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A singer went singing adown the world,
Now in green meadows and now in the town,
Anon where the smoke of the battle whirled,
Then off where the autumn woods lay brown.


Singing, still singing. Ay, nothing but that.
When the trumpet summoned the hosts to war
And the soldiers rushed at the rat-tat-tat
Of the deafening drum, she stood afar:


And sang of the conflict in ringing tones,
Of the laurel wreath, of the victor's death--
Till the dying silenced their shuddering groans,
And smiled as they drew their final breath.


She sang of duty. Her weak hands failed
As she strove the burden of life to bear;
But through all of the song no sadness wailed
As she sang, still sang, in her white despair.


She sang of love. From her eager hand
Love's brimming chalice was dashed aside.
As her steps drew near to the Unknown Land
She gazed on the past and wistful sighed:


"In all the fray I have struck no blow!
Ah! welladay; but the hours were long:
When evening comes what have I to show
Save here and there the thread of a song?"


But the warriors knew at the conflict's end,
When the roar of the battle had died away,
That song which seemed with the cannon to blend
Had strengthened each arm in the deadly fray.


And the souls that in duty's lonely way
With faltering steps had journeyed long,
When the voice of the singer reached them that day
Felt the hearts within them grow brave and strong.


And happy lovers, that hand in hand
Wandered together the wide world o'er,
From that song they but vaguely could understand,
Learned a deeper love than they knew before.