Broken Sword Poem


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 5, 1863

Welcome to our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. This collection includes all the Harper's created during the Civil War. The collection allows you to browse an incredible group of illustrations created within hours of the battles and events depicted.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


Lincoln's Hymn

Lincoln's Hymn

Civil War Hymn

Civil War Hymn

Balloon Crash

Balloon Crash


Nadar's Balloon

Broken Sword

Broken Sword

Union Prisoners

Union Prisoners

General Granger

General Granger



Kelly's Ford

Battle of Kelly's Ford

Belle Island Prison

Belle Isle


Thanksgiving Day






DECEMBER 5, 1863.]



"You are aware that this is your resolution, and not mine."

"What do you mean, Mr. Hastings?"

"You understand well enough," said the other, biting his lip. "Give me your daughter in marriage, and the mortgage shall never trouble you."

"I have no desire, even if I had the right, to force my daughters inclinations," said the farmer, coldly.

"You mean that she don't like me. That is only a girl's fancy. Hasn't she considerations enough for her family to consent to the only course which will save them from ruin?"

"It is sacrifice which I shall neither require nor accept at her hands. To be plain with you, Mr. Hastings, I do not think you would make a suitable husband for my daughter. Even if she were willing to marry you, knowing you as I now do, I should use whatever influence I may possess with her to dissuade her from a step which I am convinced would yield her only unhappiness."

The young man turned pale to the lips with anger. "By Heavens, Sir," he exclaimed, impetuously, "you shall rue this; you and your daughter too! I foreclose the mortgage, Mr. Hayden; and I give you warning, Sir, that if you do not leave the premises before sundown I shall call in the assistance of the law to eject you."

"Not so fast, Mr. Hastings," said Farmer Hayden, calmly. "I will trouble you to adhere to the law. The mortgage can not be foreclosed unless I fail to cancel it."

"But that you can not do," was the quick reply.

"You are mistaken. I have the money here, and shall lose no time in severing all business relations between us."

He produced a roll of bills, and counted out the amount of the mortgage.

Samuel Hastings was speechless with surprise, anger, and mortification. "Where did you raise this money?" he asked.

"That does not concern you," said the farmer. "Is the amount correct?"

There was a surly reply, and putting his hat violently on his head, the foiled creditor withdrew. With him the shadow passed from Farther Hayden's household. At one o'clock a happy group gathered round the table laden with the substantial delicacies which no one better than a New England housekeeper knows how to provide. In feeling words Farmer Hayden craved a blessing, and in the hearts of all there was a deep sense of gratitude to God, who had made this indeed a day worthy of thanksgiving.

Later in the day John Patten and Mary Hayden sat before the fire alone. Her eyes were downcast, her hand, a willing captive, pressed in his. He was telling her how, during his long absence, the thought of her had been always with him, stimulating him to exertion, giving him courage in the midst of peril—that he had never parted with the hope that she would some day consent to be his, and walk hand in hand with him the journey of life, which, longer or shorter, as God willed, would be the happier for their joint companionship. That hope he asked her now to ratify. I can not give Mary's answer. I only know that a fortnight later, just before John Patten's furlough expired, they stood before the altar and were united, in presence of the whole village, every man, woman, and child turning out to witness the ceremony.




HER soul caught up Hope's shining shield

Against the dark assaults of Doubt;
She bade him bravely to the field

Where Death holds Glory's standard out.


She girt the good steel on his thigh,

And, "Rumor's random shafts," she said,

"Full oft are poisoned with a lie

That strikes the unwitting victim dead.


"If you—God give me strength!—should bleed,

Yet stanch life's current ere it fail,

Send me this scabbard! I will heed

No other token, tongue, nor tale!


"If captive, in the rebel host

Some youth, heart-mated, there must be,

Who for her sake, or loved, or lost,

Will speed your ransomed blade to me.


"If—if—I can not speak the word!

Pray some true comrade—at the worst—

In pity hither bear the sword;

But bid, oh! bid him break it first!"


Time sped. And Rumor still forbore

To strike her with its venomed dart;

Hope's buckler, still undimmed, she wore,

A constant AEgis, on her heart!


