Up from the meadows, rich with corn,
Clear from the cool September morn,
Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach tree fruited deep;
Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famish’d rebel horde.
On that pleasant morn of the early fall,
march’d over the mountain wall,
Over the mountains winding down,
Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their silver bars,
Flapp’d in the morning winf: the sun
Of noon look’d down and saw not one.
Bow’d with her fourscore years and ten,
She took up the flag the men haul’d down;
In her attic window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet,
Up the street came the rebel tread,
Under his slouch’d hat, left and right,
He glanced; the old flag met his sight,
“Halt!” – the dust-brown ranks stood fast;
“Fire!” – out blaz’d the rifle blast.
It shiver’d the window pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.
Quick as it fell from the broken staff,
She lean’d out far on the window sill
And shook it forth with a royal will.
“Shoot, if you must, this old grey head,
But spare your country’s flag,” she said.
A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;
The nobler nature within him stirr’d
To life at that woman’s deed and word.
“Who touches a hair of yon grey head
Dies like a dog. March on!” he said.
Sounded the tread of marching feet;
All day long the free flag toss’d
Over the heads of the rebel host;
Ever its torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds, that lov’d it well;
And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Shone over it with a warm good-night,
And the rebel rides on his raid no more.
Honour to her! and let a tear
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!
Peace, and order, and beaity draw
Round thy symbol of light and law;
And ever the stars above look down