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The forced recruit.

In the ranks of Rebellion you found him,
He died with his face to you all;
Yet bury him here where around him
You honor your bravest that fall.

Virginian — fair-featured and slender,
He lies shot to death in his youth,
With a smile on his lips over-tender
For any mere soldier's dead mouth.

No stranger, and yet not a traitor;
Though hostile the cloth on his breast,
Underneath it how seldom a greater
Young heart has a shot sent to rest!

By your enemy tortured and goaded
To march with them, stand in their file,
His musket (see!) never was loaded,
He facing your guns with that smile!

As orphans yearn on to their mothers
He yearned to your patriot bands;--
“Let me die for America, brothers,
If not in your ranks, by your hand!”

“Aim straightly, fire steadily! spare me
A ball in the body which may
Deliver my heart here, and tear me
This badge of the traitor away!”

[28] So thought he, so died he, this morning.
What then? Many others have died.
Ay, but easy for men to die scorning
The death-stroke who fought side by side--

One tri-color floating above them;
Struck down ‘mid triumphant acclaims
Of America rescued to love them
And blazon the brass with their names.

But he — without witness or honor,
Mixed, shamed in his country's regard
With the traitors who march in upon her,
Died faithful and passive: 'twas hard.

'Twas sublime. In a cruel restriction
Cut off from her guerdon of sons,
With most filial obedience, conviction,
His soul kissed the lips of her guns.

That moves you? Nay, grudge not to show it
While digging a grave for him here:
The others who died, says our poet,
Have glory — let him have a tear.

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