Till—surely 'twas a love divine

That armed her soul with daily prayer—

A soldier found her at the shrine,

And laid a broken falchion there!


"You broke the blade at his command?"

She faltered. "Nay, true heart, not so!

''Twas shivered, in his good right hand,

Full on the forehead of his foe!"


"To the just cause I freely gave

My better life," she said, and pressed

To her pale lips the shattered glaive:

"To God I dedicate the rest!


"Yet is my mission here to do;

I hear his stricken brethren groan;

Many their pangs, their soothers few;

Be they my heralds to the Throne?"


Self-vowed, to wounds and death, she bears

Her Master's healing and his word;

But ever at her side she wears,

For rosary, the broken sword!


THE chill November sunshine lay with mocking brightness on the velvet violets of the carpet; the wind howled sharply past the windows, as if furious that its keen touch could not blast the cream-white roses and fire-hearted geraniums whose delicate fragrance filled the room with an atmosphere of June. Without, people hurried shuddering by, with blue noses and frost-nipped fingers; within, there was summer warmth and tropic bloom.

Cecile Gore was sitting at a little papier-mache desk, writing delicate scented notes of invitation, with an apparently interminable list of names on one side and a bronze card-receiver on the other. And Maurice Kensett was lazily sorting the cards, and supplying sheets of tiny note-paper, and making innumerable comments—that is, he was busied in this manner when he was not watching the bright shower of curls that touched the desk, and the blue, down-drooping eyes, and the pretty hand with the diamond betrothal-ring upon its forefinger. Don't blame Major Maurice Kensett for being a little careless about the cards, and knocking over the alabaster ink-stand with his clumsy hands. You would have done just the same thing if you had been there.

"Now, Maurice, who next?" says Cecile, with the pen-end between her scarlet lips, and her fingers playing a little tune on the paper before her. "What a pity it is you can't be here! I don't see the necessity of your being ordered off so suddenly. Only think of it!—you will not even spend Thanksgiving with us, and papa is going to have a real old-fashioned festival of it, just such as his grandfather used to have!"

"Duty before pleasure, cara mia!" responds the Major, lifting his black eyebrows. "My Thanksgiving will probably be in camp. Here's a name, Spencer Dyatt—aren't you going to ask him?"


"Why not? I'm sure he'd like to come."

"Very possibly," said Cecile, hiding a little yawn behind the diamond ring. "But he always steps on ladies' toes when he waltzes, and on their dresses when he don't waltz."

"Poor fellow! And so he is to be excluded from society on that account?"

"From my parties—yes!" laughed Cecile.

"Isn't that Horace Verde's card? Give it to me."

"You are not going to invite Verde?"

"Certainly. Why not?"

Maurice Kensett rose with a disturbed countenance, and looked gravely down at Cecile's bright face.

"I had rather you wouldn't, Cecile!"

"How ridiculous, Maurice, when Mr. Verde goes in the best society!"

"More shame to the best society then. But if yon remember, Cecile, this is not the first time I have spoken to you on the subject."

Cecile's cheek and eye blazed simultaneously.

"I do remember, Major Kensett, that you have attempted to dictate to use whom I shall, and shall not, receive at my house. It is useless. Mr. Verde is a general favorite, and I shall ask him to this party. Give me that card, if you please."

But Kensett still withheld it.

"Cecile, he is not a man with whom I would wish either wife or sister of mine to associate."

"I am not your sister, Sir, nor am I sure that I shall ever be your wife if this is a foretaste of the authority you intend to exert over me."

The fiery crimson mounted to Kensett's brow: he bit his lip, and strove to speak calmly.

"Cecile, my dearest, do not let us quarrel over such a mere trifle as this."

"It is no trifle to find myself subject to such galling control as this. You have no right, Major Kensett, to act thus."

"Is the right of a betrothed husband nothing, Cecile? Do you wish me to yield it up?"

Cecile hesitated a second; but passion was too strong for sober reason.

"If it is to be exerted in this manner—yes! I will be a slave to no man's whims and prejudices."

