To William Lowell Putnam: After Seeing Two Photographs of Him

THE trumpet, now on every gale,
For triumph or in funeral-wail,
One lesson bloweth loud and clear
Above war’s clangor to my ear.
The blood that flows in bounding veins,
The blood that ebbs with lingering pains,
Springs living from the self-same heart:
Courage and patience act one part.
Doers and sufferers of God’s will
Tread in each other’s footprints still;
Soldier or saint hath equal mind,
When vows of truth the spirit bind.
Two portraits light my chamber-wall,
Hero and martyr to recall;
Lines of a single face they keep,
To make beholders glow or weep.
With gleaming hilt, girt for the tray
Freedom demands, he cannot stay :
Forward his motion, keen his glance:
’T is victory painted in a trance.
But, lo ! he turns, he folds his hands;
With farther, softening gaze he stands;
His sword is hidden from his eyes ;
His head is bent for sacrifice.
Through looks that match each varied thought
Of holy work or offering brought,
Upon the sunbeam’s shifting scroll
Shines out alike the steady soul.
Young leader ! quick to win a name
Coeval with thy country’s fame,
For either fortune thou wast born, —
The crown of laurel or of thorn.