Abram Joseph Ryan (1838-1886) was an American Poet, an active proponent of the Confederacy and a Roman Catholic Priest. Wikipedia says he has been called the “Poet-Priest of the South”. A dear friend “introduced” him to me and I am very grateful.
His first pieces of poetry “In Memoriam” and “In Memory of My Brother”, were inspired by the death of his younger brother, who was serving in the Confederacy and was killed in battle in April 1863, in KY.
Although he never formally joined the Confederate Army, he was clearly serving as a free-lance chaplain by the last two years of the War. His most famous poem, “The Conquered Banner” appeared in the New York Freeman’s Journal in 1865. It is said to have captured the spirit of sentimentality and martyrdom then rising in the South. Hear him now:
“Furl that banner, softly, slowly! Treat it gently – it is holy –
For it droops above the dead. Touch it not – unfold it never,
Let it droop there, furled forever, For its people’s hopes are dead!”