In Memory of an American Soldier

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Fugitive verse by Florence Earle Coates
In Memory of an American Soldier
As rendered in The North American Review (June 1919):

IN MEMORY OF AN AMERICAN
SOLDIER

FALLEN IN FRANCE IN THE GLORIOUS YEAR 1918
BY FLORENCE EARLE COATES


He went singing down to death;
   And the high Gods, who heard him,
Gave something of their breath
   To the melodies that stirred him;
Lending some accents to his dying song
That only to abiding things belong.

His boyish heart had laughed
   For joy of life's completeness—
Life had so brimmed the draught
   It held for him with sweetness;
But when, unlooked for, came the suppliant cry
From tortured Lands, he put the full cup by.

Happy whose soul has wings
   And has the strength to spread them!
Happy whose heart still brings
   Its dreams where truth first led them!
Though he give all, his fellow men to save,
He has a tryst with Life, beyond the grave!

Blithely he took the path
   Appointed him by Duty,
Whose face, viewed nearer, hath
   Such deeps undreamed of beauty,—
Love, hope, ambition—he put all aside,
And for the things that do not perish, died.
            ········
Soul, was it tragedy to fall like this?
Oh, lovely, lovely, lovely, courage is!
   And death itself may be most sweet,
Though the lips thirst, and empty be the cup,
If won in climbing—climbing up—and up,
   To heights where vision and fulfilment meet:
If won at last, by deeds that glorify
Our lowly dust, where 'neath an alien sky,
Their service unforgot,
They sleep who, loving greatly, faltered not,—
   The happy brave, who never knew defeat!


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1927, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.