Sunday, April 1, 2012

Union Poems - 1865-1866

Memorial of Margaret E. Breckinridge
J.B. Lippincott, 1865
Knitting for the Soldiers.

Here I sit at the same old work,
Knitting and knitting from daylight till dark;
Thread over and under and back and through,
Knitting socks for—I don’t know who;-
But in fancy I’ve seen him, and talked with him too.

He is no hero of gentle birth;
He’s little in rank, but he’s much in worth;
He’s plain of speech and strong of limb;
He’s rich in heart, but he’s poor of kin;
There are none at home to work for him.

He set his lips with a start and a frown,
When he heard that the dear old flag was shot down
From the walls of Fort Sumter, and flinging away
His tools and his apron, stopped but to say
To his comrades, “I’m going, whoever may stay,”
And was ‘listed and gone by the close of the day.

And whether he watches to-night on the sea,
Or kindles his camp-fire on “lone Tybee,”
By river or mountain, wherever he be,
I know he’s the noblest of all that are there;
The promptest to do and the bravest to dare;
The strongest in trust and the last in despair.

So here I sit at the same old work,
Knitting socks for the soldiers from daylight till dark,
And whispering low, as the thread flies through,
To him who shall wear them,--I don’t know who:-
“Ah, soldier, fight bravely, be patient, be true,
For some one is knitting and praying for you.”

Voices of the morning 1865
By Belle Bush

A song For the Army of Knitters.
Inscribed to the Fifty-First Regiment, P. V.

Here’s a pair of warm mittens for some one,-
A stranger, it may be, to me:
Yet I call him a friend and a brother,
Whatever his title may be.
A colonel, a captain, or private,
As equal in honors I view;
For they are the heroes of Freedom
Who prove themselves valiant and true.

And I send to them all the kind wishes
That spring from pure sisterly trust,
And ask, in return, that our banner
May never be trailed in the dust,
But aloft, with its starry adornings,
Unsullied and bright, may it wave
O’er the land that is sacred to Freedom,
Baptized in the blood of the brave.

I’m knitting more mittens for someone, -
The task is a pleasure to me:
Yet I cannot help thinking, while knitting,
Ah, who will that someone be?
And I fancy the one who receives them
Will shout to his comrades, in glee,
“Ah, someone had knit me nice mittens!
Oh, joy! what a comfort they’ll be!”

And then, as he hastily tries them,
Their merits the better to see,
I fancy he’ll silently query,
“Oh, who can that some one be?”
Then over the chords of his spirit
The fingers of Fancy will stray,
Till the pulses of music awaken
And throb with a tenderer lay.

Ah, then the dear image of some one,
In brightness and beauty, will come
In dreams to look smilingly on him
And sing of the loved ones at home;
And the heart of the soldier will listen
Entranced to her joy-lighted themes,
Till hushed is the moan of the river
That rolls by his palace of dreams.

Then bright o’er his pathway of peril
Will glimmer Hope’s beautiful star,
And his heart will grow braver and stronger
To follow the fortunes of war.

Peterson’s Magazine
March 1865
Jenny Musing
by Letta C. Lord

Zephyrs softly played around her,
Kissed her lips, and brow so fair;
Sunbeams bright came slowly creeping
O’er her braids of nut-brown hair.
On a mossy seat sitting,
Dainty fingers slowly knitting
On a soldier’s sock of blue
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

By her side a purling streamlet
Murmured softly to the flowers;
And she loved to sit beside it
In the bright, sunshiny hours.
On the mossy knoll sitting,
Sat the maiden slowly knitting—
Knitting on the sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

Birds around her sang their carols,
But she heeded not their lay;
Heeded not their notes of music,
For her thoughts were far away.
Back and forth her needles flitting,
Slowly knitting, slowly knitting—
Knitting on the sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

What were thrilling notes of music?
What the rays of golden sun?
Could they call her wanderer to her?
Could they bring the absent one?
So the maid was sadly sitting
On the mossy knoll, knitting—
Knitting on the sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

But sweet Hope was hovering near her,
And she saw her tear-dimmed eye,
So she softly whispered to her,
“You will meet him by-and-by.”
So she hopefully was sitting
On the mossy knoll, knitting—
Knitting on the sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

Weaving fancies bright as sunbeams
Of the absent far away,
Sat the maid amid the flowerets,
Looking beautiful as they.
Back and forth the needles flitting,
Thoughtfully the maid was sitting,
Knitting on the sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

Thinking of a little cottage,
Nestling by the bonnie burn,
Dreaming of a happy future
When her soldier will return.
Thoughtfully the maid was sitting,
Slowly knitting, slowly knitting
On the soldier’s sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

The Tribute Book
By Frank Boott Goodrich 1865

The yarn , the heart, the hand, the love, the dreams and prayers referred to in the following verses, all came from a border state:
“Fold them up, they are warm and soft
As the delicate knitter’s heart and hand,
A pair of soft, blue woolen socks,
And love knit in with every strand.

More than this, there are dreams and prayers
Wove in like a mystic, golden thread—
Dreams that may stir a soldier’s heart,
And prayers to bless a dying head.

It is not vain, it is not vain,
For love is blest, and prayer is strong,
To move the Arm that surely guides
The breasts that stem the tide of wrong.

And those who, praying, still believe,
Shall know the strength of human will;
They dream prophetic histories,
And through their faith their hopes fulfill.”

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