THE BANNER OF BARS.
BY T. C. HARBAUGH.
I see it to-day as it waved in its splendor
Where the Rapidan slips with a song to the sea;
I catch the bright gleams of the stars that adorned it
When gayly I followed the fortunes of Lee;
How proudly it waved in the breezes of heaven
And opened its folds ‘neath the sentinel pines!
How sadly we furled it, how slowly and tender,
To float not again on the old battle lines.
We gave it our love through its four years of glory,
Though torn by the hate of the shot and the shell;
Wherever it led us, how bravely we followed,
Nor shrank with a fear from the battle’s dread hell!
Around it in valley, on hilltop, and mountain
We rallied with cheers in the desperate fray;
The comrades we loved as the truest of brothers
Went down where it waved in their garments of gray.
Alone and half dreaming I sit in the gloaming,
A scar on my brow and a crutch on my knee,
Whilst out of the past that forever has vanished
A beautiful banner comes dancing to me;
They laugh oftentimes at the weary old Johnny;
And wonder, perhaps, why his eye is so bright.
They cannot see with me the beautiful vision
Of the banner I guarded by day and by night.
My love is as strong as the day that we furled it
And tearfully turned from the sheen of its stars;
We gave it our prayers and we gave it our blessing,
And Fame set a wreath on the banner of bars;
The bugles still echo deep down in the valley,
And eager I list for the old battle call;
I see the long lines of the gallant gray legions,
And a banner of beauty waves high over all.
The vision fades slowly away in the gloaming,
The banner I followed no longer I see,
But yonder methinks the old regiment’s passing—
The comrades who long ago battled with me;
How silent the ranks! Not the trill of a bugle.
I listen, but there is no tap of a drum;
They beckon to me, and I start from my dreaming,
And call to them gladly: “O comrades, I come!”