Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/145

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107
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

had everything his own way with the Canadian militiamen, until the United States forces under General Grant, cutting off his supplies and reinforcements, compelled him to retreat. In June, 1870, he made his second attempt at the conquest of Canada by way of St. Albans, Vt. O'Reilly went with the invaders to the front as "war correspondent" of the Pilot.

Coincidently with the date of his first bulletin in that brief and inglorious campaign, in the Pilot of May 28, 1870, there appeared a little poem, written by him in prison and entitled "Pondering." It is interesting for its hopeful spirit, if not for its poetic worth.

Have I no future left to me?
Is there no struggling ray
From the sun of my life outshining
Down on my darksome way?
 
Will there no gleam of sunshine
Cast o'er my path its light?
Will there no star of hope arise
Out of this gloom of night?
 
Have I 'gainst Heaven's warnings
Sinfully, madly rushed?
Else why were my heart-strings severed?
Why was my love-light crushed?
 
Oh, I have hopes and yearnings-
Hopes that I know are vain;
And the knowledge robs Life of beauty,
And Death of its only pain.

On May 28, he wrote his first dispatch as a special correspondent from the "seat of war." On the 30th he telegraphed from St. Albans, Vt.: "I have just been arrested by the United States marshal. I shall not have a hearing until to-morrow."

His first dispatches and letters were terse summaries of the events which he had witnessed. On the following week appeared his full report, as follows:

Your reporter left Boston on Tuesday evening, 26th inst., en route for St. Albans, Vt., and having provided himself with divers morning