I was in Floyd, Virginia today and saw this monument before the courthouse. Intrigued by the bit of poetry on the base I researched it when I got home and discovered that it comes from a poem by Henry Timrod, who died in 1867 at age 39 and is sometimes called the Poet Laureate of the Confederacy. For any interested, here is the poem:
SUNG ON THE OCCASION OF DECORATING THE GRAVES
OF THE CONFEDERATE DEAD, AT MAGNOLIA CEMETERY,
CHARLESTON, S. C., 1867.
Sleep sweetly in your humble graves,
Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause;
Though yet no marble column craves
The pilgrim here to pause.
In seeds of laurel in the earth
The blossom of your fame is blown,
And somewhere, waiting for its birth,
The shaft is in the stone!
Meanwhile, behalf the tardy years
Which keep in trust your storied tombs,
Behold! your sisters bring their tears,
And these memorial blooms.
Small tributes! but your shades will smile
More proudly on these wreaths to-day,
Than when some cannon-moulded pile
Shall overlook this bay.
Stoop, angels, hither from the skies!
There is no holier spot of ground
Than where defeated valor lies,
By mourning beauty crowned!
The poem reminded me of a monument titled "Gloria Victis" (Glory to the Vanquished) which we saw in Bordeaux on vacation earlier this year. The statue is in honor of the French soldiers killed in the Franco-Prussian War and I found it moving. I wonder if the sculptor was influenced by Timrod's poem...