by Mrs. B. F. Dame

Written for the dedication of the Soldiers Monument in Manchester, NH September 11, 1879
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Wander back, O tide of memory,
To that unforgotten year,
When throughout our mighty country
Passed a sudden thrill of fear;
For the threatened blow had fallen
And a nation bowd its head
While the war-cloud, darker growing,
Filled our waiting hearts with dread.

For we knew that fierce and deadly
Must the bitter struggle be;
That 'twould fill our land with sadness
From the prairies to the sea.
Sturdy North and fiery South land!
Swaying pine and sunny palm!
Brothers, -each against the other
Stretching forth the strong right arm!

Those were days of wild excitement
That the startled people saw;
Eager groups, expectant, waited
For each message from the war;
While the bells in town and hamlet,
Pealing forth the first war-chimes,
Loudly changed from tower and belfry,
In those anxious, troubled times.

How the loyal hearts responded
To the call for volunteers!
From the farm-house and the city,
Throwing to the winds their fears,
Came that patriot band heroic, -
Stalwart men and youths so brave, -
Marching forth to find, if need be,
Prison-pen or nameless grave.

Up among our hills and valleys
Came the summons far and wide,
To our own fair inland city,
By the Merrimack's flowing tide.
Did she leave the call unheeded?
Turn her back upon the fight?
Was old Derryfield a laggard
In the cause of truth and right?

See upon our streets the veterans,
Once so strong to do and dare,
Crippled forms and pallid faces, -
We can find our answer there!
We can find it in you valley,
Where, in many a grassy bed,
Sleep the brave whose names are written
On the roll-call of the dead.

There's no need to tell the story
That we've known so long and well;
But our blood will pulse yet quicker,
And our loyal hearts will swell,
Half with pride, and half with sadness,
At the memory of that day
When our fond farewells were spoken,
And our soldiers marched away.

In his grave beside the river
Slept our own beloved Stark;
And it seemed as if the war-cry,
Piercing to his grave so dark,
Might arouse the grand old hero,
Lying there so still and calm,
So he'd wake, and don his armor,
At the shrill notes of alarm!

But he stirred not from his slumber, -
Though his blessing seemed to rest,
Like a calm, inspiring presence,
In each gallant soldier's breast,
As they marched away to battle,
With a purpose stern and high
Stamped upon the earnest features,
Mirrored from the glancing eye.

Proudly did we scan the record
Of their bravery day by day;
Sadly did we hear the tidings,
Wafted often from the fray,
That another cherished hero,
In the battle stricken down,
Waiting not for earthly laurels,
Had received a martyr's crown.

Manfully they fought and bravely, -
Boys of ours who wore the blue, -
Through their hearts were in the Northland,
Where the clear, cool breezes blew.
In their dreams they saw loved faces,
True and tender as of yore,
And the old, familiar places,
They might look on nevermore;

Saw the pines and chestnuts waving
On the old New Hampshire hills,
And the scarlet cardinal flowers
Growing down beside the rills;
Saw the grim old Uncanoonues,
Rising upward in their pride, -
Nearer still, the well-known river,
Sweeping onward, deep and wide.

So the months and years sped onward,
Till at last a message came
Flying o'er the mystic wires,
Welcome to all hearts the same;
For it said, "The war is over!"
And there rose from shore to shore
One united strain exultant,
"War is ended! Peace once more!"

Years have passed; they're not forgotten,-
They who sleep in Southern graves,
They who on the sea fought nobly,
Lying now beneath the waves;
Nor the dead whose graves are scattered
Through the North, -an unseen band, -
Mighty in the silent influence
Ceaseless shed throughout the land.

Every spring-time sees our offerings
Gently laid upon their bed;
But to-day another tribute
Bring we to our honored dead.
Yonder stately shaft of granite!
May it, like our hills of rock,
Proudly rear its crest for ages,
Wavering not at storm nor shock!

For it stands, a just memorial
Of our heroes, true in death
To the flag they loved and honored
Even with their last-drawn breath!
From its bloody, dread baptism,
It has risen once again,
Though 'twas sheilded with the life-blood
Of three hundred thousand men!

Let it wave, -the old, old banner!
'Twas our fathers' -be it ours!
When it ripples in the sunlight,
Or the storm-cloud o'er it lowers,
Firm, united, let us guard it,
Given as a solemn trust
By the hands once strong and active
For teir country -now but dust!