Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PLACE WHERE MAN SHOULD DIE, by MICHAEL JOSEPH BARRY

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First Line: How little recks it where men lie
Last Line: Is where he dies for man!
Subject(s): Freedom; Liberty

How little recks it where men lie,
When once the moment's past
In which the dim and glazing eye
Has looked on earth its last, --
Whether beneath the sculptured urn
The coffined form shall rest,
Or in its nakedness return
Back to its mother's breast!

Death is a common friend or foe,
As different men may hold,
And at his summons each must go,
The timid and the bold;
But when the spirit, free and warm,
Deserts it, as it must,
What matter where the lifeless form
Dissolves again to dust?

The soldier fails 'mid corses piled
Upon the battle-plain,
Where reinless war-steeds gallop wild
Above the mangled slain;
But though his corse be grim to see,
Hoof-trampled on the sod,
What recks it, when the spirit free
Has soared aloft to God?

The coward's dying eyes may close
Upon his downy bed,
And softest hands his limbs compose,
Or garments o'er them spread.
But ye who shun the bloody fray,
When fall the mangled brave,
Go -- strip his coffin-lid away,
And see him in his grave!

'T were sweet, indeed, to close our eyes,
With those we cherish near,
And, wafted upwards by their sighs,
Soar to some calmer sphere.
But whether on the scaffold high,
Or in the battle's van,
The fittest place where man can die
Is where he dies for man!

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