Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Western States: Big Horn, the River, Montana Ter.


By Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908)

WHAT! shall that sudden blade

Leap out no more?

No more thy hand be laid

Upon the sword-hilt, smiting sore?

O for another such

The charger’s rein to clutch,—

One equal voice to summon victory,

Sounding thy battle-cry,

Brave darling of the soldiers’ choice!

Would there were one more voice!

O gallant charge, too bold!

O fierce, imperious greed

To pierce the clouds that in their darkness hold

Slaughter of man and steed!

Now, stark and cold,

Among thy fallen braves thou liest,

And even with thy blood defiest

The wolfish foe:

But ah, thou liest low,

And all our birthday song is hushed indeed!

Young lion of the plain,

Thou of the tawny mane!

Hotly the soldiers’ hearts shall beat,

Their mouths thy death repeat,

Their vengeance seek the trail again

Where thy red doomsmen be;

But on the charge no more shall stream

Thy hair,—no more thy sabre gleam,—

No more ring out thy battle-shout,

Thy cry of victory!

Not when a hero falls

The sound a world appalls:

For while we plant his cross

There is a glory, even in the loss:

But when some craven heart

From honor dares to part,

Then, then, the groan, the blanching cheek,

And men in whispers speak,

Nor kith nor country dare reclaim

From the black depths his name.

Thou, wild young warrior, rest,

By all the prairie winds caressed!

Swift was thy dying pang;

Even as the war-cry rang

Thy deathless spirit mounted high

And sought Columbia’s sky:—

There, to the northward far,

Shines a new star,

And from it blazes down

The light of thy renown!