Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Death of Jasper

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

Southern States: Savannah, Ga.

The Death of Jasper

By Robert M. Charlton (1807–1854)

’T WAS amidst a scene of blood,

On a bright autumnal day,

When misfortune like a flood

Swept our fairest hopes away;

’T was on Savannah’s plain,

On the spot we love so well,

Amid heaps of gallant slain,

That the daring Jasper fell!

He had borne him in the fight,

Like a soldier in his prime,

Like a bold and stalwart knight,

Of the glorious olden time;

And unharmed by sabre-blow,

And untouched by leaden ball,

He had battled with the foe,

Till he heard the trumpet’s call.

But he turned him at the sound,

For he knew the strife was o’er,

That in vain on freedom’s ground

Had her children shed their gore;

So he slowly turned away,

With the remnant of the band,

Who, amid the bloody fray,

Had escaped the foeman’s hand.

But his banner caught his eye,

As it trailed upon the dust,

And he saw his comrade die,

Ere he yielded up his trust.

“To the rescue!” loud he cried,

“To the rescue, gallant men!”

And he dashed into the tide

Of the battle-stream again.

And then fierce the contest rose,

O’er its field of broidered gold,

And the blood of friends and foes

Stained alike its silken fold;

But, unheeding wound and blow,

He has snatched it midst the strife,

He has borne that flag away,

But its ransom is his life!

“To my father take my sword,”

Thus the dying hero said,

“Tell him that my latest word

Was a blessing on his head;

And when Death had seized my frame,

And uplifted was his dart,

That I ne’er forgot the name

Which was dearest to my heart.

“And tell her whose favor gave

This fair banner to our band,

That I died its folds to save,

From the foe’s polluting hand;

And let all my comrades hear,

When my form lies cold in death,

That their friend remained sincere

To his last expiring breath.”

It was thus that Jasper fell,

’Neath that bright autumnal sky;

Has a stone been reared to tell

Where he laid him down to die?

To the rescue, spirits bold!

To the rescue, gallant men!

Let the marble page unfold

All his daring deeds again!