Henry Abbey

(11 July 1842 - 7 June 1911 / Kingston, NY)

On A Great Warrior Poem by Henry Abbey


When all the sky was wild and dark,
When every heart was wrung with fear,
He rose serene, and took his place,
The great occasion's mighty peer.
He smote armed opposition down,
He bade the storm and darkness cease,
And o'er the long-distracted land
Shone out the smiling sun of peace.

The famous captains of the past
March in review before the mind;
Some fought for glory, some for gold,
But most to yoke and rule mankind.
Not so the captain, great of soul,
At peace within the granite grave;
He fought to keep the Union whole,
And break the shackles of the slaves.

A silent man, in friendship true,
He made point-blank his certain aim,
And, born a stranger to defeat,
To steadfast purpose linked his name.
He followed duty with the mien
Of but a soldier in the ranks,
This God-sent man that saved the State,
And conquered its victorious thanks.

How well he wore white honor's flower,
The gratitude and praise of men,
As General, as President,
And then as simple citizen!
He was a hero to the end!
The dark rebellion raised by death
Against the powers of life and light,
He battled hard, with failing breath.

O hero of Fort Donelson,
And wooded Shiloh's frightful strife!
Sleep on! for honor loves the tomb
More than the garish ways of life.
Sleep on! sleep on! Thy wondrous days
Fill freedom's most illustrious page.
Long-mem'ried Fame shall sound thy praise
In every clime, in every age.

Submitted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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