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Confederate Cemeteries

The Bivouac of the Dead
by Theodore O'Hara
The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldiers' last tatoo
No more on Life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread
And glory guards with solemn round
the bivouac of the dead.

No rumor of the foe's advance
Now swells upon the wind
Nor troubled thought at midnight haunts,
Of loved ones left behind;
No vision of the morrow's strife
The warrior's dreams alarms;
No braying horn nor screaming fife
At dawn shall call to arms.

Their shriveled swords are red with rust,
Their plumed heads are bowed,
Their haughty banner, trailed in dust,
Is now their martial shroud.
And plentious funeral tears have washed
The red stains from each brow,
And the proud forms, by battle gashed
Are free from anguish now.

The neighing troop, the flashing blade,
The bugle's stirring blast,
The charge, the dreadful cannonade,
The din and shout, are past;
Nor war's wild note, nor glory's peal
Shall thrill with fierce delight
Those breasts that nevermore may feel
The rapture of the fight.

Rest on, embalmed and sainted dead,
Dear as the blood you gave;
No impious footstep here shall tread,
The herbage of your grave.
Nor shall your glory be forgot,
While fame her record keeps
Or honor points the hallowed spot
Where valor proudly sleeps.

Yon marble minstrel's voiceless stone
In deathless song shall tell,
When many a vanquished ago has flown,
The story how ye fell;
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight,
Nor time's remorseless doom,
Can dim one ray of glory's light
That gilds your deathless tomb.

 

 

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