Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LOST COLORS, by MARY A. BARR

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE LOST COLORS, by            
First Line: Twas on the crimea's dreary plain
Last Line: The humbled colors proudly float.
Subject(s): Crimean War (1853-1856); Flags

'TWAS on the Crimea's dreary plain,
When England fought the Russian power;
A regiment 'mid fiery rain,
Forgot in some tremendous hour
To keep their honor fair and bright,
But ere the victory was won,
Smitten with pallid coward fright,
The post of duty left, and run.

Next morn they keenly felt their shame;
With drooping heads upon parade,
They heard the stern, cold words of blame
That robbed each soldier of his grade:
"You have disgraced the flag you bore,
And stain'd what once was fair and bright;
Your hands shall never bear it more—
Without your colors you must fight."

For many weeks they had their shame,
Of freezing watch and fiery strife:
Their punishment was hard to bear;
A constant shame outwearies life.
With contrite words they asked again
The colors that should o'er them wave.
And vowed "to keep them free from stain,
The colors of the True and Brave."

The General said, "It may be so,
Yon hill with men and cannon black
Must be retaken;—they who go
To do that work must not turn back,
But"—(pointing to the topmost peak
Where Russian flags were flying fair)
"This is the hopeful word I speak,
Your colors, soldiers, are up there."

Each sought his captain's kindling eye,
Then in a moment turn'd about;
They meant to take the hill, or die,
As up they went with ringing shout.
And the great army, watching, saw
The victory, not too dearly bought,
When on the very topmost tower,
The humbled colors proudly float.

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