March of the Deathless Dead

A poem by Abram Joseph Ryan

Gather the sacred dust
Of the warriors tried and true,
Who bore the flag of a Nation's trust
And fell in a cause, though lost, still just,
And died for me and you.

Gather them one and all,
From the private to the chief;
Come they from hovel or princely hall,
They fell for us, and for them should fall
The tears of a Nation's grief.

Gather the corpses strewn
O'er many a battle plain;
From many a grave that lies so lone,
Without a name and without a stone,
Gather the Southern slain.

We care not whence they came,
Dear in their lifeless clay!
Whether unknown, or known to fame,
Their cause and country still the same;
They died -- and wore the Gray.

Wherever the brave have died,
They should not rest apart;
Living, they struggled side by side,
Why should the hand of Death divide
A single heart from heart?

Gather their scattered clay,
Wherever it may rest;
Just as they marched to the bloody fray,
Just as they fell on the battle day,
Bury them, breast to breast.

The foeman need not dread
This gathering of the brave;
Without sword or flag, and with soundless tread,
We muster once more our deathless dead,
Out of each lonely grave.

The foeman need not frown,
They all are powerless now;
We gather them here and we lay them down,
And tears and prayers are the only crown
We bring to wreathe each brow.

And the dead thus meet the dead,
While the living o'er them weep;
And the men by Lee and Stonewall led,
And the hearts that once together bled,
Together still shall sleep.

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