Death of General Lyon
Death —of— General Lyon.
The wild-dog sought his matted lair, the rattlesnake his hole,
For smoke and boom of heavy guns o’er Springfield’s prairies roll’d;
And swift rushed on Iowa’s sons, and boldly Kansas’ pressed,
For they would meet a foe that day. these Soldiers of the West.
No better men to guide the plough or press the delving spade;
No firmer arms to strike the game or shake the shining blade;
Ah! well might Lyon’s heart dilate, and valor fire his breast.
When he was called to lead these men, the Soldiers of the West.
Long raged the fight near Wilson’s Creek, and thick flew ball and shell;
Like tigers fought these frontier men, like wounded tigers fell;
Then Lyon cried, as he scann’d their ranks, with sore odds now oppress’d—
“ We’re here to die, but not to fly, my brave sons of the West!
Three times the men of Iowa, and Kansas, side by side,
Charged on a swaying host of foes, and checked the Southern tide;
Then Mississippi’s pride recoiled—Arkansas and the rest—
Unable to withstand the shock of the Soldiers of the West.
A bullet from the sullen foe now entered Lyon’s side;
In vain the dying hero the fatal wound would hide;
With sorrow deep, bronzed hunters weep, sad thoughts their hearts distressed—
For Lyon would no more lead them on to battle in the West.
When doubt and fear o’erhung the laud, and treason filled the air,
Then Lyon chose his country’s part, for her his sword did bare;
To her he gave his heart so brave, and all that he possessed,
And lastly, gave the life he loved on a prairie of the West.
In time to come, when North and South will live in peace again;
When men will drop the dented sword to reason with the pen;
Then many a tongue will breathe his name.—a name among the best—
The man that led on Springfield’s plains the Legions of the West.