Orson's Farewell.

A poem by Nora Pembroke


One of the victims of the Southern Prisons.

Sit by me comrade, thou and I have stood
Shoulder to shoulder on the battle-field,
And bore us there like men of British blood,
But comrade this is death, and I must yield.

You have been leal, my friend, and true and tried
In battle, in captivity of me;
Since we went up to worship side by side
O'er the green hills I never more shall see.

From this dread prison pen, thou shalt go forth;
But I, I know it, never more shall rise,
Nor see my home in the cool pleasant North,
Nor see again my wife's dark mournful eyes.

Nor see my children, every shining head
And merry eye, for what know they of grief;
'Twill still their play to know that I am dead;
But childhood's woe, thank God, is always brief.

Try to cheer Annie in her widowed woe;
Let her hear words of comfort at thy mouth;
But, friend, I charge thee, do not let her know
Aught of the tender mercies of the South.

Tell her that I have never been alone,
One like the Son of Man was by my side;
The Everlasting arms were round me thrown
Of my dear Lord who for our freedom died.

I don't regret, that though of British birth,
I have been true to the cause unto death;
'Tis not alone the Union, or the North,
It is the people's cause o'er all the earth.

And it shall prosper, and this slaughter pen
Shall be a monument of Southern chivalry
Before the world;--thus proving to all men
Slave power begets and sanctions cruelty.

From here went up for years the bondman's cry;
In the same glaring sun and rotting dew,
The white war-prisoners' cry of agony
To the great God of Battles rises too.

And He, who was by suffering perfected,
Watches the nation's life, the captive's pain;
And from the strife, beside her martyred dead,
With shield blood-cleansed from slavery's broad stain,

Columbia shall arise renewed, and wear
Her coronet of stars, and round her fold
Her robe of stripes, by righteousness made fair,
Which still exalts the nations as of old.

But I shall rest upon the other side,
Rest in that place of which no tongue can tell,
And thitherward my wife and babes He'll guide;
Friend, life's for thee, and death for me, Farewell'

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