All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/Scattered Roses
TIS a pretty German story,
Fresh as falling mountain-dews,
Told us, merely as an item,
In the page of foreign news.
Gretchen, with her banded tresses
Braided close like ropes of gold,
Comely skirt, and snowy kerchief
Blossomed from the bodice fold,
Walks beside the cart of flowers,
Dreamy, sad, and full of thought ;
Thinking all the while of Gottlieb,
Not of business, as she ought.
"Franz," the rough old dog who loved him,
Harnessed in the shafts to draw,
Turning round to look at Gretchen,
But a tearful visage saw.
Bright upon the bridal finger
Shone the unaccustomed ring;
Scarcely worn ere, called to battle,
Gottlieb left her sorrowing.
* * * *
Now the bitter fight is over;
Soldier bands with flag and drum
Come marching home. But Gretchen whispers,
"Alas! my Gottlieb does not come.
"What care I for German glory?
One I love is lost to me;
In the trench a ghastly vision
Of his pallid face I see.
"Ah, when strangers buy a posy,
Calling it meantime Too dear,
Do they guess the rose's dewdrop
Is the while a woman's tear?
"Slowly, Franz! Why bound so wildly?
Why that cry so loud and glad?
Down, I say! Alas! my flowers!
Art wicked, Franz, or growing mad?"
* * * *
Far and wide lie scattered blossoms;
Hark! a cry, a dog's low whine;
A dusty soldier clasping Gretchen,
While bugles blow "Watch on the Rhine."
And passing bands go by them softly;
Weary eyes grow moist and glad,
As, touching sleeves, the soldiers whisper,
"The little one has found her lad."