The Yank and the Reb
First of all, I did not write this poem...it was written by Lucius Perry Hills...it is a favorite of mine and I wanted to share it with ya'll...let me know what you think
The Yank and the Reb...
White fingers were strewing memorial flowers
where the fallen Confederates lay,
the boys who had fought 'neath the stars and the bars
in their ragged old suits of gray,
and I laid a white rose on a grave at my side,
a token tender and true
to the courage of those who had fought as my foes,
as I was wearing the blue.
Near by stood a veteran, grizzled and bent,
who held in his trembling hand
a tattered old flag that in many a fight
had led his Confederate band.
And I saw the tears start to his dim, misty eyes
as he gazed on that banner there,
and folded it round the bullet-scarred staff
with a sad and reverent air.
Then one who had worn not the Blue nor the Gray,
standing there by the graves of the dead,
with a cold, sneering smile on his lips the while
in a tone of mockery said:
Just see that crippled old Johnny there,
with his worn-out shred of a flag,
wiping the tears from his watery eyes
at the sight of that old rebel rag.
The flag of a cause that he knew was unjust
and of ignominious birth,
that represented no tangible thing
in the heavens or on the green earth;
A flag...hold a moment, my friend, I said,
while I ask you a question or two:
Pray, where were you then, in the sixties,
when the Gray was fighting the Blue?
Not following where that old banner led,
or you would acknowledge, I ween,
that it represented a courage as great
as the world has ever seen;
Nor bravely facing those legions in gray,
or you would certainly know
that none but a coward would cast such a slur
on a gallant but fallen foe.
I stood on the line in many a fight,
and heard the wild Rebel yell,
and saw those ragged old legions charge
through storms of shot and shell;
and my heart said then and repeats it now,
as every true heart must,
that never an army fought like that
for a cause they deemed unjust.
I thought they were wrong and I think so still,
for I am a Yank you see;
But through triumph and rout I had never a doubt
they were thinking the same of me;
For no hypocrite host could ever boast
of soldiers who fought so well,
Of those who would face with an equal grace
the battle's raging hell.
And I yield no jot of my loyal pride,
or of love for the flag of the free,
When I bow my head o'er the graves of the dead
who fell in the ranks of Lee,
And I claim the right of a soldier,
who did his best for the Union flag,
To honor the vet whose eyes grow wet
at the sight of that battle-torn rag.
For 'tis proof to me of a loyal soul,
that will never desert a fight,
But will bravely defend to the bitter end
the cause he deems the right;
And I know that henceforth he will prove
more true to the Union stripes and stars,
Because he will not dishonor now
the fallen stars and bars.
And whenever within our time, my friend,
a foreign foeman comes,
And a call to arms, with the rude alarms
of the bugles and the drums,
Then you, once more, as you did before,
safe at your home may stay,
While your country's foes will be thrashed by those
who wore both the Blue and the Gray.