Thomas Bailey Aldrich
NOT with slow, funereal sound
Come we to this sacred ground;
Not with wailing fife and solemn muffled drum,
Bringing a cypress wreath
To lay, with bended knee,
On the cold brows of Death—
Not so, dear God, we come,
But with the trumpets’ blare
And shot-torn battle-banners flung to air,
As for a victory!
Hark to the measured tread of martial feet,
The music and the murmurs of the street!
No bugle breathes this day
Disaster and retreat!—
Hark, how the iron lips
Of the great battle-ships
Salute the City from her azure Bay!
Time was—time was, ah, unforgotten years!—
We paid our hero tribute of our tears.
But now let go
All sounds and signs and formulas of woe:
’T is Life, not Death, we celebrate;
To Life, not Death, we dedicate
This storied bronze, whereon is wrought
The lithe immortal figure of our thought,
To show forever to men’s eyes,
Our children’s children’s children’s eyes,
How once he stood
In that heroic mood,
He and his dusky braves
So fain of glorious graves!—
One instant stood, and then
Drave through that cloud of purple steel and flame,
Which wrapt him, held him, gave him not again,
But in its trampled ashes left to Fame
An everlasting name!
That was indeed to live—
At one bold swoop to wrest
From darkling death the best
That death to life can give.
He fell as Roland fell
That day at Roncevaux,
With foot upon the ramparts of the foe!
A pæan, not a knell,
For heroes dying so!
No need for sorrow here,
No room for sigh or tear,
Save such rich tears as happy eyelids know.
See where he rides, our Knight!
Within his eyes the light
Of battle, and youth’s gold about his brow;
Our Paladin, our Soldier of the Cross,
Not weighing gain with loss—
World-loser, that won all
Obeying duty’s call!
Not his, at peril’s frown,
A pulse of quicker beat;
Not his to hesitate
And parley hold with Fate,
But proudly to fling down
His gauntlet at her feet.
O soul of loyal valor and white truth,
Here, by this iron gate,
Thy serried ranks about thee as of yore,
Stand thou for evermore
In thy undying youth!
The tender heart, the eagle eye!
Oh, unto him belong
The homages of Song;
Our praises and the praise
Of coming days
To him belong—
To him, to him, the dead that shall not die!
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (An Ode by Thomas Bailey Aldrich )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Mary Elizabeth Frye
(13 November, 1905 - 15 September 2004)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
- Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
- Sonnet XVII, Pablo Neruda
- The Saddest Poem, Pablo Neruda
- No Man Is An Island, John Donne
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- Your Laughter, Pablo Neruda
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
Poem of the Day
- The Day Before Christmas 1968, Kyle Schlicher
- Tocaña, Nassy Fesharaki
- Haze your Dream, Antonio Liao
- With gun yielding, hasmukh amathalal
- Along with many, hasmukh amathalal
- No other culture, hasmukh amathalal
- A Splendor Beauty, Hanh Chau
- With all, hasmukh amathalal
- It isn't to launder my clothes, Mark Heathcote
- Tell Me, Amanda Purczynski