Bayard Taylor image

Bayard Taylor

Jan. 11, 1825 - Dec 19, 1878


The Dead March

by Bayard Taylor


The April sky with sunshine filled the street,
And lightly fell the tread of pattering feet,
As on the last year's leaves the April rain.
The glaring houses wore a foreign grace;
A foreign sweetness shone on Labor's face,
And open lay, relaxed, the hand of Gain.


My sorrow slept; I breathed the peace of Spring.
One fledgeling hope outreached a timorous wing:
Concealed, at least, and sacred was my pain, --
When, suddenly, the dreadful trumpets blew,
And every wind my gloomy secret knew,
And all the echoes hurled it back again.


Before a stranger's corpse the trumpets cried
So bitterly, it seemed all love had died:
Then hollow horns took up the fatal strain,
Till tongues of fire went flashing through the air,
The myriad clamors of a sole despair,
The cry of grief that knows its cry is vain.


The dead was fortunate, -- he could not hear:
The mourners comforted, behind his bier:
Through happy crowds advanced the funeral train:
Mine was the sorrow, mine the deathlike pang,
And tears, that burned the eyelids as they sprang,
To hear the awful music of my pain.


The Poet's Journal
Copyright 1863
Ticknor and Fields, Boston