Gateway to the Classics: American History Stories, Volume III by Mara L. Pratt
American History Stories, Volume III by  Mara L. Pratt

The Martyr of Monterey

The strife was stern at Monterey,

When those high towers were lost, and won;

And, pealing through that mortal fray,

Flash'd the strong batteries vengeful gun;

Yet, heedless of its deadly rain,

She stood, in toil and danger first,

To bind the bleeding soldier's vein,

And slake the dying soldier's thirst.

She found a pale and stricken foe,

Sinking in nature's last eclipse,

And on the red earth kneeling low,

She wet his parch'd and fever'd lips;

When thick as winter's driving sleet,

The booming shot and flaming shell

Swept with wild rage that gory street,

And she—the good and gentle—fell!

They laid her in her narrow bed—

The foemen of her land and race;

And sighs were breathed and tears were shed

Above her lowly resting-place.

Ay! glory's crimson worshippers

Wept over her unkindly fall,

For deeds of mercy such as hers

Subdue the heart and eyes of all.

To sound her worth were guilt and shame

In us, who love but gold and ease;

They heed alike our praise or blame,

Who live and die in works like these,

Far greater than the wise or brave,

Far happier than the fair or gay,

Was she who found a martyr's grave

On that red field of Monterey.

—Rev. J. G. Lyons.

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