Poem written by Lt. Alexander McQueen on the death of his friend Lt. Samuel McBride Pringle.
"Upon Virginia's hallowed sod
Ah, deeply dyed by patriot blood;
Behold, a soldier's tomb.
He fell where rolled like lava stream,
The tide of battle mid the gleam
Of cannon as they boom.
He fell full nobly at his post,
Upon his lips no prouder boast,
Than, 'Duty calls me here'.
He died, alas - no mother's hand
Was there to sooth his ebbing sand,
But friendship dropped a tear.
An angel form with softest tread,
Gently bending oter his bed,
Gazed sweetly in his eye.
This angel then with mother's breast,
Did soothe the dying boy to rest,
And heaved a whispered sigh.
Then looking up, she gazed on high
Upon the star bespangled sky,
And breathed a fervent prayer;
'O! God' she cried, 'Shall one so brave
Be given to the cheerless grave -
When thou canst pitying spare?
Let Autumn's withered leaflets fall,
The old may claim the shrouded pall,
And joyous greet the tomb.
But spare, oh! spare the tender flower,
That springs up with the summer shower,
And spreads its fragrant bloom.'
Mysterious are Thy ways, most High,
The old, the young, the good must die,
And mingle with the clay,
But we can only drop a tear
Of sorrow on the mournful bier,
And tread our lonely way.
There is no place in memory's cell
Where friendship more delights to dwell,
Than on departed years;
When we in innocence were wont
To drink of life's pure, crystal font,
Undimmed by scalding tears.
Bright hopes, alas! have swiftly fled
As one by one the charnelled dead,
Rise upward to our view,
Like tones of sweetest music gone,
As clouds before the noonday sun,
Or morning's pearly dew. '