The Soldiers Grave
by Ann Linton, Edinburgh 8th Feb 1831
Dear land of my birth-of my friends of my love,
Shall I never again climb thy mountains;
Nor wander at eve through the lone leafy grove,
To listen-the dash of thy fountains?
Shall no hand that I love close my faint beaming eyes
That darkens -mud warfare and danger?
Ah no: for I feel-that my last heaving sigh, must fleet-on the gale of the stranger.
Then farewell, ye valley-ye fresh blooming bowers,
Of childhood the once happy dwelling
No more in your haunts-shall I chase the gay hours
For death-at my bosom is knelling,
But proudly the lotus-shall bloom o’er the grave,
To mark-where a freeman is sleeping;
And my dirge shall be heard in the Nile’s dashing waves
where the Arab-his night-watch is keeping.
‘Twas a soldier -who spoke, but his voice now is yore
And lowly- the hero is lying;
No sound meets the ear, save the crocodile moan,
Or the breeze-though he rests-where the camel is seen,
By the wilderness heavily pacing,
His grave in our bosom-shall ever be green,
And his monument-ne’er know defacing.
(Editor’s Note: This poem was found amongst the letters kept by James Johnston’s mother Mrs Ann Adie Johnston and clearly it meant a lot to her in that she felt it was very much about her son.)