14.12.07

The Irish Brigade at Fredricksburg


VETERANS OF FREDERICKSBURG apoem by Eleanor Rogers Cox,
on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Fredricksburg Virgina

To the surviving members of Meagher's* Irish Brigade,
on the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg
December 13, 1862 - December 13, 1912

WHO ARE THESE WHO HITHER MARCHING
DOWN THE VALE OF MISTY YEARS,
FROM THE HEIGHTS WHERE NOW THE
CANNON'S LIPS ARE DUMB,
FROM THE FIELD WHERE MEAGHER LED THEM,
FROM THE FIELD WHERE VALOR SPED THEM,
ALL IN BROKEN BUT UNDAUNTED COLUMN COME.

OLD MEN, BRAVE MEN, MEN OF IRISH BIRTH!
MEN WHO ON THE FOREHEAD
OF THEIR DEAR NEW LAND AFAR,
SET THE NAME OF IRELAND,
OF THEIR KNIGHTLY SIRELAND
THERE TO SHINE FOREVER LIKE A STAR!

FREDERICKSBURG! THE NAME IS GRAVEN
ON THE MEMORIES OF MEN,
IN IMMORTAL SCRIPT OF THUNDER AND OF FLAME,
AND YOUR COMRADES THERE WHO PERISHED,
LO! OF GOD AND FREEDOM CHERISHED,
GLEEMS THEIR DEED UPON
THE FAIREST HEIGHT OF FAME!

FONTENOY AND FREDERICKSBURG!
INSCRIBE THEM SIDE BY SIDE;
SARSFIELD, DILLON, MEAGHER,
ALL MEN OF THE BRIGADE-
WHO FOR EVERY FRIENDSHIP GIVEN
TO THEIR LAND BENEATH HIGH HEAVEN
IN THE COINAGE OF THEIR HEART'S
FAIR VALOR PAID.

THROUGH YOUR VEINS WHAT HERO-FIRE
LEAPED UPON THAT DAY!
WHAT IMMORTAL HERITAGE OF FEAR-DEFYING MIRTH
AS WITH CHEER OUTRINGING,
YOUR BOUYANT RANKS WENT SPRINGING
FORWARD TO THE BREASTWORKS
O'ER CORPSE BESTREWN EARTH!


"FORWARD TO THE BREASTWORKS!"
FROM OUT THE SMOKE AND FLAME
BELCHED FORTH FROM MARYE'S HEIGHTS,
WE PLUCK THE DEATHLESS WORD!
AND THE MOTTO OF YOUR GIVING
SHALL BE (THE) MOTTO OF OUR LIVING
WHERESOEVER SOUND OF IRISH SPEECH IS HEARD!

BRAVE MEN, TRUE MEN, MEN OF THE BRIGADE!
MEN WHO FOLLOWED MEAGHER OF THE SWORD!
LOOK, HOW GLOWS THE GOD LIT EMBER
OF THAT DAY IN FAR DECEMBER,
HOW ITS MEMORY IN OUR INMOST SOUL IS STORED!

Note: Meagher is pronounced Mar