The Battle-Field

Once this soft turf, this rivulet’s sands,
Were trampled by a hurrying crowd,
And fiery hearts and armed hands
Encounter’d in the battle-cloud.

Ah, never shall the land forget
How gush’d the life-blood of her brave;
Gush’d, warm with hope and courage yet,
Upon the soil they sought to save.

Now all is calm, and fresh, and still;
Alone the chirp of flitting bird,
And talk of children on the hill,
And bell of wandering kine, are heard.

No solemn host goes trailing by
The black-mouth’d gun and staggering wain;
Men start not at the battle cry,
Oh, be it never heard again!

–William Cullen Bryant (1794 – 1878)