Henry Clay Work

(1 October 1832 – 8 June 1884 / Middletown, Connecticut)

Little Major - Poem by Henry Clay Work

At his post, the "Little Major"
Dropp'd his drum, that battle-day;
On the grass, all stain'd with crimson,
Through that battle-night he lay--
Crying "Oh! for love of Jesus,
Grant me but this little boon!
Can you, friend, refuse me water?
Can you, when I die so soon?"

Crying "Oh! for love of Jesus,
Grant me but this little boon!
Can you, friend, refuse me water?
Can you, when I die so soon?"

They are none to hear or help him--
All his friends were early fled,
Save the forms, outstrech'd around him,
Of the dying and the dead.
Hush--they come! there falls a footstep!
How it makes his heart rejoice!
They will help, Oh, they will save him,
When they hear his fainting voice--

Now the lights are flashing round him,
And he hears a loyal word,
Strangers they, whose lips pronouce it,
Yet he trusts his voice is heard.
It is heard--Oh, God forgive them!
They refuse his dying pray'r!
"Nothing but a wounded drummer,"
So they say, and leave him there--

See! the moon that shone above him,
Veils her face, as if in grief;
And the skies are sadly weeping--
Shielding teardrops of relief.
Yet to die, by friends forsaken,
With his last request denied--
This he felt his keenest anquish,
When at morn, he gasp'd and died--


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Read poems about / on: friend, water, grief, moon, god, night, trust, sky



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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