Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SOLDIER'S FIRESIDE, AFTER A BATTLE, by M. T. C.

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First Line: They sat by the dying embers
Last Line: And hope for their country too.
Subject(s): American Civil War; Anxiety; Chancellorsville, Battle Of (1863); United States - History

They sat by the dying embers,
As the daylight fled away,
A sister, a wife, and a mother,
With hearts too heavy to pray.

Around the walls and the ceiling
The shadows clustered and clung,
Till the room seemed a chamber of mourning
With funeral drap'ry hung.

They had heard the news of the battle,
But not the names of the dead,
And in thought they were seeking their loved one
On a battle-field trampled and red.

The mother, in widow'd garments,
Sat upright with face of stone,
Striving bravely to bear both sorrows,
Her country's grief and her own.

Bent low was the wife's slight figure,
And her face, by her falling hair
And her clasped hands, was hidden,
In the depth of her despair.

Between these two, on the carpet,
The sister had knelt down,
With the large tears slowly stealing
From beneath the lashes brown.

But the baby of the household,
Who had missed her evening game,
Was fast asleep on the hearth-rug,
Unconscious of grief or shame;

The rosy lips were parted,
As the breath came softly through,
And the golden curls fell backward,
From the temples veined with blue;

And she seemed a holy vision,
An angel with Hope's pure light,
Sent down to dispel the terror
That clouded their souls that night.

The very fire in the chimney
Seemed trying to cheer their gloom,
For a sudden blaze set dancing
All the shadows in the room.

The mother's brow grew softer,
The sister faintly smiled,
And the wife lost half her anguish,
As she gazed upon the child.

Each thought of the loving Father
Who makes the brave soldier His care,
And their doubt and despair were routed
By the holy power of prayer;

And the morning proved that the baby
Had brought them a vision true,
For they had good news from their loved one,
And hope for their country too.

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