June 9, 2012

Lucas: like the ebbing tide

Daniel Bedinger Lucas was born in the area of Virginia which later incorporated into the Union as West Virginia, though he himself fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. He wrote poetry throughout most of his life, often about the Southern cause, earning him the nickname "The Poet Laureate of the Lost Cause" (a nickname offered to others as well).

One such poem, "In Memoriam," was used to dedicate a memorial to Confederate soldiers buried at Edge Hill Cemetery in the capital city of Lucas's home state. It is dated June 9, 1888:

And shall we then forget these heroes? Never!
    The Southern heart that boasts their memory not
    Shall be itself deservedly forgot,
While they in fame live on forever!

The sceptre, like the ebbing tide, departs,
    While like the granite cliff, whose stable form
    Hurls back the breakers, and resists the storm
Great deeds outwear all human arts!

And when some laggard age shall lack the light
    Of high achievement, or sublimer mood,
    Heroic travail, or great fortitude,
Here shall example serve the right!

Praised be their overtures to Liberty,
    Their courage, and their unbought sense of wrong!
    Sublimely faithful, and in patience strong,
Their deeds remain our legacy!

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