:
 
Then a dim dungeon vault next arose on his sight,
Where no voice ever entered, no glimmering of light,
But in darkness and horror months, years pass’d away,
Till he wish’d for that night which endureth for aye!        20
 
He died not—but after long time was set free;
Then how bounded his heart at remembrance of thee!
To the maiden he loves with what ardor he’s flying!
He rushes to meet thee—behold thou art dying!
 
He stood by thy couch as life faded away;        25
With a firm step he walk’d in thy funeral array;
No sigh rent his bosom, no tear-drop did start—
But what language can picture his anguish of heart!
 
To the battle he hasted, and reckless of life,
His war-cry was heard ’mid the wildest of strife:        30
When the conflict was past he was sought for in vain,
And he never return’d to his country again.
 
 
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