Kensett had grown very white.

"You can not mean those words, Cecile!"

"I do mean them."

He held out his hand to her—a hand cold as ice.

"Good-by, Cecile; it has been a pleasant dream, but it is ended now."

"Good-by, Major Kensett."

And so they parted, these two young lovers, standing in the stormy gold of the November sunbeams with the winds mourning a voiceless reproach, and the anguish of unshed tears gnawing at their hearts.

Major Maurice Kensett's regiment marched that night, and when Cecile, tossing on her restless couch, beard the steam-shriek of the "midnight express," and knew that it was bearing him away, she wept the bitterest tears that perhaps had ever dimmed the eyes Maurice had likened to blue forget-me-nots. Poor little forget-me-nots! it was a chill rain and a sad; poor little blue blooms!

Sleep! she could not sleep, and when the morning of Thanksgiving penciled the east with gold she rose up, heavy-eyed and silent. She had heard of broken hearts—could it be that her wayward, willful, yet loving heart was breaking?

"I say, Cecy, there's such a turkey down stairs!" ejaculated Master Alexander, commonly called "Alec" Gore, rushing into the room like a small whirlwind, as Cecile sat by the register with an unopened volume on her lap. "It's all a fellow can do to lift him! Ain't he stuffed nicely, though? and ain't Hannah crosser than two sticks? There's some tall currant jelly, too, and I just took a peep into the oven when cook's back was turned. Such pies!—and a pudding big enough to get into, like Sir Somebody What'shisname in English history, you know. What a jolly old cove papa's grandfather must have been if he kept Thanksgiving this way every year!"

"Alexander!" reproved Mrs. Gore, trying not to smile.

"Well, it's a fact, mother. Who's coming to dinner? Ain't we going to have it until six? If that ain't a shame! Oh! look here!" exclaimed Alec, rushing precipitately from one subject to another, "I've just come from down town, and every body's talking about the great accident!"

"What accident?—Alexander, I wish you would learn not to crack nuts with your teeth."

"Women never hear any thing," said Alec, patronizingly, aiming a nut-shell at the canary bird's cage. "Why the railroad accident, to be sure. Express train knocked into smash, locomotive split to flinders, and nobody to blame. And there was a regiment of soldiers on board, too, all killed. 'Frightful loss of life!' the bulletin says, for—"

Alec checked himself suddenly, for a low cry had burst from Cecile's white lips; she sprang to her feet with wild, fixed eyes, and a cheek paler than the carved marble of the mantle against which she leaned.

"Killed!" she repeated, in strangely syllabled tones—"killed! O God! and I live on!"

"Mother," whispered Alec, in awe-stricken accents, as Mrs. Gore leaned over her daughter's prostrate form, busied with soft womanly offices, "was that Maurice's regiment? Is Cecy dead?"

"She has only fainted, my son—she will be better soon. Go to your father, Alec, and ask hint to hasten down to the telegraph office, and learn what particulars have transpired. Perhaps there is some mistake. My poor, poor child!"

"Leave me alone a little while; mother," said Cecile, sadly, an hour of two later in the day. "Indeed I am well now, dear mamma, only—"

Her head sank on her hands. Mrs. Gore knew that solitude is sometimes the best medicine for a sick heart, so she only laid her hand lovingly on Cecile's fair curls, and quietly stole out of the room.

Alone—alone with the dim twilight and her own sorrowful fancies! Was it strange that Cecile Gore felt as if life were a burden too great for endurance?

"Dead!" she murmured, gazing into the dusk with dilated, expressionless eyes. "And I shall never see him again—never hear his voice! How many years must I live through before I meet him in that other world whose shores we know not of? How many weary hour's must I count before I can tell him how dearly I loved him, even when I was most willful, most mad? Oh, memory! if I could deaden your keen pangs! I shall go mad if I think over that parting again!"

So Cecile mused on. She had yet to learn how heavy a burden the heart will bear ere Reason quits its throne, and mercifully blots out the past.

Like a funereal pall the starry darkness of the Thanksgiving-night came down over the freezing world.

