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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/191

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New Market Day at V. M. I. 183

again while time shall last, but it is my prayer for one and all, that when the final long roll shall sound, we may all respond on the far- ther side of the river, and with the Great Commander rest under the shade of the trees.

MR. GORDON'S POEM A BEAUTIFUL THRENODY READ BY THE

AUTHOR.

The following Threnody, written by Mr. Armistead C. Gordon, of Staunton, was read by the author:

How shall the eternal fame of them be told,

Who, dying in the heyday of life's morn, Thrust from their lips the chalice of bright gold,

Filled to the brim with joy, and went forlorn Into the abysmal darkness of that bourne,

Whence they who thither go may nevermore return ?

The circling seasons pass in old progression

Of beauty and of immortality; The ancient stars march on in far procession;

And immemorial winds sweep o'er the sea; The mountains drop their wine; the flowers bloom; While these, who should have lived, sleep in an early tomb.

No blight had touched the garlands that they wore,

Dewy and fresh with innocence and ruth; No dead illusions or spent glamours bore ^

With heaviness upon them. Their gay youth Caught but the bubbles on the beaker's brim, Nor e'er beheld life's lees with eyes grown old and dim.

Were they in love with death's forgetfulness

Thus to lie down with the enduring dead ? Had wood and stream lost all their loveliness,

Or morning's sunshine faded overhead, That they sought surcease of life's sorrows there, Leaving wan Love to weep o'er boyhood's sunny hair ?

All the old questionings rise to our lips

In the sad contemplation of Youth slain; ' Life's hidden meaning, and Death's dark eclipse

The passion and the pathos and the pain; The unanswering answer that the wisest reads In the grim mystery that hangs behind the creeds.