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AFTER  ALL

By
William Winter
1836 - 1917


&/\&/\&

The apples are ripe in the orchard,

The work of the reaper is done;

And the golden woodlands redden

In the blood of the dying sun.
 

At the cottage-door the grandsire

Sits, pale, in his easy chair,

While a gentle wind of twilight

Plays with his silver hair.
 

A woman is kneeling beside him;

A fair young head is press'd,

In the first wild passion of sorrow,

Against his aged breast.
 

And far from over the distance

The faltering echoes come

Of the flying blast of trumpet

And the rattling roll of drum.
 

Then the grandsire speaks in a whisper:

" The end no man can see, ---

But we give him to his Country,

And we give our prayers to Thee ! " ---
 

The violets star the meadows,

The rose-buds fringe the door,

And over the grassy orchard

The pink-white blossoms pour.
 

But the grandsire's chair is empty,

The cottage is dark and still;

There's a nameless grave on the battle-field,

And a new one under the hill.
 

And a pallid tearless woman

By the cold hearth sits alone;

And the old clock in the corner

Ticks on with a steady drone.
 

&/\&/\&
 
 

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