Morgan Stanwood: Cape Ann, 1775

Little more is known;
Nothing of his home is left
But the door-step stone.
Morgan Stanwood, to our thought
You return once more;
Once again the meadows lift
Daisies to your door.
Once again the morn is sweet,
Half the hay is down, —
Hark! what means that sudden clang
From the distant town ?
Larum bell and rolling drum
Answer sea-borne guns;
Larum bell and rolling drum
Summon Freedom’s sons!
And the mower thinks to him
Cry both bell and drum,
“ Morgan Stanwood, where art thou?
Here th’ invaders come! ”
“ Morgan Stanwood ” need no more
Bell and drum-beat call;
He is one who, hearing once,
Answers once for all.
Ne’er the mower murmured then,
“ Half my grass is mown,
Homespun is n’t soldier-wear,
Each may save his own.”
Fallen scythe and aftermath
Lie forgotten now;
Winter need may come and find
But a barren mow.
Down the musket comes. “ Good wife, —
Wife, a quicker flint! ”
And the face that questions face
Hath no color in't.
“ Wife, if I am late to-night
, Milk the heifer first; —
Ruth, if I’m not home at all, —
Worse has come to worst.”
Morgan Stanwood sped along,
Not the common road;
Over wall and hill-top straight,
Straight to death, he strode;
Leaving her to hear at night
Tread of burdened men,
By the gate and through the gate,
At the door, and then —
Ever after that to hear,
When the grass is sweet,
Through the gate and through the night,
Slowly coming feet.
Morgan Stanwood’s roof is gone;
Here the door-step lies;
One may stand thereon and think, —
For the thought will rise, —
Were we where the meadow was,
Mowing grass alone,
Would we go the way he went,
From this very stone?
Were we on the door-step here,
Parting for a day,
Would we utter words as though
Parting were for aye ?
Would we ? Heart, the hearth is dear,
Meadow-math is sweet;
Parting be as parting may,
After all, we meet.
Hiram Rich.