"Where is she? where is Cecile?"

She clasped her hands over her heart with a low, wailing sob as the words fell on her ear.

"I shall fancy it many a time—his voice—as it used to sound. I shall dream he is with me once again, and waken to find it only a dream! That is not his footstep on the stairs; it is only the sick phantasy of my over-tired brain. He is dead. He has found the peace which I shall know no more."

The door opened. Instinctively she raised her heavy eyes.

Twilight—darkness—what were they to her? Would she not have known him if the shadows of Styx rolled between? Would she not have recognized the tender light of his eyes through the blackness of eternal midnight? She could not speak; she could only rest her head against his arm and sob out strange inarticulate sounds, like a babe waked from some frightful dream.

"So you thought I was dead, Cecile? Poor little Cecile!" murmured Maurice, folding her to his breast as if she had indeed been a babe. "Oh, my love, God is kinder than we deserve. Let us never set His mercy at defiance again. Yes," he said, answering the mute question of her eyes, "there was an accident, but none of our men were hurt; and as we can not go on until to-night I came back for the kiss I was too proud to take yesterday. Are we true lovers once more, darling?"

Yes—once more and forever!

"It's a mercy the dinner isn't spoiled, waiting for you lazy people!" quoth Master Alec, with one eye directed reproachfully at Major Kensett and Cecile, and the other riveted upon the turkey, whose brown sides rose, a mountain of unctuous fatness, in the centre of the festive board. "I say, father, I'll take a big slice of the breast, if you please. Ain't Thanksgiving jolly?"

"I think it is, Alec," laughed Kensett.

Cecile, shyly radiant at her lover's side, looked into the dark splendor of his eyes and thought that her Thanksgiving would last forever.


SARCASTIC.—Young —, son of Her Majesty's printer, who had the patent for printing Bibles in Scotland, went to an assembly in Edinburgh in a bright green suit, turned up with gold lace. This gay attire attracted universal attention, and some one asked Lady Wemyss who he was? "It's only young Bible," replied her Ladyship, "bound in calf and gilt, but not lettered."

QUESTION IN GEOMETRY.—Given, a river as a base, what figure does a fisherman's rod and line form in conjunction with it?—A try-angle, undoubtedly.

THE BEST FRUIT FOR PRESERVING LOVE.—Kate was talking glowingly about "love-apple's." "That's strange!" exclaimed Charlie, her accepted lover. "'Why should 'love' be associated with apples? On the contrary, I always thought that love went in pairs." Kate smiled approvingly.

"In short, ladies and gentlemen," said a speaker, in a husky voice, and perspiring freely, "I can only say that I wish I had a window in my bosom, that you might see the emotions of my heart." The newspapers printed the speech leaving the "n" out of "window."

What is the principal difference between the swallow and the cat? It is an admitted fact that "one swallow does not make a summer," but one cat can make a spring.

An old lady looking at the curiosities in a museum, came to a couple of large sea-dogs, and after gazing at them with wonder, inquired of a wag, who stood near, if they ever barked. "No, Madam," replied he, "not now; their bark is on the sea."

A WELL-READ SOLDIER.—Private information.

When is a window like a star?—When it's a skylight.

What is the difference between a mischievous mouse and a beautiful young lady ?—One harms the cheese, the other charms the he's.

"Won't you cut open a penny for me, papa?" said a little girl, when she came home from school one day. "Cut open a penny! What do you want me to do that for?" asked her father. "'Cause," said the little girl, "our teacher says that in every penny there are four farthings, and I want to sea them."

Foote dined one day at Richmond. When the landlord produced the bill, Foote thought it very exorbitant, and asked his name. "Partridge, an't please you," replied the host. "Partridge!" said Foote; "it should be Woodcock, by the length of your bill!"

"Mrs. Dobson, where's your husband?" "He's dying, marm, and I don't wish any body to disturb him." A very considerate woman that.

"They don't make as good mirrors as they used to," remarked an old maid, as she observed a sunken eye, wrinkled face, and livid complexion in a glass that she usually looked into.

