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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Michael Joseph Barry (1817–1889)

The Place to Die

HOW little recks it where men die,

When once the moment’s past

In which the dim and glazing eye

Has looked on earth its last;

Whether beneath the sculptured urn

The coffined form shall rest,

Or in its nakedness, return

Back to its mother’s breast.

The soldier falls ’mid corses piled

Upon the battle-plain,

Where reinless war-steeds gallop wild

Above the gory slain;

But though his corse be grim to see,

Hoof-trampled on the sod,

What recks it when the spirit free

Has soared aloft to God?

The coward’s dying eye may close

Upon his downy bed,

And softest hands his limbs compose,

Or garments o’er him spread;

But ye who shun the bloody fray

Where fall the mangled brave,

Go strip his coffin-lid away,

And see him in his grave!

’Twere sweet indeed to close our eyes

With those we cherish near,

And wafted upward by their sighs,

Soar to some calmer sphere;

But whether on the scaffold high,

Or in the battle’s van,

The fittest place where man can die

Is where he dies for man!