previous next

Left behind.

by Mary Clemmer Ames.
Oh! hear the music-coming, coming up the street!
Oh! hear the muffled marching of swift on-coming feet!
Oh! hear the choral drum beat — the bugle piercing sweet!

Our volunteers are coming, coming up the street;
Throw open wide the windows, beloved ones to greet--
We're ready waiting, eager, our bonny boy to meet.

Our volunteers are coming! They've lived through every fray--
Through marching, through fighting, through fever's cruel prey--
To be mustered out of service, the gallant boys today!

Your tattered battle-banner, unfurl it in the air!
I'm seeking one beneath it — I'll know him, bronzed or fair:
Oh! glad returning faces, our darling is not there!

The trumpets clash exultant, the bayonets flash me blind,
And still my eyes are seeking the one I cannot find;
Oh! tell me true, his comrades, have you left our boy behind?

Say, soldiers, did you leave him upon the battle-plain,
Where fiendish shell and canister pour fierce their fiery rain?
Did leave him with the wounded, or leave him with the slain?

Or, weary in the wasting camp, sore worn with sun and scar,
Did turn your faces to the North, to homes beloved afar,
And say, Good-by, we go, but you enlisted for the war?

Be pitiful, O women! with pity softly kind!
You clasp your war-worn veterans; there are mothereyes tear-blind;
There are women broken-hearted for boys left behind.

Can the hero crush the woman, and cry, Oh! let it be,
Let arms and homes be empty, for thy sake, Liberty?
O generation! perish! The land shall yet be free!

Oh! hear the music dying, dying on the wind,
And still my eyes are seeking the one I cannot find;
Oh! tell me not of “glory,” our boy is left behind.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Mary Clemmer Ames (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: