The Soldier’s Death

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The day was o’er, and in their tent the weaned victors met,
In wine and social gaiety the carnage to forget.
The merry laugh and sparkling jest, the pleasant tale were there—
Each heart was free and gladsome then, each brow devoid of care.

Yet one was absent from the board who ever was the first
In every joyous, festive scene, in every mirthful burst;
He also was the first to dare each perilous command,
To rush on danger—yet was he the youngest of the band.

Upon the battle-field he lay a damp and fearful grave;
His right hand grasped the cherished flag—the flag he died to save;
While the cold stars shone calmly down on heaps of fallen dead,
And their pale light a halo cast round that fair sleeper’s head.

Say, was there none o’er that young chief to shed one single tear,
To sorrow o’er the end of his untimely stopt career?
Yes, but alas! the boundless sea its foam and crested wave,
Lay then between those beings dear and his cold, cheerless grave.

With all a mother’s doting love a mother yearned for him,
And watching for his quick return, a sister’s eye grew dim,
And, dearer still, a gentle girl, his fair affianced bride,—
And yet, with all these loving ones, unfriended, had he died.

No woman’s low, sweet voice was near one soothing word to say
Or gentle hand from his cold brow to wipe the damps away;
But yet why should we grieve for him, that hero gallant, brave?
His was a soldier’s glorious death, a soldier’s glorious grave!

© Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon