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Fling Out the Flag.

Fling Out the Flag.

Fling out the flag and let it wave
From swelling dome and rising spire –
The starry banner of the brave,
Lighting the land with points of fire.
It is the flag our heroes bore
In triumph through the battle’s blast.
Though scorched with flame and stained with gore
It waves in triumph form its masts.

That flag the symbol of the free
Has dawned upon the nation’s night
Like sunrise on a stormy sea,
Whose billows kiss the morning light.
Its starlit folds, baptized with blood,
Shall guide the hosts of heroes now,
As fiery pillar o’er the flood
Led Israel up from deeps below.
*
Republican Advocate – Batavia NY
June 2-1863.

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Maggie Peer.

The poem, Maggie Peer, was written by Mary E. Erwin of Bethany.

The Progressive Batavian – Batavia,NY – April 24-1868 :
“The Exhibition at Bethany Center, on Friday and Saturday evenings, 10th and 11th inst., proved a success…. the reading of an original poemby miss M.E. ERWIN, styled “Maggie Peer,” a true tale of the late Rebellion, which, although quite lengthy, held the audience in such breathless silence that a pin might have been heard drop.”
****
MAGGIE PEER.

A TRUE TALE OF THE WAR.

The Bird of Peace has spread her wings
Again in our glorious sky;
But plaintive and sad is the song she sings,
So sad that many a sigh it brings,
And tears to many an eye.

She has gained the prize, but at fearful cost,
For she misses the true and the brave;
She mourns for the loved forever lost-
For the war-worn feet that forever crossed
The portal of the grave.

When first rebellion uttered the cry
Of treason toward the North,
With ready foot and kindling eye,
How many bound to do or die,
Rushed wildly, madly forth.

Fair Maggie Peer was young and true,
And loved her country well;
But oh, ’twas hard to say “Adieu”
To him who wore the coat of blue,
Her noble Harry Bell.

They had pledged their love bright years before,
And time’s unvarying tide
Was nearing the day when Harry no more
Should tread alone life’s pathway o’er,
But with Maggie, his beautiful bride.

They had pledged their love in an early day,
When their hearts were fresh and warm,
When they little thought of a deadly fray,
With battle hosts in bright array,
Or cannon’s thundering storm.

And the maiden’s cheek grew pale with fear,
And the rose flush faded away,
As Harry, concealing a manly tear,
Said “Heaven support poor Maggie Peer,
When the bridal day has hastened here,
And I am far away!”

“And Maggie,” he said, “on our nuptial day,
Though legions should be between,
I’ll renew the vows that here I pay,
And repledge my heart though so far away,
And remember you, Maggie, wherever I pray,
And you will the same, I ween.

“And here is the ring that shall wed our hearts;
And the diamond’s deathless glow
Will remind you oft of the tear that starts,
And that death alone is the power that parts
Your soldier-boy from you.

“And Maggie, I bring you the bridal gloves-
Ah, we thought to have worn them soon-
We thought to have pledged our sacred loves
Ere the waning of yon bright moon.

“For I would not leave you a weeping wife,
Full strong is the tender tie,
When every pulse of your sweet young life
To mine beats a true reply.

“But you’ll take these gloves; and Maggie, see!
They are pure and white and true,
The larger pair you will keep for me,
Till I come again when our land is free,
And the smaller ones are for you.

“Like the sweet white hand in my own strong grasp,
I have folded them both away,
And no hand but Maggie’s shall loosen the clasp,
And none but mine in these gloves shall grasp
Her own, on our bridal day.

“But Maggie, if aught should come between,”
And he paused as if for breath,
And his eye grew dreamy, as if he had seen
The pale, pale steed, and in ghostly sheen,
The spectral rider-Death!

“Yes, Maggie, and if the fate that calls
Me away from home and you,
‘Mid the shot and shell where the bravest falls,
Be the fate that I perish, too!

“Or in the dreary hospital,
Unnoticed and unknown,
It be my weary fate to fall,
To pine and die alone,
I would have you weep a little, then,
And mourn, as I would for you,
And shun the smiles of other men,
And all for my sake, too.

“But I would that again the frank young smile
Should rest on the ruby lips,
That the tear-dimmed eyes should come ere while
From their lonely, long eclipse.

