When all the labors of the day are past,
And on the world-exposed and fretted edge
While Sherman stood beneath the hot test fire,
That from the lines of Vicksburg gleamed,
And bomb-shells tumbled in their smoky gyre,
Close his eyes; his work is done!
What to him is friend or foeman,
Rise of moon, or set of sun,
Hand of man, or kiss of woman?
These blows of fate that shake our troubled life,
This long, long sorrow o'er our parted fate,
Like foes assailing us with armed hate,
'I write too coldly and I write too much!'
The more, the colder seems whate'er I write,
That I confess; though still I strain for flight,
Clash, clash goes the sabre against my steed's side,
Kling, kling go the rowels, as onward I ride;
And all my bright harness is living and speaks,
What are you waiting for, George, I pray? -
To scour your cross-belts with fresh pipe-clay?
To burnish your buttons, to brighten your guns;
A marvel to me is my lady's hand;
'Tis not that plump, thick-palmed and dimpled thing
With pointed ends and almond nails ye sing,
Roll the grand harmonies which finite mind
Can neither reason of nor understand,