Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
738. John Pelham
By James Ryder Randall
JUST as the spring came laughing through the strife,
    With all its gorgeous cheer,
In the bright April of historic life
    Fell the great cannoneer.
The wondrous lulling of a hero’s breath        5
    His bleeding country weeps;
Hushed, in the alabaster arms of Death,
    Our young Marcellus sleeps.
Nobler and grander than the child of Rome,
    Curbing his chariot steeds,        10
The knightly scion of a Southern home
    Dazzled the land with deeds.
Gentlest and bravest in the battle-brunt—
    The Champion of the Truth—
He bore his banner to the very front        15
    Of our immortal youth.
A clang of sabres mid Virginian snow,
    The fiery pang of shells,—
And there ’s a wail of immemorial woe
    In Alabama dells:        20
The pennon drops, that led the sacred band
    Along the crimson field;
The meteor blade sinks from the nerveless hand,
    Over the spotless shield.
We gazed and gazed upon that beauteous face,        25
    While, round the lips and eyes,
Couched in their marble slumber, flashed the grace
    Of a divine surprise.
O, mother of a blessëd soul on high,
    Thy tears may soon be shed!        30
Think of thy boy, with princes of the sky,
    Among the Southern dead!
How must he smile on this dull world beneath,
    Fevered with swift renown—
He, with the martyr’s amaranthine wreath,        35
    Twining the victor’s crown!


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