And if it were pleasant to think of love,
And another should whisper low
Of the sacred bond blessed from above,
As oft I used to do,
Remember, then, as a pleasant dream,
All, all I’m to thee now;
Nor let with the orange-blossom seem
One shadow on thy brow.

“Put far away from thy happy eyes
Each token of love from me,
For the once-pledged heart is prone to prize
The love-links of its early ties,
When it fluttered no longer free.

“And draw from thy finger the little ring
That for me no more you’ll wear,
And take from thy locket’s golden spring
That ringlet of raven hair,
For a passing sigh or tear ‘twould bring
To see it coiling there.

“And the snowy gloves, the large and small,
Both, both must be borne away,
And with them, too, the remembrance of all
That is said to you to-day.

“Thou hast a friend, she is kind and true,
And will guard these treasures well;
Nor will she mock thee by bringing to view
The old love pledges to taunt the new,
Or to waken memory’s spell.

“And now, sweet Maggie, a last adieu!”
He whispered in tender tone,
Her quivering lips to his own he drew,
Her tears fell fast on the coat of blue,
He pointed to heaven and said “Be true!”
A moment, and he was gone.

And time rolled by, and time doth bring
A balm for every pain;
And time did soothe the bitter sting
Of grief that seemed to have no wing,
And hope’s sweet bird began to sing
In both young hearts again.

And Harry was brave and bold and true,
And wore his honors well,
And in the valiant ranks of blue,
A nobler man no veteran knew
Than Captain Harry Bell.

Light was his step and gay his mien,
And high was his martial air,
And an angry frown was never seen
To darken the forehead fair;
But often, the sunniest smiles between,
A shadow o’erclouding his eyes’ soft sheen,
Would dreamily settle there.

A year wore on, and the noble form
Of Captain Harry Bell
Was foremost seen in the leaden storm,
‘Mid the burning shot and shell;
But the maiden’s prayer in her distant home
Seemed heard and answered well.

But over the glories of field and plain,
O’er the hush of the quiet camp,
A wild malaria swept amain;
And with fevered cheek and frantic brain,
And forehead cold and damp,
Poor Captain Harry Bell was borne
Away to the hospital.

And the locks from his pallid brow were shorn,
For his frenzied fingers had wildly torn
At the clustering tresses all.

The shadows of midnight, cool and kind,
Like a calm to the weary, fell,
When reason stole to the wandering mind
Of suffering Harry Bell;
But he only woke to know that death
Was nearing his phantom barque,
And he felt on his forehead his icy breath,
And ‘neath him the waters dark.

But early in life his peace was made,
And his heart was stayed on Him
Who stoops from heaven when earth-scenes fade
And mortal eyes grow dim.

So he whispered a prayer for the loved at home,
For his waiting widowed bride-
Outstretched his arms, for death had come
And passed o’er the silent tide.

In her northern home, poor Maggie Peer
No message of death had heard,
And over his silence shed many a tear,
And sickened with hope deferred.

But word had come to her kind old sire,
That Harry was lying low,
And the telegraph’s electric fire
Confirmed the tale of woe.

But the father forebore to tell his child,
And assumed a cheerful part;
But the laugh was gone that his home beguiled,
Her troubled eye made his pulses wild,
And her sighs rent his anxious heart.

“I will speed,” he said, “to the town away-
I will learn-be it better or worse.”
And as toward the village his steps did stray,
He saw the approaching hearse.

At the depot a panting train did halt,
And a coffin was lowered slow-
And sad with sorrow each face was fraught-
But on sped the train as if it had not brought
Such a weight of mortal woe.

Of the coffined form I need not tell,
Of the dark and death-draped bier,
Of the doleful dirge of the funeral knell,
Of the grave where sleeps young Harry Bell,
Or of weeping Maggie Peer.

But the burial scene was wild with grief,
And the gathering crowd was vast;
And sympathy proffered a vain relief,
As a pale young maiden, the mourner chief,
Swooned over the dead like an autumn leaf
Just shaken in winter’s blast.

And a hundred hands were stretched to raise
The seemingly lifeless form-
And a hundred hearts went up in praise,
When the dear old light of other days
Came flickering back its friendly rays
To the eyes so soft and warm.

