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They have robbed her in her kindness, they have triumphed in her need;
They have trampled on her standard, and she calls me in her woe:
Can I go, my dearest mother? tell me, mother, can I go?

I am young and slender, mother — they would call me yet a boy,
But I know the land I live in and the blessings I enjoy;
I am old enough, my mother, to be loyal, proud, and true
To the faithful sense of duty I have ever learned from you.
We must conquer this rebellion; let the doubting heart be still;
We must conquer it, or perish — we must conquer, and we will!
But the faithful must not falter, and shall I be wanting? No!
Bid me go, my dearest mother! tell me, mother, can I go?

He who led his chosen people, in their effort to be free
From the tyranny of Egypt, will be merciful to me;
Will protect me by His power, whatsoe'er I undertake;
Will return me home in safety, dearest mother, for your sake.
Or should this my bleeding country need a victim such as me,
I am nothing more than others who have perished to be free.
On her bosom let me slumber, on her altar let me lie;
I am not afraid, my mother, in so good a cause to die.

There will come a day of gladness, when the people of the Lord
Shall look proudly on their banner, which his mercy has restored;
When the stars in perfect number, on their azure field of blue,
Shall be clustered in a Union, then and ever firm and
I may live to see it, mother, when the patriot's work is done,
And your heart, so full of kindness, will beat proudly for your son;
Or through tears your eyes may see it with a sadly thoughtful view,
And may love it still more dearly for the cost it won from you.

I have written to you, mother, with a consciousness of right--
I am thinking of you fondly, with a loyal heart tonight;
When I have your noble bidding, which shall tell me to press on,
I will come and see you, mother — come and kiss you, and be gone.
In the sacred name of Freedom, and my Country, as her due,
In the name of Law and Justice, I have written this to you.
I am eager, anxious, longing, to resist my country's foe:
Shall I go, my dearest mother? tell me, mother, shall I go?

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