1 COME up from the fields, father, hereâ€™s a letter from our Pete; And come to the front door, motherâ€”hereâ€™s a letter from thy dear son.
2 Lo, â€™tis autumn; Lo, where the trees, deeper green, yellower and redder, Cool and sweeten Ohioâ€™s villages, with leaves fluttering in the moderate wind; Where apples ripe in the orchards hang, and grapes on the trellisâ€™d vines; (Smell you the smell of the grapes on the vines? Smell you the buckwheat, where the bees were lately buzzing?)
Above all, lo, the sky, so calm, so transparent after the rain, and with wondrous clouds; Below, too, all calm, all vital and beautifulâ€”and the farm prospers well.
3 Down in the fields all prospers well; But now from the fields come, fatherâ€”come at the daughterâ€™s call; And come to the entry, motherâ€”to the front door come, right away.
Fast as she can she hurriesâ€”something ominousâ€”her steps trembling; She does not tarry to smoothe her hair, nor adjust her cap.
Open the envelope quickly; O this is not our sonâ€™s writing, yet his name is signâ€™d; O a strange hand writes for our dear sonâ€”O stricken motherâ€™s soul! All swims before her eyesâ€”flashes with blackâ€”she catches the main words only; Sentences brokenâ€”gun-shot wound in the breast, cavalry skirmish, taken to hospital, At present low, but will soon be better.
4 Ah, now, the single figure to me, Amid all teeming and wealthy Ohio, with all its cities and farms, Sickly white in the face, and dull in the head, very faint, By the jamb of a door leans.
Grieve not so, dear mother, (the just-grown daughter speaks through her sobs; The little sisters huddle around, speechless and dismayâ€™d;) See, dearest mother, the letter says Pete will soon be better.
5 Alas, poor boy, he will never be better, (nor may-be needs to be better, that brave and simple soul;) While they stand at home at the door, he is dead already; The only son is dead.
But the mother needs to be better; She, with thin form, presently drest in black; By day her meals untouchâ€™dâ€”then at night fitfully sleeping, often waking, In the midnight waking, weeping, longing with one deep longing, O that she might withdraw unnoticedâ€”silent from life, escape and withdraw, To follow, to seek, to be with her dear dead son.