Three years have rolled to the past since then,
And still she is Maggie Peer;
But they tell me a change is coming, when
The summer days draw near.

And I know it is so, for I am the friend
Young Harry assigned to keep
His pledges of love, which she should send
To me, when no more for that early friend
Her joy-lit eyes would weep.

And the pledges have come!-the tress of hair,
The ring with its diamond true;
The cold kid gloves, so pale and fair,
The larger and the smaller pair,
Which never a mortal hand doth wear,
Nor an earthly eye doth view.

She has pledged again her heart and hand
To another, true and brave,
And soon together they’ll pass the strand
To wedlock’s golden wave.
And her eye will scan, like a far-off land,
That long and lonely grave.

And I think as I gaze on each snowy glove,
Of the hands that are whiter than they,
The hands that are clasped no more in love,
But are locked a dreamless breast above,
‘Neath the cold and silent clay.

And this silken tress of raven hair
That my fingers twine about,
Recalls my thoughts to the forehead fair,
To the cold damp locks that are coiling there,
And the diamond doth deathless love declare,
Though the light of the eyes went out.

And I am to stand by Maggie’s side,
When the Man of God shall clasp
The little hand of the blushing bride
In a steadier, stronger grasp.

And I will not question her happy eye,
Though a pang my heart should swell,
But all unnoticed I’ll heave a sigh,
And I’ll drop a tear to the memory
Of forgotten Harry Bell.
****
Mary E. Erwin (Hobbs) became known as the Poetess of Bethany for her numerous poems – many
published in the local newspapers in the 1860s and 1870s. She was
educated at Bethany Academy and Cary Collegiate Seminary. She was a member
of the editorial staff of Wood’s Household Magazine and contributor for
American Rural Home. After her marriage to Josiah H Hobbs in 1878, they
moved to Madison, New Hampshire. After her death, Hobbs published a book of
her works in 1891 which included many of her bridal offerings, presentations
of honors, and tributes and memorials for area friends and family. ~

From her memoir:
” In the publication entitled, “Poets of America,” in which Mrs Hobbs is
included, the learned editor asserts that ‘Few writers so exquisitely
realize the wealth and worth there is in word shading as doest this
lady,’ -and that her poems – ‘exhibit a carefulness of expression and a
dainty choice of language that the most artistic taste could ask.’ ”

Read Full Post »

Maggie Peer

The poem, Maggie Peer, was written by Mary E. Erwin of Bethany.
The Progressive Batavian – Batavia,NY –  April 24-1868 :
“The Exhibition at Bethany Center, on Friday and Saturday evenings, 10th and 11th inst., proved a success…. the reading of an original poemby miss M.E. ERWIN, styled “Maggie Peer,” a true tale of
the late Rebellion, which, although quite lengthy, held the audience in such breathless silence that a pin might have been heard drop.”

MAGGIE PEER.

       A TRUE TALE OF THE WAR.

The Bird of Peace has spread her wings
Again in our glorious sky;
But plaintive and sad is the song she sings,
So sad that many a sigh it brings,
And tears to many an eye.

She has gained the prize, but at fearful cost,
For she misses the true and the brave;
She mourns for the loved forever lost-
For the war-worn feet that forever crossed
The portal of the grave.

When first rebellion uttered the cry
Of treason toward the North,
With ready foot and kindling eye,
How many bound to do or die,
Rushed wildly, madly forth.

Fair Maggie Peer was young and true,
And loved her country well;
But oh, ’twas hard to say “Adieu”
To him who wore the coat of blue,
Her noble Harry Bell.

They had pledged their love bright years before,
And time’s unvarying tide
Was nearing the day when Harry no more
Should tread alone life’s pathway o’er,
But with Maggie, his beautiful bride.

They had pledged their love in an early day,
When their hearts were fresh and warm,
When they little thought of a deadly fray,
With battle hosts in bright array,

 Or cannon’s thundering storm.

And the maiden’s cheek grew pale with fear,
            And the rose flush faded away,
As Harry, concealing a manly tear,
Said “Heaven support poor Maggie Peer,
When the bridal day has hastened here,
            And I am far away!”

