THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD by Theodore O'Hara (1820-1867)The muffled drum's sad roll has beat The soldier's last tattoo; No more on Life's parade shall meet That brave and fallen few. On Fame's eternal camping-ground Their silent tents are spread, And Glory guards, with solemn round, The bivouac of the dead. No rumor of the foe's advance Now swells upon the wind; No troubled thought at midnight haunts Of loved ones left behind; No vision of the morrow's strife The warrior's dream alarms; No braying horn nor screaming fife At dawn shall call to arms. Their shivered swords are red with rust; Their plumed heads are bowed Their haughty banner, trailed with dust, Is now their martial shroud. And plenteous funeral tears have washed The red stains from each brow, And the proud forms, by battle gashed, Are free from anguish now. The neighing troop, the flashing blade, The bugle's stirring blast, The charge, the dreadful cannonade, The din and shout are past; Nor war's wild note, nor glory's peal, Shall thrill with fierce delight Those breasts that nevermore may feel The rapture of the fight.... Rest on, embalmed and sainted dead! Dear as the blood ye gave, No impious footstep here shall tread The herbage of your grave; Nor shall your story be forgot, While Fame her record keeps, Or Honor points the hallowed spot Where Valor proudly sleeps.
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Last modified 18-April-2001