Summer Days of '56 at Old Miami
Benjamin Piatt Runkle
I am dreaming a dream in the evening light,
As gathers the gloom of the coming night,
While the roseate rays of the sunset hue
Turn to crimson and gold on a sky of blue.
I am dreaming a dream of our boyhoods’ morn,
When the golden sun kissed the tasseled corn,
And the wild rose bloomed, as we told our loves,
In the cool deep shades of Miami's groves.
When we left dull books in the old "South-east,"
And turned from study to nature’s feast,
And wandering away over glade and hill
Cared not if the work of the world stood still.
The stream sparkled bright down its pebbled bed,
While the alder sweet bloom on its bosom shed;
The quail whistled glad, and the lark's sweet note
Rippled liquified joy from his swelling throat,
And the air seemed filled with an heavenly bliss,
As though heaven bended down old earth to kiss.
Our memories brought us no warning past,
To-day was ours, and would always last;
It troubled us not what time might bring,
For hope was leader and love was king.
The world, its honors, its joys and powers,
Its richest rewards were surely ours;
For we knew no bond below nor above
Save the steel-strong bond of fraternal love,
And some other loves as the days sped by,
For we were true sons of the Sigma Chi.
There was Caldwell, with his eyes all aglow,
With the genius of Shelley, the brain of a Poe,
Yet with courage so high that his saber steel-bright,
Sprang swift from its sheath in the battle’s fierce light,
And he stood by his cause till the last hope was lost,
One of the Southland’s thrice glorious host.
Will Lockwood, the kindly and loving was there,
With his soft, gentle eyes, and fair Saxon hair;
With a heart that was made of God's richest gold
And fashioned by love in her beautiful mould.
Oh, son of the morning, our pulses beat high,
While our tears wet the Cross of fair Sigma Chi,
For when death stilled forever your truest of hearts,
We know that of war's cost we paid our full part.
Farewell then, dear friend, would to heaven that I
Were as worthy the Cross of our own Sigma Chi.
And brave Dan Cooper, the man of God,
Who walked in the ways that the prophets trod,
Upright and manly, fearless and true,
A Christian gentleman through and through,
A comrade in joy, a friend in distress,
A preacher of God, and His righteousness.
As Olaf, the king, held aloft his sword,
To his Beersaker chiefs 'round the Christmas board,
So brave old Dan counts the gain and the loss,
And stands heart and soul by the great White Cross.
You, dear Frank Scobey, with laughing face,
Your full, honest voice, and ways of grace,
Your generous heart and genial bent,
That made you welcome wherever you went.
Dear Frank, you too, when rude war's hot breath
Blew over the land, with the blast of death,
Went forth, brave lad, with a cheery smile
Where the colors led in the foremost file.
You too, have answered the last "Roll Call"
Have answered the summons that waits us all;
"Taps" have sounded, the flags are furled,
And your smile is gladdening a fairer world.
And bold Tom Bell, as quick as a flash,
Full of energy, spirit, and dash,
With genius for work, and a manly pride,
At once our philosopher, friend and guide.
No labor too hard, no frolic too high,
Through evil and good a true Sigma Chi.
You too were found where the long blue lines
Swept down to death through the Southern pines,
And your great heart is glad that the battle is done
And in old Sigma Chi we are all as one.
Now, brethren, alas we in silence pause;
The wondrous workings of Nature's laws
Are beyond our ken. For the lightning’s stroke
Flashes and shivers the giant oak,
In the prime of life it is prostrate laid
On the ground that its branches loved to shade.
Brave Ike Jordan, with strong, dear brain,
And will of iron, I seem again
To hear his voice, as it rose and fell
Like the magic peals of a silver bell;
Denouncing a foe, or defending a friend,
And swaying the souls of listening men.
One moment, events he moulds to his will
One more, and his great heart forever is still.
In manhood and honor he carried the Cross
And we cherish his name while we mourn for his loss.
And so, here alone in the glowing, soft light,
After forty long years I am with you to-night.
Glad yea, and proud, my comrades to stand
In the midst of true sons of our own fatherland,
For I know that our homes, whatever shall come,
Whether trials of peace or the rude rattling drums
Yea, I know they are safe for to do or to die
In the cause of the right lives fair Sigma Chi.