“And Maggie,” he said, “on our nuptial day,
            Though legions should be between,
I’ll renew the vows that here I pay,
And repledge my heart though so far away,
And remember you, Maggie, wherever I pray,
            And you will the same, I ween.

“And here is the ring that shall wed our hearts;
            And the diamond’s deathless glow
Will remind you oft of the tear that starts,
And that death alone is the power that parts
Your soldier-boy from you.

“And Maggie, I bring you the bridal gloves-
            Ah, we thought to have worn them soon-
We thought to have pledged our sacred loves
            Ere the waning of yon bright moon.

“For I would not leave you a weeping wife,
            Full strong is the tender tie,
When every pulse of your sweet young life
            To mine beats a true reply.

“But you’ll take these gloves; and Maggie, see!
            They are pure and white and true,
The larger pair you will keep for me,
Till I come again when our land is free,
            And the smaller ones are for you.

“Like the sweet white hand in my own strong grasp,
            I have folded them both away,
And no hand but Maggie’s shall loosen the clasp,
And none but mine in these gloves shall grasp
            Her own, on our bridal day.

“But Maggie, if aught should come between,”
            And he paused as if for breath,
And his eye grew dreamy, as if he had seen
The pale, pale steed, and in ghostly sheen,
            The spectral rider-Death!

“Yes, Maggie, and if the fate that calls
            Me away from home and you,
‘Mid the shot and shell where the bravest falls,
            Be the fate that I perish, too!

“Or in the dreary hospital,
            Unnoticed and unknown,
It be my weary fate to fall,
To pine and die alone,
I would have you weep a little, then,
And mourn, as I would for you,
And shun the smiles of other men,
            And all for my sake, too.

“But I would that again the frank young smile
            Should rest on the ruby lips,
That the tear-dimmed eyes should come ere while
            From their lonely, long eclipse.

And if it were pleasant to think of love,
            And another should whisper low
Of the sacred bond blessed from above,
As oft I used to do,
Remember, then, as a pleasant dream,
All, all I’m to thee now;
Nor let with the orange-blossom seem
            One shadow on thy brow.

“Put far away from thy happy eyes
            Each token of love from me,
For the once-pledged heart is prone to prize
             The love-links of its early ties,
            When it fluttered no longer free.

“And draw from thy finger the little ring
            That for me no more you’ll wear,
And take from thy locket’s golden spring
That ringlet of raven hair,
For a passing sigh or tear ‘twould bring
            To see it coiling there.

“And the snowy gloves, the large and small,
            Both, both must be borne away,
And with them, too, the remembrance of all
            That is said to you to-day.

“Thou hast a friend, she is kind and true,
            And will guard these treasures well;
Nor will she mock thee by bringing to view
The old love pledges to taunt the new,
            Or to waken memory’s spell.

“And now, sweet Maggie, a last adieu!”
            He whispered in tender tone,
Her quivering lips to his own he drew,
Her tears fell fast on the coat of blue,
He pointed to heaven and said “Be true!”
            A moment, and he was gone.

And time rolled by, and time doth bring
            A balm for every pain;
And time did soothe the bitter sting
Of grief that seemed to have no wing,
And hope’s sweet bird began to sing
            In both young hearts again.

And Harry was brave and bold and true,
            And wore his honors well,
And in the valiant ranks of blue,
A nobler man no veteran knew
            Than Captain Harry Bell.

Light was his step and gay his mien,
            And high was his martial air,
And an angry frown was never seen
To darken the forehead fair;
But often, the sunniest smiles between,
A shadow o’erclouding his eyes’ soft sheen,
            Would dreamily settle there.

A year wore on, and the noble form
            Of Captain Harry Bell
Was foremost seen in the leaden storm,
‘Mid the burning shot and shell;
But the maiden’s prayer in her distant home
            Seemed heard and answered well.

But over the glories of field and plain,
            O’er the hush of the quiet camp,
A wild malaria swept amain;
And with fevered cheek and frantic brain,
And forehead cold and damp,
Poor Captain Harry Bell was borne
            Away to the hospital.

And the locks from his pallid brow were shorn,
For his frenzied fingers had wildly torn
            At the clustering tresses all.

The shadows of midnight, cool and kind,
            Like a calm to the weary, fell,
When reason stole to the wandering mind
Of suffering Harry Bell;
But he only woke to know that death
Was nearing his phantom barque,
And he felt on his forehead his icy breath,
            And ‘neath him the waters dark.

