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Poetic Reflections

Who was killed at Gettysburg
July 3rd, 1861

Mrs. S. A. Nichols

Where the hillside slopes to the southern sun,
And a rambling orchard buds and blows
A lone grave sleeps in the waiving grass,
Or hides neath the deep New England snows.

Long years ago, in his quiet rest,
They laid a husband and father there,
The burden of life, was a weary load
To great for his feeble strength to bear.

And the young wife sat, in her stricken home,
With her fair haired boy upon her knee
Numbed with sorrow, too deep for words,
Alone in her fearful agony.

Through days and nights she wrestled and strove,
Beating the tide of anguish back,
That her hand might be strong to guide her son
Wisely and well, on life's devious track.

And at last in his manhood's glorious strength
He stood; the light of her widowed home;
And asked her to lay on her country's shrine
The priceless gem he thought her own.

Under the shimmering light of the moon,
The grave in orchard, peaceful lay,
And her tried , true heart dared only to ask
"If his father was living what would he say.quot;

Well she knew , that the loyal man,
Would give his treasure, his life, his son,
To aid the periled cause of right,
And she must do as he would have done.

So she laid, for a time the terror aside,
And blest her boy with tearless eye,
And sent him out from his love-crowned home,
In the smoke of the battlefield to die.

Then she turned to her household cares,
Doing the duty that nearest lay,
Patiently bearing the burden of life,
And not forgetting to pray.

Aye pray ;thou hast need, for thy fair haired son
Sleeps now at Gettysburg, gory and dim,
His blue eyes glassy, his fair hair torn!
Pray for thyself, mother, not for him.

Source: Williams, J.C. "History and Map Of Danby Vermont" Rutland: McLean and Robbins, 1869; Contributed by Thomas Risdon Baine

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