Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter



610                       The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna

NOT a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
   As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
   O’er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night,
   The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam’s misty light
   And the lanthorn dimly burning.
No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
   Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
   With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said,
   And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
   And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought, as we hollow’d his narrow bed
   And smooth’d down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o’er his head,
   And we far away on the billow!
Lightly they’ll talk of the spirit that’s gone,
   And o’er his cold ashes upbraid him—
But little he’ll reck, if they let him sleep on
   In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done
   When the clock struck the hour for retiring:
And we heard the distant and random gun
   That the foe was sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
   From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,
   But we left him alone with his glory.

611                                                To Mary

IF I had thought thou couldst have died,
   I might not weep for thee;
But I forgot, when by thy side,
   That thou couldst mortal be:
It never through my mind had past
   The time would e’er be o’er,
And I on thee should look my last,
   And thou shouldst smile no more!
And still upon that face I look,
   And think ’twill smile again;
And still the thought I will not brook,
   That I must look in vain.
But when I speak—thou dost not say
   What thou ne’er left’st unsaid;
And now I feel, as well I may,
   Sweet Mary, thou art dead!
If thou wouldst stay, e’en as thou art,
   All cold and all serene—
I still might press thy silent heart,
   And where thy smiles have been.
While e’en thy chill, bleak corse I have,
   Thou seemest still mine own;
But there—I lay thee in thy grave,
   And I am now alone!

I do not think, where’er thou art,
   Thou hast forgotten me;
And I, perhaps, may soothe this heart
   In thinking too of thee:
Yet there was round thee such a dawn
   Of light ne’er seen before,
As fancy never could have drawn,
   And never can restore!


Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter