Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

The Two Wives

(TO COLONEL J. G. M., IN MEMORY OF THE EVENT BEFORE ATLANTA.)


  I.


  The colonel rode by his picket-line
    In the pleasant morning sun,
  That glanced from him far off to shine
    On the crouching rebel picket's gun.


  II.


  From his command the captain strode
    Out with a grave salute,
  And talked with the colonel as he rode;--
    The picket levelled his piece to shoot.


  III.


  The colonel rode and the captain walked,--
    The arm of the picket tired;
  Their faces almost touched as they talked,
    And, swerved from his aim, the picket fired.


  IV.


  The captain fell at the horse's feet,
    Wounded and hurt to death,
  Calling upon a name that was sweet
    As God is good, with his dying breath.


  V.


  And the colonel that leaped from his horse and knelt
    To close the eyes so dim,
  A high remorse for God's mercy felt,
    Knowing the shot was meant for him.


  VI.


  And he whispered, prayer-like, under his breath,
    The name of his own young wife:
  For Love, that had made his friend's peace with Death,
    Alone could make his with life.



 

William Dean Howells