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Beechenbrook A Rhyme of the War   By: (1820-1897)

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First Page:

BEECHENBROOK;

A Rhyme of the War.

BY

MARGARET J. PRESTON.

BALTIMORE: KELLY & PIET, PUBLISHERS, 174 BALTIMORE STREET, 1866.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by KELLY & PIET, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Maryland.

Dedication.

TO EVERY SOUTHERN WOMAN, WHO HAS BEEN Widowed by the War, I DEDICATE THIS RHYME, PUBLISHED DURING THE PROGRESS OF THE STRUGGLE AND NOW RE PRODUCED AS A Faint Memorial of Sufferings, OF WHICH THERE CAN BE NO FORGETFULNESS.

M.J.P.

BEECHENBROOK;

A

RHYME OF THE WAR.

I.

There is sorrow in Beechenbrook Cottage; the day Has been bright with the earliest glory of May; The blue of the sky is as tender a blue As ever the sunshine came shimmering through: The songs of the birds and the hum of the bees, As they merrily dart in and out of the trees, The blooms of the orchard, as sifting its snows, It mingles its odors with hawthorn and rose, The voice of the brook, as it lapses unseen, The laughter of children at play on the green, Insist on a picture so cheerful, so fair, Who ever would dream that a grief could be there!

The last yellow sunbeam slides down from the wall, The purple of evening is ready to fall; The gladness of daylight is gone, and the gloom Of something like sadness is over the room. Right bravely all day, with a smile on her brow, Has Alice been true to her duty, but now Her tasks are all ended, naught inside or out, For the thoughtfullest love to be busy about; The knapsack well furnished, the canteen all bright, The soldier's grey dress and his gauntlets in sight, The blanket tight strapped, and the haversack stored, And lying beside them, the cap and the sword; No last, little office, no further commands, No service to steady the tremulous hands; All wife work, the sweet work that busied her so, Is finished: the dear one is ready to go.

Not a sob has escaped her all day, not a moan; But now the tide rushes, for she is alone. On the fresh, shining knapsack she pillows her head, And weeps as a mourner might weep for the dead. She heeds not the three year old baby at play, As donning the cap, on the carpet he lay; Till she feels on her forehead, his fingers' soft tips, And on her shut eyelids, the touch of his lips.

"Mamma is so sorry! Mamma is so sad! But Archie can make her look up and be glad: I've been praying to God, as you told me to do, That Papa may come back when the battle is thro': He says when we pray, that our prayers shall be heard; And Mamma, don't you always know, God keeps his word?"

Around the young comforter stealthily press The arms of his father with sudden caress; Then fast to his heart, love and duty at strife, He snatches with fondest emotion, his wife.

"My own love! my precious! I feel I am strong; I know I am brave in opposing the wrong; I could stand where the battle was fiercest, nor feel One quiver of nerve at the flash of the steel; I could gaze on the enemy guiltless of fears, But I quail at the sight of your passionate tears: My calmness forsakes me, my thoughts are a whirl, And the stout hearted man is as weak as a girl. I've been proud of your fortitude; never a trace Of yielding, all day, could I read in your face; But a look that was resolute, dauntless and high, As ever flashed forth from a patriot's eye. I know how you cling to me, know that to part Is tearing the tenderest cords of your heart: Through the length and the breadth of our Valley to day, No hand will a costlier sacrifice lay On the altar of Country; and Alice, sweet wife! I never have worshipped you so in my life! Poor heart, that has held up so brave in the past, Poor heart! must it break with its burden at last?"

The arms thrown about him, but tighten their hold, The cheek that he kisses, is ashy and cold, And bowed with the grief she so long has suppressed, She weeps herself quiet and calm on his breast... Continue reading book >>




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