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Along its front no sabres shine,

No blood-red pennons wave ; Its banner bears the single line,

“Our duty is to save.”

For those no death-bed's lingering shade ;

At Honor's trumpet-call,
With knitted brow and lifted blade

In Glory's arms they fall.

For these no clashing falchions bright,

No stirring battle-cry;
The bloodless stabber calls by night, —

Each answers, “ Here am I!”

For those the sculptor's laurelled bust,

The builder's marble piles,
The anthems pealing o'er their dust

Through long cathedral aisles.

For these the blossom-sprinkled turf

That floods the lonely graves, When Spring rolls in her sea-green surf

In flowery-foaming waves.

Two paths lead upward from below,

And angels wait above, Who count each burning life-drop's flow,

Each falling tear of Love.

Though from the Hero's bleeding breast

Her pulses Freedom drew, Though the white lilies in her crest

Sprang from that scarlet dew,

While Valor's haughty champions wait

Till all their scars are shown, Love walks unchallenged through the gate,

To sit beside the Throne !




What makes the Healing Art divine ?

The bitter drug we buy and sell,
The brands that scorch, the blades that shine,

The scars we leave, the “cures” we tell ?

Are these thy glories, holiest Art, —

The trophies that adorn thee best, —
Or but thy triumph's meanest part,

Where mortal weakness stands confessed ?

We take the arms that Heaven supplies

For Life's long battle with Disease,
Taught by our various need to prize

Our frailest weapons, even these.

But ah! when Science drops her shield —

Its peaceful shelter proved in vain – And bares her snow-white arm to wield

The sad, stern ministry of pain ;

When shuddering o'er the fount of life,

She folds her heaven-anointed wings, To lift unmoved the glittering knife

That searches all its crimson springs ;

When, faithful to her ancient lore,

She thrusts aside her fragrant balm For blistering juice, or cankering ore,

And tames them till they cure or calm ;

When in her gracious hand are seen

The dregs and scum of earth and seas, Her kindness counting all things clean

That lend the sighing sufferer ease;

Though on the field that Death has won,

She saves some stragglers in retreat ; — These single acts of mercy done

Are but confessions of defeat.

What though our tempered poisons save

Some wrecks of life from aches and ails : Those grand specifics Nature gave

Were never poised by weights or scales !

God lent his creatures light and air,

And waters open to the skies ; Man locks him in a stifling lair,

And wonders why his brother dies !

In vain our pitying tears are shed,

In vain we rear the sheltering pile Where Art weeds out from bed to bed

The plagues we planted by the mile !

Be that the glory of the past ;

With these our sacred toils begin : So flies in tatters from its mast

The yellow flag of sloth and sin,

And lo! the starry folds reveal

The blazoned truth we hold so dear: To guard is better than to heal, —

The shield is nobler than the spear !

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