Photo Credit – By Ebyabe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Reading From Everglade to Canyon with the Second United States Cavalry, I slowed to read this poem again. It is about the lost troopers of the First Seminole War, 1835-1842, but it is timeless and could have been written in Iraq or Afghanistan. The only difference is that we bring them home these days. Toujours Prêt, Fellas.
Hollow ye the lonely grave.
Make its caverns deep and wide ;
In the soil they died to save
Lay the brave men side by side.
Side by side they fought and fell,
Hand to hand they met the foe ;
Who was heard his grandsire tell
Braver strife or deadlier blow ?
Wake no mournful harmonies,
Shed no earthly tear for them ;
Summer dew and sighing breeze
Shall be wail and requiem.
Pile the grave-mound broad and high
Where the martyred brethren sleep ;
It shall point the pilgrim eye
Here to bend, but not to weep.
Not to weep ! Oh ! no ; the grief
Springing from a blow like this
May not seek a fond relief
In the drops that mother’s kiss ;
But the kindling heart shall bear
Hence the lesson, stern and high,
With as proud a flame to dare,
With a proud a throb to die.
“… On the 15th of August, 1842, the monument having been completed, the gallant dead were interred in the ground selected near Ft. Marion at San Augustine.”
“A mound of pyramidal form had been erected over each of the three vaults in which the remains were placed; each mound was five feet high, and rested on a bank of turf nicely terraced; on the marble surface of the tombs had been inscribed the names of those resting beneath.”
From Everglade to Canyon with the Second United States Cavalry, pages 75-76 and Appendix XXXII
Second Seminole War Memorial Inscriptions