« PreviousContinue »
I crept, and crept up the ghastly ridge, by the wounded
and the dead, With the moans of my comrades right and left, behind
me and yet ahead, Till I came to the form of our Drummer Boy, in his
blouse of dusty blue, With his face to the foe, 'neath the enemy's guns, where
the blast of the battle blew.
And his gaze as he met my own just there would have
melted a heart of stone, As he tried like a wounded bird to rise, and placed his
hand in my own; And he said in a voice half smothered, though its
whispering thrills me yet, “I think in a moment more that I would have stood on
“But now I nevermore will climb, and, Sergeant, when
The men go up those breastworks there, just stop and
For though I cannot make the charge and join the
cheers that rise, I may forget my pain to see the old flag kiss the skies." Well, it was hard to treat him so, his
poor limb shattered sore, But I raised him on my shoulder and to the surgeon
bore, And the boys who saw us coming each gave a shout of
joy, And uttered fervent prayers for him, our valiant
When sped the news that “Fighting Joe" had saved
the Union right, With his legends fresh from Lookout; and that Thomas
massed his might, And forced the rebel centre; and our cheering ran like
wild; And Sherman's heart was happy as the heart of a little
child, When Grant from his lofty outlook saw our flags by the
hundred fly Along the slopes of Mission Ridge, where'er he cast his
eye; And when we heard the thrilling news of the mighty
battle done, The fearful contest ended, and the glorious victory won; Then his bright, black eyes so yearning, grew strangely
rapt and wild; And in that hour of conquest our little hero died. But ever in our hearts he dwells, with a grace that ne'er
is old, For him the heart to duty wed can nevermore grow
cold! And when they tell of heroes, and the laurels they have
won, Of the scars they are doomed to carry, of the deeds that
they have done; Of the horror to be biding among the ghastly dead, The gory sod beneath them, the bursting shell o'er head; My heart goes back to Mission Ridge and the Drummer
Boy who lay With his face to the foe, 'neath the enemy's guns, in the
charge of that terrible day;
And I say that the land that bears such sons is crowned
and dowered with all The dear God giveth nations to stay them lest they fall,
Oh, glory of Mission Ridge, stream on, like the roseate
light of morn On the sons that now are living, on the sons that are yet
unborn! And cheers for our comrades living, and tears as they
pass away! And three times three for the Drummer Boy who fought
at the front that day!
From an address delivered at the unveiling of the statue of The Pilgrim,
in Central Park, New York, June, 1885.
HE Puritan came to America seeking freedom to
worship God. He meant only freedom to worship God in his own way, not in the Quaker way, not in the Baptist way, not in the Church of England way. But the seed that he brought was immortal. His purpose was to feed with it his own barnyard fowl, but it quickened into an illimitable forest, covering a continent with grateful shade, the home of every bird that flies. Freedom to worship God is universal freedom, a free State as well as a free Church, and that was the inexorable but unconscious logic of Puritanism. Holding that the true rule of religious faith and worship was written in the Bible, and that every man must read and judge for himself, the Puritan conceived the Church as a body of independent scekers and interpreters of the truth, dispensing with priests and priestly orders and functions ; organizing itself and calling no man master. But this sense of equality before God and toward each other in the religious congregation, affecting and adjusting the highest and most eternal of all human relations, that of man to his Maker, applied itself instinctively to the relation of man to man in human society, and thus popular government flowed out of the Reformation, and the Republic became the natural political expression of Puritanism. Banished, moreover, by the pitiless English persecution, the Puritans, exiles and poor in a foreign land, a colony in Holland before they were a colony in America, were compelled to self-government, to a common sympathy and support, to bearing one another's burdens, and so by the stern experience of actual life they were trained in the virtues most essential for the fulfillment of their august but unimagined destiny. The patriots of the Continental Congress seemed to Lord Chatham imposing beyond the lawgivers of Greece and Rome. The Constitutional Convention a hundred years ago was assembly so wise that its accomplished work is reverently received by continuous generations as the children of Israel received the tables of the law which Moses brought down from the holy mount. Happy, thrice happy, the people which to such scenes in their history can add the simple grandeur of the spectacle in the cabin of the Mayflower, the Puritans signing the compact which was but the formal expression of the Government that voluntarily they had established—the scene which makes Plymouth Rock a stepping-stone from the freedom of the solitary Alps and the disputed liberties of England to the fully developed, constitutional, and well-ordered Republic of the United States.
Here in this sylvan seclusion, amid the sunshine and the singing of birds, we raise the statue of the Pilgrim, that in this changeless form the long procession of the generations which shall follow us may see what manner of man he was to the outward eye, whom history and tradition have so often flouted and traduced, but who walked undismayed the solitary heights of duty and of everlasting service to mankind. Here let him stand, the soldier of a free church, calmly defying the hierarchy, the builder of a free State serenely confronting the continent which he shall settle and subdue. The unspeaking lips shall chide our unworthiness, the lofty mien exalt our littleness, the unblenching eye invigorate our weakness, and the whole poised and firmly planted form reveal the unconquerable moral energy-the master force of American civilization. So stood the sentinel on Sabbath morning guarding the plain house of prayer while wife and child and neighbor worshiped within. So mused the pilgrim in the rapt sunset hour on the New England shore, his soul caught up into the dazzling vision of the future, beholding the glory of the Nation that should be. And so may that Nation stand forever and forever, the mighty guardian of human liberty, of Godlike justice, of Christlike brotherhood.
GEO. WILLIAM CURTIS.
THE CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN.
YOME, Johnnie Miller, tak' these doggies
Down to the burn and drown them a';
And mind ye dinna fa'.”