Richard Chenevix Trench

Here you will find the Poem After The Battle of poet Richard Chenevix Trench

After The Battle

WE crown?d the hard-won heights at length, 
 Baptiz?d in flame and fire; 
We saw the foeman?s sullen strength, 
 That grimly made retire? 
Saw close at hand, then saw more far 
 Beneath the battle-smoke 
The ridges of his shatter?d war, 
 That broke and ever broke. 
But one, an English household?s pride, 
 Dear many ways to me, 
Who climb?d that death-path by my side, 
 I sought, but could not see. 
Last seen, what time our foremost rank 
 That iron tempest tore; 
He touch?d, he scal?d the rampart bank?
 Seen then, and seen no more. 
One friend to aid, I measur?d back 
 With him that pathway dread; 
No fear to wander from our track? 
 Its waymarks English dead.
Light thicken?d: but our search was crown?d, 
 As we too well divin?d; 
And after briefest quest we found 
 What we most fear?d to find. 
His bosom with one death-shot riven,
 The warrior-boy lay low; 
His face was turn?d unto the heaven, 
 His feet unto the foe. 
As he had fallen upon the plain, 
 Inviolate he lay;
No ruffian spoiler?s hand profane 
 Had touch?d that noble clay. 
And precious things he still retain?d, 
 Which, by one distant hearth, 
Lov?d tokens of the lov?d, had gain?d 
 A worth beyond all worth. 
I treasur?d these for them who yet 
 Knew not their mighty wo; 
I softly seal?d his eyes, and set 
 One kiss upon his brow.
A decent grave we scoop?d him, where 
 Less thickly lay the dead, 
And decently compos?d him there 
 Within that narrow bed. 
O theme for manhood?s bitter tears:
 The beauty and the bloom 
Of less than twenty summer years 
 Shut in that darksome tomb! 
Of soldier-sire the soldier-son; 
 Life?s honor?d eventide 
One lives to close in England, one 
 In maiden battle died: 
And they, that should have been the mourn?d, 
 The mourners? parts obtain: 
Such thoughts were ours, as we return?d
 To earth its earth again. 
Brief words we read of faith and prayer 
 Beside that hasty grave; 
Then turn?d away, and left him there, 
 The gentle and the brave: 
I calling back with thankful heart, 
 With thoughts to peace allied, 
Hours when we two had knelt apart 
 Upon the lone hillside; 
And, comforted, I prais?d the grace 
 Which him had led to be 
An early seeker of that Face 
 Which he should early see.