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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889


By Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823–1911)

“Manibus o date lilia plenis.”

’MID the flower-wreathed tombs I stand

Bearing lilies in my hand.

Comrades! in what soldier-grave

Sleeps the bravest of the brave?

Is it he who sank to rest

With his colors round his breast?

Friendship makes his tomb a shrine;

Garlands veil it; ask not mine.

One low grave, yon trees beneath,

Bears no roses, wears no wreath;

Yet no heart more high and warm

Ever dared the battle-storm,

Never gleamed a prouder eye

In the front of victory,

Never foot had firmer tread

On the field where Hope lay dead,

Than are hid within this tomb,

Where the untended grasses bloom;

And no stone, with feigned distress,

Mocks the sacred loneliness.

Youth and beauty, dauntless will,

Dreams that life could ne’er fulfil,

Here lie buried; here in peace

Wrongs and woes have found release.

Turning from my comrades’ eyes,

Kneeling where a woman lies,

I strew lilies on the grave

Of the bravest of the brave.

NEWPORT, R. I., Decoration Day, 1878.