The Blue And The Gray

Hailed as a national classic from the moment of its publication in 1867, this poem by Francis Miles Finch, is perhaps the most touching and expressive of all the “reconciliation poems” written after the War’s end. It was inspired by the following brief news item, which appeared in the New York Tribune:

“The women of Columbus, Mississippi, animated by nobler sentiments than many of their sisters, have shown themselves impartial in their offerings made to the memory of the dead. They strewed flowers alike on the graves of the Confederate and of the National soldiers.”

 

By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the one, the Blue,
Under the other, the Gray.

These in the robings of glory,
  Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
  In the dusk of eternity meet:
      Under the sod and the dew,
        Waiting the judgment-day,
      Under the laurel, the Blue,
        Under the willow, the Gray.

From the silence of sorrowful hours
  The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
  Alike for the friend and the foe:
      Under the sod and the dew,
        Waiting the judgment-day,
      Under the roses, the Blue,
        Under the lilies, the Gray.

So, with an equal splendor,
  The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
  On the blossoms blooming for all:
      Under the sod and the dew,
        Waiting the judgment-day,
      Broidered with gold, the Blue,
        Mellowed with gold, the Gray.

So, when the summer calleth,
  On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
  The cooling drip of the rain:
      Under the sod and the dew,
        Waiting the judgment-day,
      Wet with the rain, the Blue,
        Wet with the rain, the Gray.

Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
  The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading
  No braver battle was won:
      Under the sod and the dew,
        Waiting the judgment-day,
      Under the blossoms, the Blue,
        Under the garlands, the Gray.

No more shall the war cry sever,
  Or the winding rivers be red;
The banish our anger forever
  When they laurel the graves of our dead!
      Under the sod and the dew,
        Waiting the judgment-day,
      Love and tears for the Blue,
        Tears and love for the Gray.

Civil Flag Images – Browse 31,599 Stock Photos, Vectors, and Video | Adobe Stock

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s