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Margaret Junkin Preston (Маргарет Джанкин Престон)

Gone Forward

YES, "Let the tent be struck": victorious morning
Through every crevice flashes in a day
Magnificent beyond all earth's adorning:
The night is over; wherefore should he stay?
And wherefore should our voices choke to say, 
"The General has gone forward"?

Life's foughten field not once beheld surrender;
But with superb endurance, present, past,
Our pure commander, lofty, simple, tender,
Through good, through ill, held his high purpose fast, 
Wearing his armor spotless, - till at last
Death gave the final "Forward!"

All hearts grew sudden palsied: Yet what said he
Thus summoned? - "Let the tent be struck!" - For when
Did call of duty fail to find him ready
Nobly to do his work in sight of men,
For God's and for his country's sake - and then
To watch, wait, or go forward?

We will not weep, - we dare not! Such a story
As his large life writes on the century's years, 
Should crowd our bosoms with a flush of glory,
That manhood's type, supremest that appears
To-day, he shows the ages. Nay, no tears
Because he has gone forward!

Gone forward? - whither? Where the marshalled legions, 
Christ's well-worn soldiers, from their conflicts cease, -
Where Faith's true Red-Cross Knights repose in regions
Thick-studded with the calm, white tents of peace, -
Thither, right joyful to accept release,
The General has gone forward! 

Margaret Junkin Preston's other poems:
  1. Acceptation
  2. Hymn to the National Flag
  3. The Shade of the Trees
  4. When the War Is Over
  5. A November Nocturne

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