ODE FOR DECORATION DAY by Henry Peterson (1818-1891)O gallant brothers of the generous South, Foes for a day and brothers for all time! I charge you by the memories of our youth, By Yorktown's field and Montezuma's clime, Hold our dead sacred--let them quietly rest In your unnumbered vales, where God thought best. Your vines and flowers learned long since to forgive, And o'er their graves a broidered mantle weave: Be you as kind as they are, and the word Shall reach the Northland with each summer bird, And thoughts as sweet as summer shall awake Responsive to your kindness, and shall make Our peace the peace of brothers once again, And banish utterly the days of pain. And ye, O Northmen! be ye not outdone In generous thought and deed. We all do need forgiveness, every one; And they that give shall find it in their need. Spare of your flowers to deck the stranger's grave, Who died for a lost cause:-- A soul more daring, resolute, and brave, Ne'er won a world's applause. A brave man's hatred pauses at the tomb. For him some Southern home was robed in gloom, Some wife or mother looked with longing eyes Through sad days and nights with tears and sighs, Hope slowly hardening into gaunt Despair. Then let your foeman's grave remembrance share: Pity a higher charm to Valor lends, And in the realm of Sorrow all are friends.