After the Fire.
[For the NATIONAL FIREMAN’S JOURNAL.]
The fight IS o’er, the desperate battle done,
A city saved, a gallant victory won;
Cold, wet, and hungry, panting from the fray,
The firemen “homeward plod their weary way.” But first the “dear machine” demands their care, And all for some new contest must prepare.
The hose, well washed, is wound in order true, The old machine is made to look like new;
Last to himself his attention he bestows,
And seeks at borne a moment’s calm repose.
Next day, perhaps, a sudden troubled cough He feels, but eheerly hopes it will pass oft’;
Still to his duty prompt at every call,
He mans the breach, or treads the tottering wall,— Till hollow cheek and weakened frame portray The fearful progress of a sure decay,
And the quick eye of some fond, loving wife Knows death has marked him for another life.
A few more days of pain, and all is o’er—
The heart that beat for all now beats no more. With tender care his brave companions come To bear their brother to his final home;
With whisper low, “ He canght his death,’’they say, “ At such a fire, a year ago to-day.”
Now all is passed; his wife and orphan boy No more shall share the husband-father’s joy;
No more with eager haste his warm attire Prepare to cheer him by his homely fire;
No more their eyes against the window strain,
And cry, “ Thank Clod, lie’s safely homo again I ”
8o falls a hero; one whose honest name Will never fill the trump of worldly fame;
No thundering cannon, belching fiery death, Flamed at the magic of his simple breath,
Nor crushed his soldiers with the groaning wheels, As shouting armies followed at his heels;
Not he the man to wade In other’s blood,
And court ambition in the face of God.
No pompous stone to after days shall tell In what dread battle such a hero fell;
He fought for Peace—he battled but to save—
And Peace sits weeping at the good man’s grave.
8o falls a hero peacefully at last;
While some are crushed as by a whirlwind’s blast, Our Alexander, fult of ardent life,
Forbid to fall amid the heat of strife,
Fell at his post before the fire begun,
Fell ere the battle—but with harness on.