Letitia Elizabeth Landon

(1802-1838 / England)

The Record


HE sleeps, his head upon his sword,
His soldier's cloak a shroud;
His church-yard is the open field,--
Three times it has been plough'd:

The first time that the wheat sprung up
'Twas black as if with blood,
The meanest beggar turn'd away
From the unholy food.

The third year, and the grain grew fair,
As it was wont to wave;
None would have thought that golden corn
Was growing on the grave.

His lot was but a peasant's lot,
His name a peasant's name,
Not his the place of death that turns
Into a place of fame.

He fell as other thousands do,
Trampled down where they fall,
While on a single name is heap'd
The glory gain'd by all.

Yet even he whose common grave
Lies in the open fields,
Died not without a thought of all
The joy that glory yields.

That small white church in his own land,
The lime trees almost hide,
Bears on the walls the names of those
Who for their country died.

His name is written on those walls,
His mother read it there,
With pride,--oh! no, there could not be
Pride in the widow's prayer.

And many a stranger who shall mark
That peasant roll of fame,
Will think on prouder ones, yet say
This was a hero's name.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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