THE HOUR BEFORE EXECUTION.
By Miss Maria E. Jones.
|Hark! the clock strikes! All, all that now remains,|
Is one short hour of this fast fleeting life,
And then farewell the terrors and the strife,
The heavenly joys, the sorrows of long years,
It’s holy rapture, the corroding pains—
That fill the heart with rapture or with tears.
Farewell, old world! I never knew ’till now
How well I lov’d thee; and my wayward heart
Still fondly clings to thee—but we must part!
Let not my proud heart in that parting fail!
How can I weep to leave thee? I whose brow
Hath oft been bared to battle’s iron hail!
My heart beats proudly, yet the coward tears
Steal from my eyes and bathe my pallid cheek;
God! what womanly weakness do they speak
And would half say, that the brave Southern spy
Who had scorned death and mock’d his idle fears,
Had, at last, forgotten how to die.
O beauteous earth! each well remember’d place—
All that I lov’d comes up before my mind—
The lov’d and cherished I must leave behind—
Stand out before me! every verdant spot
In my life’s desert I can clearly trace,
E’en to those pictures I had deemed forgot.
I see my mother standing in the door
Of my lov’d home, as in the evening breeze
The curtains wave, and the gigantic trees,
Stretching their arms to welcome me again,
Cast dark’ning shadows on the bare bright floor—
Mother, dear mother! you will watch in vain.
|Watch for the coming of my eager feet,|
My warm embraces and tender, loving kisses—
They will not come! dear mother, you will miss
Your boy’s lov’d presence, and in vain will seek,
The well known form that you were wont to greet
With tender kisses upon brow and cheek.
The tall, green trees will cast their lengthen’d shade
Across the prairie, and the shadows pale
Will fill your home, and the wild winds will wail
With frantic madness, as they swiftly sweep
Thro’ the dark forests where your children play’d—
Where all save one in death’s embraces sleep.
And he will fill an unhonor’d far-off grave,
Unmark’d and lone! The hated foeman’s scorn,
Will soon be o’er. This glorious, golden morn
I leave my life, my honor and my fame,
To nobly die as fits a soldier brave—
Who asks of Southrons but an honor’d name?
The hour is gone! and I must meet my doom,
And die, as should a soldier always die,
With unblanch’d cheek, and proudly scornful eye,
While stern defiance doth my bosom swell—
Farewell to earth and all its beauteous bloom—
My country! mother! one long, last farewell!