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Ashlar Home > Poems > Rob Morris > The Veterans' Gathering

The Veterans' Gathering

By Rob Morris

'Tis well nigh forty years ago,
This gallant company set forth,
A warmer-hearted set, I trove,
Hath never graced the earth
And here we are, a veteran ring,
A remnant old and gray,
Resolved, whate'er the morn may bring,
To-night we will be gay, dear Boys,
Oh, very glad and gay.

Then close the ranks, touch elbows, Boys,
Old friends are dropping fast,
Close up, close up a manly front,
'Twill all come right at last, dear Boys,
Sure to come right at last.

What's three score years to men like you?
The spirit scorns a base control,
Old Time your sturdy backs may bow,
He cannot bend the soul
The eye that scans an honest life
Nor age nor clouds may dim
The heart with generous promptings rife
Sings a perpetual hymn, dear Boys,
A bright, perpetual hymn.

Shall we begrudge the tender tear
To those who've stemmed the Lethean wave?
Ah, no, 'twill cast no shadows here
To name them in the grave
We loved them, there's no fear in love,
Then reach across the sea,
And hail them in their homes above,
Bright forms of memory, dear Boys,
Best forms of memory.

A moment longer, he whose name
To-night goes round your festive board,
In stammering words and couplets tame
Thus pledges heart and word
We may not meet again 'till death
Unite us 'neath his power,
But while I draw the vital breath
I'll not forget this hour, dear Boys,
Never forget this hour!

Then close the ranks, touch elbows, Boys,
Old friends are dropping fast
Close up, close up a manly front,
'Twill all come right at last, dear Boys,
Sure to come right at last.

Commentary

Composed for a gathering of Masons at the Grand Union Hotel, New York City, February 15, 1883, in compliment to Brother Rob Morris, of Kentucky.
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