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September 28, 2005

Marie La Coste: Somebody's Darling

1845 - 1935

After the death of Marie's unnamed fiancée, a captain in the Confederate Army, apparently in 1862, the young French teacher became nurse and visitor at local hospitals for wounded Confederate soldiers. Her poem, which is sung at historical events today, is a distinctive memorial to those soldiers.


Into a ward of the white washed walls,
Where the dead and dying lay,
Wounded by bayonets, shells and balls,
Somebody’s darling was borne one day.

Somebody’s darling so young and brave
Wearing yet on his pale sweet face,
Soon to be hid by the dust of the grave,
The lingering light of his boyhood’s grace.

Matted and damp are the curls of gold
Kissing the snow of that fair young brow;
Pale are the lips of delicate mold -
Somebody’s darling is dying now.

Back from the beautiful blue-veined brow
Brushed all the wandering waves of gold;
Cross his hands on his bosom now;
Somebody’s darling is still and cold.

Kiss him once for somebody’s sake,
Murmur a prayer soft and low;
One bright curl from it’s fair mates take;
They were somebody’s pride you know.

Somebody’s hand has rested there;
Was it a mother’s soft and white?
And have the lips of a sister fair
Been baptized in the waves of light?

God knows best! He was somebody’s love,
Somebody’s heart enshrined him there.
Somebody wafted his name above,
Night and morn on the wings of prayer.

Somebody wept when he marched away,
Looking so handsome brave and grand;
Somebody’s kiss on his forehead lay;
Somebody clung to his parting hand.

Somebody’s watching and waiting for him,
Yearning to hold him again to her heart;
And there he lies with his blue eyes dim,
And the smiling child-like lips apart.

Tenderly bury the fair young dead,
Pausing to drop on his grave a tear;
Carve on the wooden slab at his head,
“Somebody’s darling slumbers here.”

Written by Marie La Coste
and subsequently published by
J .C. Schreiner & Son of Augusta, Georgia in 1864

(click here for Gujarati translation by Jhaverchand Meghani)

September 28, 2005 in Reality | Permalink


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It is odd that so many people cherish a poem or two or twenty, yet good poetry books languish on the shelves. I suppose poems must be like comfy chairs and reading lights: once you've got a few, you don't need any more....

Posted by: judith | Sep 28, 2005 9:32:38 AM

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