John Pelham

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John Pelham  (1894) 
by James Ryder Randall
Published in the Mobile Register newspaper, May 20, 1894. The poem is about "Gallant Pelham", a much-lauded artillery officer from the American Civil War.

Just as the Spring came laughing thro' the strife,
With all her gorgeous cheer--
In the glad April of historic life--
Fell the great cannoneer.

The wondrous lulling of a hero's breath
His bleeding country weeps;
Hushed--in th' alabaster arms of Death--
Our young Marcellus sleeps!

Grander and nobler than the child of Rome,
Curbing his chariot steeds,
The knightly scion of a Southern home
Dazzled the world--with deeds!

Gentlest and bravest in the battle's brunt--
The champion of the Truth--
He bore his banner to the very front
Of our immortal youth.

A clang of sabres 'mid Virginia's snow,
The fiery pang of shells--
And there's a voice of immemorial woe
In Alabama dells.

The pennon droops, that led the sacred band
Along the crimson field;
The meteor blade sinks from the nerveless hand,
Over the spotless shield!

We gazed and gazed upon that beauteous face,
While round the lips and eyes,
Couched in their marble slumber flashed the grace
Of a divine surprise!

Oh! mother of a blessed soul on high,
Thy tears may soon be shed;
Think of thy boy, 'mid princes of the sky,
Among the Southern dead.

How must he smile on this dull world beneath,
Fevered with swift renown--
He, with the martyr's amaranthine wreath
Twining the victor's crown!

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.