Presentation To The Authorities, By Privates, Of Colors Captured In Battles by Herman Melville

Presentation to the Authorities,
by Privates, of Colors captured in Battles ending in the Surrender of Lee.

These flags of armies overthrown–
Flags fallen beneath the sovereign one
In end foredoomed which closes war;
We here, the captors, lay before
The altar which of right claims all–
Our Country. And as freely we,
Revering ever her sacred call,
Could lay our lives down–though life be
Thrice loved and precious to the sense
Of such as reap the recompense
Of life imperiled for just cause–
Imperiled, and yet preserved;
While comrades, whom Duty as strongly nerved,
Whose wives were all as dear, lie low.
But these flags given, glad we go
To waiting homes with vindicated laws.

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