…from the quills of the dead white poets
Thomas Campbell (1777-1844)
Our bugles sang truce, for the night-cloud had lower’d,
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky;
And thousands had sunk on the ground overpower’d,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
When reposing that night on my pallet of straw
By the wolf-scaring faggot that guarded the slain,
And thrice ere morning I dreamt it again.
Methought from the battle-field’s dreadful array
Far, far I had roam’d on a desolate track:
‘Twas Autumn, – and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.
I flew to the pleasant fields traversed so oft
In life’s morning march, when my bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,
And I knew the sweet strain that the corn-reapers sung.
Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore
From my home and my weeping friends never to part;
My little ones kiss’d me a thousand time o’er,
And my wife sobb’d aloud in her fullness of heart.
‘Stay – stay with us! – rest! – thou are weary and worn!’ -
And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay; -
But sorrow return’d with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.