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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 Chalmers Harbaugh (1849–1924)

[Born in Middletown, Md., 1849. Died in Miami Co., Ohio, 1924.]

IT seemed to me that yesternight

I heard the branches sighing

Beneath my window, soft and low:

“The great war chief is dying!”

His marches o’er, his battles won,

His bright sword sheathed forever,

The grand old soldier stands beside

The dark and silent river;

Whilst fame for him a chaplet weaves

Within her fairest bowers,

Of Shiloh’s never-fading leaves,

And Donelson’s bright flowers;

Grim Vicksburg gives a crimson rose,

Embalmed in deathless story,

And Appomattox adds a star

To crown the wreath of glory.

He’s dying now! the angel Death,

Insatiate and impartial,

With icy fingers, stoops to touch

The Union’s old field-marshal,

Who, like a soldier brave, awaits

The summons so appalling,

While o’er the land, from sea to sea,

The silent tear is falling.

Still in his veterans’ hearts to-day

His battle-drums are beating;

His bugles always blew advance—

With him was no retreating;

And tenderly, with moistened eye,

Columbia bends above him,

And everywhere the sorrowed heart

Tells how the people love him.

From golden-fruited orange groves

To where the pines are sighing,

The winds waft messages of love

To Grant, the hero, dying.

The Old World sends across the wave

A token of its sorrow;

The greatest chief alive to-day

May fall asleep to-morrow.

O touch the hero gently, Death!

The land is filled with weeping,

And be his passing like a child’s—

The counterfeit of sleeping.

A million boys in blue now stand

Around their dying brother;

The mighty world knows but one Grant,

’Twill never know another.

So let him die with honors crowned

To live fore’er in story;

The fields he won, the land he saved,

Will be his lasting glory.

O mighty Ajax of the North!

Old field-marshal immortal!

My saddened heart’s with thee to-day

Before the darkened portal.

I listened to the winds last night,

How mournful was their sighing!

It seemed to me a nation’s sobs

O’er Grant, the soldier, dying.

O touch him, touch him softly, Death,

Insatiate and impartial;

He is the Union’s mightiest chief—

My cherished old field-marshal!

April, 1885.