Rose Hartwick Thorpe
The Soldier's Reprieve
'My Fred! I can't understand it,'
And his voice quivered with pain,
While the tears kept slowly dropping
On his trembling hands like rain.
'For Fred was so brave and loyal,
So true ― but my eyes are dim,
And I cannot read the letter,
The last I shall get from him.
Please read it, sir, while I listen ―
In fancy I see him ― dead;
My boy, shot down like a traitor,
My noble, my brave boy Fred.'
'Dear Father,' ― so ran the letter, ―
'To-morrow when twilight creeps
Along the hill to the churchyard,
O'er the grave where mother sleeps,
When the dusky shadows gather,
They'll lay your boy in his grave
For nearly betraying the country
He would give his life to save.
And, father, I tell you truly,
With almost my latest breath,
That your boy is not a traitor,
Though he dies a traitor's death.'
'You remember Bennie Wilson?
He's suffered a deal of pain.
He was only that day ordered
Back into the ranks again.
I carried all of his luggage,
With mine, on the march that day;
I gave him my arm to lean on,
Else he had dropped by the way.
'T was Bennie's turn to be sentry;
But I took his place, and I ―
Father, I fell asleep, and now
I must die as traitors die.'
'The Colonel is kind and generous,
He has done the best he can,
And they will not bind or blind me ―
I shall meet death like a man.
Kiss little Blossom; but, father,
Need you tell her how I fall?'
A sob from the shadowed corner, ―
Yes, Blossom had heard it all!
As she kissed the precious letter
She said with faltering breath,
'Our Fred is never a traitor,
Though he dies a traitor's death.'
And a little sun-brown maiden,
In a shabby time-worn dress,
Took her seat a half-hour later
In the crowded night express.
The conductor heard her story
As he held her dimpled hand,
And sighed for the sad hearts breaking
All over the troubled land.
He tenderly wiped the teardrop
From the blue eyes brimming o'er,
And guarded her footsteps safely
Till she reached the White House door.
The President sat at his writing;
But the eyes were kind and mild
That turned with a look of wonder
On the little shy-faced child.
And he read Fred's farewell letter
With a look of sad regret.
''Tis a brave young life,' he murmured,
'And his country needs him yet.
From an honored place in battle
He shall bid the world good-by;
If that brave young life is needed,
He shall die as heroes die.'
Rose Hartwick Thorpe's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Poet's Notes about The Poem
D Lothrop Company,Franklin And Hawley Streets,Boston
Comments about this poem (The Soldier's Reprieve by Rose Hartwick Thorpe )
- falling down a well- well, you pushed me, Mandolyn ...
- Indeed, george albot
- Poets, Do You Agree?, Sandra Feldman
- broad boy souffle, derrick foster
- PH: Nature: Canoeing The Mississippi - P.., Brian Johnston
- Steps Of Purpose, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Whispers Of Ancient Parables, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Unanswerable 3, Frank Avon
- Being Enlightened, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Unanswerable 2, Frank Avon
Poem of the Day
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Sonnet I, Sir John Suckling
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
- Heather Burns