Friday, September 21, 2012

One life for Liberty

Day 263

Nathan Hale 

By: Francis Miles Finch 

To drum-beat and heart-beat,
A soldier marches by;
There is color in his cheek,
There is courage in his eye,
Yet to drum-beat and heart-beat
In a moment he must die.

By the starlight and moonlight,
He seeks the Briton’s camp;
He hears the rustling flag
And the armed sentry’s tramp’
And the starlight and moonlight
His silent wanderings lamp.

With slow tread and still tread,
He scans the tented line;
 And he counts the battery gun,
By the gaunt and shadowy pine;
And his slow tread and still tread
Gives no warning sign.

The dark wave, the plumed wave,
It meets his eager glance;
And it sparkles ‘neath the stars,
Like the glimmer of a lance
A dark wave, and plumed wave,
On an emerald expanse.

A sharp clan, a still clang,
And terror in the sound!
For the sentry, falcon-eyed,
In the camp a spy hath found;
With a sharp clang, a steel clang,
The patriot is bound.

With calm brow, and steady brow,,
He listens to his doom;
IN his look there is no fear,
Nor a shadow-trace of gloom;
But with calm brow and steady brow,
He robes him for the tomb.

In the long night, the still night,
He kneels upon the sod;
and the brutal guards withhold
E’en the solemn word of God!
In the long night, the still night,
He walks where Christ hath trod.

‘Neath the blue morn, the sunny morn,
He dies upon the tree;
And he mourns that he can lose
But one life for Liberty;
And in the blue morn, the sunny morn,
His spirit wings are free.

But his last words, his message-words,
They burn, lest friendly eye
Should read how proud and calm
A patriot could die,
With his last words his dying words,
A soldier’s battle-cry.

From Fame-leaf and Angel-leaf,
From monument and urn,
The sad of earth, the glad of heaven
His tragic fate shall learn;
But on Fame-leaf and Angle-leaf
The name of Hale shall burn!

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