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Long Ago: A Poem of Loss, Written in 1867

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Championhilz, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. Championhilz

    Championhilz Sergeant

    Mar 18, 2011
    Clinton, Mississippi
    I found the following poem, "Long Ago," in The Meridian Semi-Weekly Gazette, June 13, 1867, and the mournful, sad lines spoke to me. The writer, identified only as "E.S.," was certainly someone that had suffered great loss, and the pain they were suffering was all to common in the post war South.

    I am sitting, sitting all alone,

    19th Century Depiction of a Woman in Mourning - http://cwciv.tripod.com/mourning.html
    In the little cottage door;

    Where oft I've sat with loved ones

    In the halcyon days of yore -

    Memory reverts in a sadness,

    To the time I used to rove

    Round about this quiet cottage,

    With those I fondly loved -

    Unbidden tears are falling,

    As a glance I backward throw,

    Through the sad and many changes,

    Since the times of long ago.

    Twas here I spent my childhood,

    Neath this cottage roof so low;

    Floating on the stream of pleasure,

    In the time of long ago;

    With those I loved to join me,

    In the sports of my delight,

    From the early dawn of morning,

    Till the reign of dismal night.

    Oh! blissful days of childhood,

    Why did ye fly so fast?

    And leave the weary heart to feel,

    Life's sweetest joys are past.

    Twas then, I had a mother dear,

    With a voice so sweet and low,

    And a father kissed me often,

    In times of long ago.

    And too, I had a brother dear,

    With a heart so manly firm

    And a sister to caress me

    With a love that's always true.

    But all have gone and left me,

    There are none that love me now -

    There are none that love me now -

    There are none to caress me,

    Nor soothe my aching brow.

    My mother's form is mouldering,

    Beneath the old Elm tree;

    My father's bones are lying,

    'Neath the deep and far off sea;

    The grass and flowers are growing,

    On the little mound we made,

    In the corner of the garden,

    Where my darling sister's laid.

    My brother, oh my brother -

    He never had a grave -

    He fell, as falls the soldier,

    The bravest of the brave.

    The world's a desert now to me,

    One field of endless woe,

    I ne'er again shall see such days,

    As the times of long ago.

    But whereso'er I wander,

    Over land, or over sea;

    My thoughts shall come at evening,

    Childhood's home to thee,

    And when my living ceases,

    And my body slumbers low,

    I'll join in Heaven my loved ones,

    As in the times of long ago.


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  3. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

    Feb 14, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    Boy, no one could tug the heartstrings like the Victorians in full cry, right? This is rending!
    LoyaltyOfDogs likes this.
  4. LoyaltyOfDogs

    LoyaltyOfDogs Sergeant

    Aug 8, 2011
    Gettysburg area
    The initials "E.S." reminded me of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, whose prolific writings after the war included many intended to reassure and comfort readers who had lost loved ones. Donna shared one of her popular poems, "A Message," about a soldier dying at Malvern Hill, in an earlier thread. Her books, including the "Gates Ajar" series about Heaven, were best-sellers. Here is more about her: http://civilwarwomenblog.com/elizabeth-stuart-phelps/.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
    JPK Huson 1863 likes this.
  5. MRB1863

    MRB1863 Captain Forum Host

    Dec 6, 2014
    Lemoyne, PA (35 miles N. of Gettysburg)
    An emotion provoking poem to say the least! Many lonely survivors shared in this grief from both the top of the country and the bottom. Unfortunate and all part of our National History, like it or not.
    JPK Huson 1863 likes this.

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