Charles Chase: Poem of Julia Chase Washburn


How shall we reckon loss,
How shall we reckon gain,
When bent beneath the cross,
When racked with keenest pain.

To-day we mourn as dead,
One ‘twas our pride to love;
In grief we bow the head,
We scarce can look above.

We hold our loss as great,
That one so loved should die;
But could we choose his fate,
What could we ask more high,
Than bravely thus to stand,
Contending for the right;
Striking with patriot hand,
Oppression in its might?

And e’en though doomed to fall,
To perish midst the strife –
The Master of us all,
Did he not give his life
To save a world from sin?
Should we not count it gain,
Thus to resemble him?

Yet sad is many a heart,
Our loss we must deplore;
And tears unbidden start,
Thinking he’ll come no more.

Dear son and brother true,
Brave comrade and loved friend,
We bid thee long adieu –
Our loss in gain shall end.

Julia Chase Washburn.
Livermore, Me., Sept., 1864.

[Source: War Letters of Charles Chase, 1862-1864, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Virginia]