Skip to main content

Dirge for Two Veterans.

Part of the cluster DRUM-TAPS.



THE last sunbeam Lightly falls from the finish'd Sabbath, On the pavement here—and there beyond, it is looking,  
 Down a new-made double grave.


Lo! the moon ascending! Up from the east, the silvery round moon; Beautiful over the house-tops, ghastly, phantom moon;  
 Immense and silent moon.


I see a sad procession, And I hear the sound of coming full-key'd bugles;   [ begin page 291 ]ppp.00270.293.jpg All the channels of the city streets they're flooding,  
 As with voices and with tears.


I hear the great drums pounding, And the small drums steady whirring; And every blow of the great convulsive drums,  
 Strikes me through and through.


For the son is brought with the father; In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell; Two veterans, son and father, dropt together,  
 And the double grave awaits them.


Now nearer blow the bugles, And the drums strike more convulsive; And the day-light o'er the pavement quite has faded,  
 And the strong dead-march enwraps me.


In the eastern sky up-buoying, The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin'd; ('Tis some mother's large, transparent face,  
 In heaven brighter growing.)


O strong dead-march, you please me! O moon immense, with your silvery face you soothe me! O my soldiers twain! O my veterans, passing to burial!  
 What I have I also give you.


The moon gives you light, And the bugles and the drums give you music; And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,  
 My heart gives you love.

Part of the cluster DRUM-TAPS.

Back to top