Friday, April 7, 2017

Lines On The Back Of A Confederate Note

Confederate One Dollar Bill
Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Representing nothing on God's earth now,
And naught in the waters below it,
As the pledge of a nation that's dead and gone,
Keep it, dear friends and show it.

Show it to those who will lend an ear
To the tale that this trifle can tell,
Of liberty born of a patriot's dream,
Of a storm-cradled nation that fell.

Too poor to possess the precious ores,
And too much of a stranger to borrow,
We issued today our promise to pay
And hoped to redeem on the morrow.

The days rolled by and the weeks became years,
But our coffers were empty still.
Coin was so rare that the treasury'd quake
If a dollar dropped into the till.

But the faith that was in us was strong indeed,
And our poverty well we discerned,
And this little note represented the pay
That our suffering veterans earned.

They knew it had hardly a value in gold,
Yet as gold each soldier received it.
It gazed in our eyes with a promise to pay,
And every true soldier believed it.

But our boys thought little of price or of pay,
Or of bills that were long past due;
We knew if  it brought us our bread today,
'Twas the best our poor country could do.

Keep it; it tells all our history over,
From the birth of the dream to its last:
Modest and born of the Angel of Hope,
Like our hope of success it has passed.

Written by Major Samuel Alroy Jones

Cannons standing as silent reminders of the largest battle
ever fought on American soil during the Civil War.
The Battle of Gettysburg
July 1–July 3, 1863

More American lives were lost in this battle than
 in any other battle during the war.

The Soldier's Monument
Gettysburg National Cemetery

Sleep softly . . . eagle forgotten . . . under the stone,
Time has its way with you there and the clay has its own.
Sleep on, O brave-hearted, O wise man that kindled the flame—
To live in mankind is far more than to live in a name,  
To live in mankind, far, far more . . . than to live in a name.
-Vachel Lindsay

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