The Blue and Gray

by Francis Miles Finch

By the flow of the inland river,
   Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
   Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
      Under the sod and the dew,
         Waiting the judgment-day;
      Under the one, the Blue,
         Under the other, the Gray.
These in the robings of glory,
   Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
   In the dusk of eternity meet:
      Under the sod and the dew,
         Waiting the judgment-day,
      Under the laurel, the Blue,
         Under the willow, the Gray.
From the silence of sorrowful hours
   The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
   Alike for the friend and the foe:
      Under the sod and the dew,
         Waiting the judgment-day,
      Under the roses, the Blue,
         Under the lilies, the Gray.
So, with an equal splendor,
   The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
   On the blossoms blooming for all:
      Under the sod and the dew,
         Waiting the judgment-day,
      Broidered with gold, the Blue,
         Mellowed with gold, the Gray.
So, when the summer calleth,
   On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
   The cooling drip of the rain:
      Under the sod and the dew,
         Waiting the judgment-day,
      Wet with the rain, the Blue,
         Wet with the rain, the Gray.
Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
   The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading
   No braver battle was won:
      Under the sod and the dew,
         Waiting the judgment-day,
      Under the blossoms, the Blue,
         Under the garlands, the Gray.
No more shall the war cry sever,
   Or the winding rivers be red;
The banish our anger forever
   When they laurel the graves of our dead!
      Under the sod and the dew,
         Waiting the judgment-day,
      Love and tears for the Blue,
         Tears and love for the Gray.



Friendship Cemetery Columbus, MS


Blue and Gray, The


Finch, Francis Miles

Year of Publication:


Age Appropriate:



History: American













Literary Period:


Things to Discuss:

The poet repeats the phrase "waiting the judgement day" in each stanza; what is its significance?

About the Poem:

The occasion for which this poem was composed was the decorating of graves by women of Columbus, Mississippi of all soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War, southern grey and northern blue.