THE FUNERAL OF ALBERT SYDNEY JOHNSTON.
|He fell and they cried, bring us home our dead!|
We’ll bury him here where the prairies spread,
And the gulf waves beat on our Southern shores;
He will hear them not when he comes once more—
Our Albert Sydney Johnston!
When he went, how the flushed hope beat high
On the brows of The Rangers standing nigh!
And the champing steeds of the Texas plain—
For his voice was that to their bridle rein
That the air’s to the Persian monsoon.
But they bore him now to the crash of wheels;
No sound of their sorrow the hero feels,
Tho’ many are come that are sad and fair,
With flowers and stars for his bloody bier,
And weeping they lay them down.
And the Crescent shone with a wreathing grace
Around that Star on the covered face;
No sound but of sobs and a parting look,
And the forest sighed and the aspen shook
As the train went rumbling on.
And down to the feet of the moaning sea,
Where the waves made the only melody,
No band or bell was played or tolled—
But the Hero cared not—hate fell cold
On the heart of him who slept.
Where the church was closed by the mandate given,
And he lay on the wharf under night and heaven,
Fair friend and slave with uncovered head,
Gazed alike on the face of the sleeping dead,
And alike in silence wept.
So the vigil held, ’till the chastened cloud,
For the shame of men, hid its face and bowed;
And thousands came when the moon was high,
And they bore their burden sadly by,
To its rest on the prairie plain.
As the prairie flowers that now grow o’er him,
Where the white-maned steeds that walked before him
Proud and stepped and slow—and the mourners said,
Let a stately place for his couch be made—
Houston must have its fane.
There they lay him out in a proud old hall,
With the floor’s edge kissing the sacred pall;
And thousands came to the hallowed room,
’Till the day went down to the night of gloom,
For his land did honor him.
And when to the bannered march’s swell,
They bore him out with a lingering knell,
Sad tears flowed out from a thousand eyes,
And a thousand voices were choked with sighs,
And the sun in the West was dim.