Poems / William Cullen Bryant [electronic text]

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Title
Poems / William Cullen Bryant [electronic text]
Author
Bryant, William Cullen, 1794-1878
Publication
New York: Harper and Brothers
1840
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"Poems / William Cullen Bryant [electronic text]." In the digital collection American Verse Project. https://name.umdl.umich.edu/BAD0508.0001.001. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 24, 2024.

Pages

THE BATTLE-FIELD.

ONCE this soft turf, this rivulet's sands, Were trampled by a hurrying crowd, And fiery hearts and armed hands Encountered in the battle cloud.
Ah! never shall the land forget How gushed the life-blood of her brave— Gushed, warm with hope and courage yet, Upon the soil they fought to save.
Now, all is calm, and fresh, and still, Alone the chirp of flitting bird, And talk of children on the hill, And bell of wandering kine are heard.
No solemn host goes trailing by The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain, Men start not at the battle cry, Oh be it never heard again.
Soon rested those who fought; but thou Who minglest in the harder strife For truths which men receive not now, Thy warfare only ends with life.

Page 269

A friendless warfare! lingering long Through weary day and weary year. A wild and many-weaponed throng Hang on thy front, and flank, and rear.
Yet, nerve thy spirit to the proof, And blench not at thy chosen lot. The timid good may stand aloof, The sage may frown—yet faint thou not.
Nor heed the shaft too surely cast, The hissing, stinging bolt of scorn; For with thy side shall dwell, at last, The victory of endurance born.
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again; The eternal years of God are hers; But error, wounded, writhes with pain, And dies among his worshippers.
Yea, though thou lie upon the dust, When they who helped thee flee in fear, Die full of hope and manly trust, Like those who fell in battle here.
Another hand thy sword shall wield, Another hand the standard wave, Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed The blast of triumph o'er thy grave.
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