LEE  -  A POEM
                                   by MAJOR H. T. STAUNTON
                                                                               of Franfkfort, Ky.
  

We saw the fragile maiden, May, 
Trip down the paths of morning,
And queen July in central day,
Her flower throne adorning.

And weeping trees in somber lines
Took up an anthem murmur,
When August, with her trailing vines,
Went out her gates of Summer.

Now yellow husks are on the grain,
And leaves are brown and sober,

And sundown clouds have caught again
The flush of ripe October.
We hear the woody hill- tops croon,
The airy maize- blades whisper,
They year is in its afternoon,
And leaf- bells ring the vesper.

What is it gives this loading song,
Its melancholy feature!

What is it makes our souls prolong
This monotone of nature!

What tearful grief is in our hearts- 
What saying under- reason!

What sorrow real now imparts
Its spirits to the season!

The crimping leaves may shoal the ways,
The sun turn down the heavens-
Still all the years have fading days,
And all the days have events.

Enough- whatever else may be- 
That in this Autumn weather,
The verdure of the world and Lee 
Have sent fled together.

So prone are men where'er they  move
To tread the ways of evil,
They seldom hold their kind above
A common grade and level.

But Lee, beside his fellowmen,
Stood, over all, a giant- 
The higher type- the perfect plan- 
God fearing, God reliant.

A giant not alone in fields 
Where bent the sanguine Reaper,
Where death threw o'er his harvest-yields
An autumn crimson deeper;

But with the iron strength of will
He sought his life to fashion,
He held his ruder pulses still
And closed the gates of passion.

There have been men whose mighty deeds,
On cold historic pages,
Are driven like October seeds
Along the reaching ages;

Whose statues stand like sentinels
On whitened shafts and bases,
Whose ashes rest in marble cells
And sepulchers and vases;

But he who in this Autumn time 
Was lost beyond the river,
Has found a glory path to climb,
Forever and forever!

And monumental marble here,
With deeds of honor graven,
What can it be to one so near
The inner gates of Heaven!

By still Potomac's margin dun,
Where shrilly calls the plover,
Where lean the heights of Arlington 
Its glassing water over.

No Autumn voices haunt the moles,
No breezy covert ripples,
No longer whirl the leaves in shoals
Beneath the stately maples:

Some vandal's axe has shorn the crest,
The woody slopes are shave,
No longer builds the dove her nest
Where mournful croaks the raven;

But down the Southland's fruity plain 
The leaves are all a- quiver,
And there his memory shall reign
Forever and forever!

Taken from the Southern HistoricalSociety Papers 
Volume XIII, Richmond,Va Jan-Dec, 1885 Pages 87-90
 

Return to Main 

Return to Tales of South 

Return to Monuments 
------------------------------------------------------------