Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FOR DECORATION DAY: 1898-1899, by RUPERT HUGHES

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

FOR DECORATION DAY: 1898-1899, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: And now the long, long lines of the nation's graves
Last Line: In grand review swing past the throne of god.
Subject(s): Holidays; Memorial Day; Spanish-american War (1898); Declaration Day

AND now the long, long lines of the Nation's graves
Grow longer; and the venerate slopes reveal
The fresh spring turf gashed thick with tombs to seal
So hang black garlands from the architraves
Of all the capitols. The dying peal
Of bugles wails their final Taps. So kneel
And give the dead the due their virtue craves.
Thank God, the olden sinew still is bred;
The milk of American mothers still is sweet;
The sword of Seventy-six is sharp and bright;
The Flag still floats unblotted with defeat!
But ah the blood that keeps its ripples red,
The starry lives that keep its field alight;
The pangs of women and the tears they've bled

The Lord enlarge our spirits till we feel
The greatness of these spirits upward fled.
A kind of genius it has been that fed
Them strength to be, above all passions, leal.
They put aside the velvet for the steel,
Left love, and hope, and ease at home; and sped
To the wilderness of war and every dread.
Their blood is mortar for our commonweal;
Their deeds its decoration and its boast.
So mix with dirges, triumph; smiles, with tears.
Make sorrow perfect with exultant pride --
Our vanished armies have not truly died;
They march to-day before the heavenly host;
And history's veterans raise a storm of cheers,
As the Yankee troops -- with glory armed and shod --
In Grand Review swing past the throne of God.

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