The Volunteer

  by: Elbridge Jefferson Cutler (1831-1870)





"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 wandered 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 dream;
And still with steady pulse and deepening eye,
"Where bugles call," he said, "and rifles gleam,
I follow, though I die!"

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