Some hearts there are of deeper sort,
Which yet for cause are trebly clad;
Known death they fly on:
This wizard-heart and heart-of-oak had Lyon.
“They are more than twenty thousand strong,
We less than five,
Too few with such a host to strive”
“Such counsel, fie on!
‘Tis battle, or ’tis shame;” and firm stood Lyon.
“For help at need in van we wait–
Retreat or fight:
Retreat the foe would take for flight,
And each proud scion
Feel more elate; the end must come,” said Lyon.
By candlelight he wrote the will,
And left his all
To Her for whom ’twas not enough to fall;
Loud neighed Orion
Without the tent; drums beat; we marched with Lyon.
The night-tramp done, we spied the Vale
With guard-fires lit;
Day broke, but trooping clouds made gloom of it:
“A field to die on”
Presaged in his unfaltering heart, brave Lyon.
We fought on the grass, we bled in the corn–
Fate seemed malign;
His horse the Leader led along the line–
Bitterly fearless, he rallied us there, brave Lyon.
There came a sound like the slitting of air
By a swift sharp sword–
A rush of the sound; and the sleek chest broad
Of black Orion
Heaved, and was fixed; the dead mane waved toward Lyon.
“General, you’re hurt–this sleet of balls!”
He seemed half spent;
With moody and bloody brow, he lowly bent:
“The field to die on;
But not–not yet; the day is long,” breathed Lyon.
For a time becharmed there fell a lull
In the heart of the fight;
The tree-tops nod, the slain sleep light;
Warm noon-winds sigh on,
And thoughts which he never spake had Lyon.
Texans and Indians trim for a charge:
“Stand ready, men!
Let them come close, right up, and then
After the lead, the iron;
Fire, and charge back!” So strength returned to Lyon.
The Iowa men who held the van,
Half drilled, were new
To battle: “Some one lead us, then we’ll do”
Said Corporal Tryon:
“Men! I will lead,” and a light glared in Lyon.
On they came: they yelped, and fired;
His spirit sped;
We leveled right in, and the half-breeds fled,
Nor stayed the iron,
Nor captured the crimson corse of Lyon.
This seer foresaw his soldier-doom,
Yet willed the fight.
He never turned; his only flight
Was up to Zion,
Where prophets now and armies greet brave Lyon.