Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
IV. Peace
The Cause of the South
Abram Joseph Ryan (1838–1886)
From “Sentinel Songs”

THE FALLEN cause still waits,—
  Its bard has not come yet,
His song—through one of to-morrow’s gates
  Shall shine—but never set.
But when he comes—he ’ll sweep        5
  A harp with tears all stringed,
And the very notes he strikes will weep,
  As they come, from his hand, woe-winged.
Ah! grand shall be his strain,
  And his songs shall fill all climes,        10
And the Rebels shall rise and march again
  Down the lines of his glorious rhymes.
And through his verse shall gleam
  The swords that flashed in vain,
And the men who wore the gray shall seem        15
  To be marshalling again.
But hush! between his words
  Peer faces sad and pale,
And you hear the sound of broken chords
  Beat through the poet’s wail.        20
Through his verse the orphans cry—
  The terrible undertone!
And the father’s curse and the mother’s sigh,
  And the desolate young wife’s moan.
*        *        *        *        *
I sing, with a voice too low        25
  To be heard beyond to-day,
In minor keys of my people’s woe;
  And my songs pass away.
To-morrow hears them not—
  To-morrow belongs to fame:        30
My songs—like the birds’—will be forgot,
  And forgotten shall be my name.
And yet who knows! betimes
  The grandest songs depart,
While the gentle, humble, and low-toned rhymes        35
  Will echo from heart to heart.

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