Dirge For Ashby.

A poem by Margaret J. Preston

Heard ye that thrilling word -
Accent of dread -
Flash like a thunderbolt,
Bowing each head -
Crash through the battle dun,
Over the booming gun -
"Ashby, our bravest one, -
Ashby is dead!"

Saw ye the veterans -
Hearts that had known
Never a quail of fear,
Never a groan -
Sob 'mid the fight they win,
- Tears their stern eyes within, -
"Ashby, our Paladin,
Ashby is gone!"

Dash, - dash the tear away -
Crush down the pain!
"Dulce et decus," be
Fittest refrain!
Why should the dreary pall
Round him be flung at all?
Did not our hero fall
Gallantly slain?

Catch the last word of cheer
Dropt from his tongue;
Over the volley's din,
Loud be it rung -
"Follow me! follow me!" -
Soldier, oh! could there be
P├Žan or dirge for thee,
Loftier sung!

Bold as the Lion-heart,
Dauntless and brave;
Knightly as knightliest
Bayard could crave;
Sweet with all Sidney's grace -
Tender as Hampden's face -
Who - who shall fill the space
Void by his grave?

'Tis not one broken heart,
Wild with dismay;
Crazed with her agony,
Weeps o'er his clay:
Ah! from a thousand eyes
Flow the pure tears that rise;
Widowed Virginia lies
Stricken to-day!

Yet - though that thrilling word -
Accent of dread -
Falls like a thunderbolt,
Bowing each head -
Heroes! be battle done
Bravelier every one,
Nerved by the thought alone -
Ashby is dead!

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