184 Southern Historical Society Papers.
And yet and yet we old, whose heads are gray, Whose hearts are heavy, and whose steps are slow
With journeying on this rough and thorny way, We, who live after them, what may we know
Of their ecstatic rapture thus to have died,
The marvellous, sleepless souls that perished in their pride ?
If the worn hearts and weary fall on sleep
With a deep longing for its sweet repose, Shall not they, likewise, whom the high Gods keep,
Die while yet bloom the lily and the rose ? To each man living comes a day to die;
What better day than when Truth calls to Liberty ?
Writ in the rocks of the world's primeval page
Is old past human skill to interpret it, Save where it speaks to grief of man's gray age,
And with the end of all things is o'erwrit: All things save one, that hath unfading youth And strength and power and beauty clear-eyed Truth,
On mountain-top in valley by the sea, Wherever sleep the patriots who have died
In her high honor at Thermopylae,
At Bannockburn or where great rivers glide,
To the wide ocean bordering our own shore,
Truth sees the holy face of Freedom evermore !
The blood-stained face of Freedom, that hath wrought
For man a magic and a mystery; Whose bright blade, e'en when broken, yet hath bought
A grave with the eternal for the free. Freedom and Truth, these went beside them there, Marching to deathless death, forever young and fair.
' ' Send the Cadets in ! and may God forgive ! * '
Who spake the word had welcomed rather death. But Truth dies not, and Liberty shall live,
E'en though Youth wither in the cannon's breath, And at the order, debonnair and gay, They moved into the front of an immortal day.