A pedestrian traveling in Ireland met a man, and asked him rather gruffly why the miles were so long, when the Hibernian replied, "You see, your Honor, the roads are not in very good condition, so we give very good measure."

A famous musician, who had made his fortune by marriage, being requested to sing in company, "Permit me," said he, "to imitate the nightingale, who never sings after he has made his nest."

"Are you fond of tongue, Sir?" asked a lady. "I was always fond of tongue, Madam," was the reply, "and like it still."

What were the last words the trumpeter said when he was gored by the wild bull?—Why, "Blow the horns!"

Mrs. Partington wants to know why captains don't have their ships properly nailed in port, instead of waiting to tack them at sea.

It is better to be ready and not go than go and not be ready.

"Sally," said a fellow to a girl who had red hair, "keep away from me or you'll set me on fire." "No danger of that," replied Sally, "you are too green to burn!"

Two country farmers lately passing the Stock Fxchange stopped to inquire what was the occasion of such a noise. The gentleman to whom these men addresed themselves answered that it was a Bedlam for mad merchants, who, having lost their reason, imagined they were transformed into bulls and bears, and acted accordingly. "Prey, zur," said one of the countrymen, "mout we zee 'em?" "By all means," replied the gentleman, and, conducting the farmers to the door, he desired them to walk in. No sooner did the poor fellows put in their heads than one said to the other, "Zoons, Davy, let uz get off—those mad volks are all loose;" and they took to their heels as fast as their legs could carry them, and went home full of the story of the mad merchants and their Bedlam near the 'Change.

Two Irishmen in a smart engagement were gallantly standing by their gun, firing in quick succession, when one, touching the piece, noticed that it was very hot. "Arrah, Mike," said he, "the cannon is gettin' very hot; we'd better stop firin' a little." "Divil a bit," replied Mike; "jist dip the cartridges in the river afore yees load, an' kape it cool."

A man in the habit of traveling, complaining to a friend that he had often been robbed, and was afraid of stirring abroad, was advised to carry pistols with him on his journey. "Oh, that would be worse," replied the hero: "the thieves would rob me of them also!"

A new method of shop-lifting has been discovered in Paris. An elegant lady enters a store, accompanied by a nurse, carrying a baby dressed in rich embroidery. On leaving they are supposed to have taken laces, jewelry, etc., as the case may be, and are arrested. An examination proves that the baby has a wax face, and a hollow pasteboard body, which serves as a hiding-place for stolen articles.

A physician's horse being out of order, he sent him to the farrier to be cured; which being done, the doctor went to pay him. "No," said the farrier; "we doctors never take any money one of another."

We are repeatedly told that "Love laughs at locksmiths." It is true to a turn; for there are instances on the legal books of Cupid not only laughing at the locksmith, but actually taking his pick of all the wards in Chancery.

Sir George Grey speaks with extraordinary volubility. On one occasion, to enforce his argument, he made use of a simile. "If we throw a spark of fire into a barrel of gunpowder we all know there will be a dreadful explosion; but we may throw a blazing torch upon a turnpike-road, and the probability is that it will expire harmlessly." The stenographer went on very well until he came to the blazing torch on the turnpike-road; but he could not make out the end of the sentence. He knew it was something about a brazing torch; but what it was to do he could not for the life of him tell. The sentence was deemed too important to be left out; so he wrote it as follows: "You may throw a spark into a barrel of gunpowder, and it will explode and cast devastation around; but, if you place a blazing torch on a turnpike-road, all that it will do will be to burn down the turnpike-gate."


ON page 780 we reproduce a sketch, by Mr. Davis, representing one of the most famous and popular of the army transports on the Tennessee, the Chattanooga. Mr. Davis writes:




"This little steamer was built at Bridgeport by our troops. The Michigan Engineer Regiment, I think, did the principal part of the work. We
have more like her under way, so that we shall have in a sort time quite a fleet on the line—cracker line the rebs call it. The party rejoicing in the dignity of commanding the craft is Captain Arthur Edwards. This is, I think, the first boat that has been built by the soldiers for their own use, though it seems as if they had done every thing else in the mechanical line."




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