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The Sergeant's cot.

The door-stone fowl affrighted fly,
For the wary hawk with thievish eye,
Gloats eddying in the morning sky.

With wide, fell swoop, the airy king
Drops cruelly on one poor thing,
Denied the cover of its mother's wing.

One piteous flutter and a plaint — no more I
Two wondering faces from the cottage door
Peer as the victor with his prey sails o'er.

There were bitter tears and tenderness
Within that cot, for little Bess
Could hardly brook one chick the less.

The kitten gambolled, the pet linnet sung;
All day old Monument's shadow swung--
She mused and sobbed — her heart was wrung.

The mother took her to her arms, and said:
“Thy chick my child, is gone, is dead,
But a kind All-Father rules o'erhead.

“Such little chastenings are meant
To probe the secrets in our being pent,
Like sun and storm in rainbow blent.

“Your father, Bess!” 'twas hard to see
His parting look for you and me;
His country called — such things must be.

“But 'twas a pang we felt we owed
For all the land on us bestowed;
We faltered — but we've borne the load.”

Just then the post-train screeched in sight,
Glimpsed on its way with throbbing light,
With tidings fraught — shall they be of blight

'Twas farmer John came up the road
He drove his oxen with restless goad;
He left a pallor on that drear abode.

'Twas said: “The Tenth had suffered most,
And one brave Sergeant of the host,
Fell with the colors at his bloody post.”

The kitten gambolled, the pet linnet sung;
The orphaned Bessie at her girdle hung;
The widow sank — her heart was wrung.

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Bess (2)
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