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Come Up From the Fields, Father.

Part of the cluster DRUM-TAPS.

Come Up from the Fields, Father.


1COME up from the fields, father, here's a letter from  
 our Pete;
And come to the front door, mother—here's a letter  
 from thy dear son.


2Lo, 'tis autumn; Lo, where the trees, deeper green, yellower and redder; Cool and sweeten Ohio's villages, with leaves fluttering  
 in the moderate wind;
Where apples ripe in the orchards hang, and grapes on  
 the trellis'd vines;
(Smell you the smell of the grapes on the vines? Smell you the buckwheat, where the bees were lately  
3Above all, lo, the sky, so calm, so transparent after  
 the rain, and with wondrous clouds;
Below, too, all calm, all vital and beautiful—and the  
 farm prospers well.


4Down in the fields all prospers well; But now from the fields come, father—come at the  
 daughter's call;
And come to the entry, mother—to the front door come,  
 right away.
5Fast as she can she hurries—something ominous—  
 her steps trembling;
She does not tarry to smooth her hair, nor adjust her  
6Open the envelope quickly;   [ begin page 279 ]ppp.00270.281.jpg O this is not our son's writing, yet his name is sign'd; O a strange hand writes for our dear son—O stricken  
 mother's soul!
All swims before her eyes—flashes with black—she  
 catches the main words only;
Sentences broken—gun-shot wound in the breast, cavalry  
  skirmish, taken to hospital,
At present low, but will soon be better.


7Ah, now the single figure to me, Amid all teeming and wealthy Ohio, with all its cities  
 and farms,
Sickly white in the face, and dull in the head, very faint, By the jamb of a door leans.
8 Grieve not so, dear mother, (the just-grown daughter  
 speaks through her sobs;
The little sisters huddle around, speechless and dis- 
See, dearest mother, the letter says Pete will soon be better.


9Alas, poor boy, he will never be better, (nor may-be  
 needs to be better, that brave and simple soul;)
While they stand at home at the door, he is dead  
The only son is dead.
10But the mother needs to be better; She, with thin form, presently drest in black; By day her meals untouch'd—then at night fitfully  
 sleeping, often waking,
In the midnight waking, weeping, longing with one deep  
O that she might withdraw unnoticed—silent from life,  
 escape and withdraw,
To follow, to seek, to be with her dear dead son.

Part of the cluster DRUM-TAPS.

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