JOHN PELHAM by James Ryder Randall (1839-1908)

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 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; 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 Of our immortal youth. A clang of sabres 'mid Virginia snow, The fiery rush of shells -- And there's a wail of immemorial woe In Alabama dells. The pennon drops that led the sabered 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, While 'round the lips and eyes, Couched in the marble slumber, flashed the grace Of a divine surprise. Oh, Mother of a blessed soul on high! Thy tears may soon be shed -- 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 reknown -- He -- with the martyr's amaranthine wreath Twining the victor's crown! --March 17, 1863


This page is
Last modified 16-April-2001