 But early in life his peace was made,
            And his heart was stayed on Him
Who stoops from heaven when earth-scenes fade
            And mortal eyes grow dim.

So he whispered a prayer for the loved at home,
For his waiting widowed bride-
Outstretched his arms, for death had come
            And passed o’er the silent tide.

In her northern home, poor Maggie Peer
            No message of death had heard,
And over his silence shed many a tear,
            And sickened with hope deferred.

But word had come to her kind old sire,
            That Harry was lying low,
And the telegraph’s electric fire
            Confirmed the tale of woe.

But the father forebore to tell his child,
            And assumed a cheerful part;
But the laugh was gone that his home beguiled,
Her troubled eye made his pulses wild,
            And her sighs rent his anxious heart.

“I will speed,” he said, “to the town away-
            I will learn-be it better or worse.”
And as toward the village his steps did stray,
            He saw the approaching hearse.

At the depot a panting train did halt,
            And a coffin was lowered slow-
And sad with sorrow each face was fraught-
But on sped the train as if it had not brought
            Such a weight of mortal woe.

Of the coffined form I need not tell,
            Of the dark and death-draped bier,
Of the doleful dirge of the funeral knell,
Of the grave where sleeps young Harry Bell,
            Or of weeping Maggie Peer.

But the burial scene was wild with grief,
            And the gathering crowd was vast;
And sympathy proffered a vain relief,
As a pale young maiden, the mourner chief,
Swooned over the dead like an autumn leaf
            Just shaken in winter’s blast.

And a hundred hands were stretched to raise
            The seemingly lifeless form-
And a hundred hearts went up in praise,
When the dear old light of other days
Came flickering back its friendly rays
            To the eyes so soft and warm.

Three years have rolled to the past since then,
            And still she is Maggie Peer;
But they tell me a change is coming, when
            The summer days draw near.

And I know it is so, for I am the friend
            Young Harry assigned to keep
His pledges of love, which she should send
To me, when no more for that early friend
            Her joy-lit eyes would weep.

And the pledges have come!-the tress of hair,
            The ring with its diamond true;
The cold kid gloves, so pale and fair,
The larger and the smaller pair,
Which never a mortal hand doth wear,
          Nor an earthly eye doth view.

She has pledged again her heart and hand
            To another, true and brave,
And soon together they’ll pass the strand
To wedlock’s golden wave.
And her eye will scan, like a far-off land,
That long and lonely grave.

And I think as I gaze on each snowy glove,
            Of the hands that are whiter than they,
The hands that are clasped no more in love,
But are locked a dreamless breast above,
            ‘Neath the cold and silent clay.

And this silken tress of raven hair
            That my fingers twine about,
Recalls my thoughts to the forehead fair,
To the cold damp locks that are coiling there,
And the diamond doth deathless love declare,
            Though the light of the eyes went out.

And I am to stand by Maggie’s side,
            When the Man of God shall clasp
The little hand of the blushing bride
            In a steadier, stronger grasp.

And I will not question her happy eye,
            Though a pang my heart should swell,
But all unnoticed I’ll heave a sigh,
And I’ll drop a tear to the memory
            Of forgotten Harry Bell.
****

Mary E. Erwin (Hobbs) became known as the Poetess of Bethany for her numerous poems – many
published in the local newspapers in the 1860s and 1870s.  She  was
educated at Bethany Academy and Cary Collegiate Seminary.  She was a member
of the editorial staff of Wood’s Household Magazine and contributor for
American Rural Home. After her marriage to Josiah H Hobbs in 1878, they
moved to Madison, New Hampshire.  After her death, Hobbs published a book of
her works in 1891 which included many of her bridal offerings, presentations
of honors, and tributes and memorials for area friends and family.  ~
   
 From her memoir:
” In the publication entitled, “Poets of America,” in which Mrs Hobbs is
included, the learned editor asserts that ‘Few writers so exquisitely
realize the wealth and worth there is in word shading as doest this
lady,’ -and that her poems – ‘exhibit a carefulness of expression and a
dainty choice of language that the most artistic taste could ask.’ ”

Read Full Post »