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The Volunteer

( Originally Published 1927 )


" At dawn," he said, " I bid them all farewell,
To go where bugles call and rifles gleam."
And with the restless thought asleep he fell,
And glided into dream.

A great hot plain from sea to mountain spread,
Through it a level river slowly drawn ;
He moved with a vast crowd, and at its head
Streamed banners like the dawn.

There came a blinding flash, a deafening roar,
And dissonant cries of triumph and dismay;
Blood trickled down the river's reedy shore,
And with the dead he lay.

The morn broke in upon his solemn dreams,
And still with steady pulse and deepening eye,
"Where bugles call," he said, " and rifles gleam,
I follow, though I die!"

Wise youth ! By few is glory's wreath attained ;
But death, or late or soon, awaiteth all,
To fight in Freedom's cause is something gained,
And nothing lost to fall.

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