The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #2150847
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
16-Sep-07 - 10:45 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
My daughter needed to find a poem that told a story for a class in high school, and asked me where to find Barbara Freitchie, because she remembered how we used to read it with great gusto. I'd found a copy of Rainbow in the Sky at my Dad's house after he died. I don't know where the edition from my childhood got to, but I brought this home and immediately made it a regular part of our bedtime reading.

After she finished the assignment she commented that she can't read that without hearing my voice. :)

UP from the meadows rich with corn,   
Clear in the cool September morn,   
The clustered spires of Frederick stand   
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.   
Round about them orchards sweep,         
Apple and peach tree fruited deep,   
Fair as a garden of the Lord   
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,   
On that pleasant morn of the early fall   
When Lee marched over the mountain wall,—   
Over the mountains winding down,   
Horse and foot, into Frederick town.   
Forty flags with their silver stars,   
Forty flags with their crimson bars,   
Flapped in the morning wind: the sun   
Of noon looked down, and saw not one.   
Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,   
Bowed with her fourscore years and ten;   
Bravest of all in Frederick town,   
She took up the flag the men hauled down;   
In her attic-window the staff she set,   
To show that one heart was loyal yet.   
Up the street came the rebel tread,   
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.   
Under his slouched hat left and right   
He glanced: the old flag met his sight.   
"Halt!"—the dust-brown ranks stood fast,   
"Fire!"—out blazed the rifle-blast.   
It shivered the window, pane and sash;   
It rent the banner with seam and gash.   
Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff   
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf;   
She leaned far out on the window-sill,   
And shook it forth with a royal will.   
"Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,   
But spare your country's flag," she said.   
A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,   
Over the face of the leader came;   
The nobler nature within him stirred   
To life at that woman's deed and word:   
"Who touches a hair of yon gray head   
Dies like a dog! March on!" he said.   
All day long through Frederick street   
Sounded the tread of marching feet:   
All day long that free flag tost   
Over the heads of the rebel host.   
Ever its torn folds rose and fell   
On the loyal winds that loved it well;   
And through the hill-gaps sunset light   
Shone over it with a warm good-night.   
Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,   
And the Rebel rides on his raids no more.   
Honor to her! and let a tear   
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall's bier.   
Over Barbara Frietchie's grave,   
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!   
Peace and order and beauty draw   
Round thy symbol of light and law;   
And ever the stars above look down   
On thy stars below in Frederick town!