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On that pleasant morn of the early fall When Lee marched over the mountain wall,
Over the mountains winding down,
Forty flags with their silver stars,
Flapped in the morning wind : the sun
Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bravest of all in Frederick town,
In her attic-window the staff she set,
Up the street came the rebel tread,
Under his slouched hat left and right
- the dust-brown ranks stood fast.
“ Fire !” – out blazed the rifle-blast.
It shivered the window, pane and sash;
Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff
She leaned far out on the window-sill,
“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country's flag,” she said.
A shade of sadness, a blush of shame, Over the face of the leader came;
The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman's deed and word :
" Who touches a hair of yon gray head Dies like a dog ! March on!” he said.
All day long through Frederick street
All day long that free flag tost
Ever its torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well;
And through the hill-gaps sunset light Shone over it with a warm good-night.
Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,
Honor to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall's bier.
Over Barbara Frietchie's grave
Peace and order and beauty draw
And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Frederick town!