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The cavalry scout.

A Ballad of the Second Wisconsin, written among the Tombs.

“Spare man nor steed, use utmost speed; before the sun goes down,
Thou, sir, must ride,” the Colonel cried, “unto Helena town.”

“Colonel!” the stern Lieutenant said, “to hear is to obey!
Comrades! the path is fringed with death; who rides with me to-day?”

Instant a gallant Sergeant spoke: “I ride with thee to-day.”
Along the ranks a wild shout broke: “We follow! lead the way!”

Out sprang a little trumpeter, and clasped the courier's knees;
“I'll sound the charge, I'll call the halt-me, too I let me go, please I”

“Nay, boy! I want nor trumpet-note, nor arm nor sword so small;
The ranger's ball shall sound the charge, the halt but death shall call.”

To horse! the steeds impatient neigh; to horse I the way is long.
Brave hearts are light, keen sabres bright, and willing arms are strong.

The clatter of hoofs! the clash of steel the day is nearly done;
There will be need of armed heel ere the far off goal be won.

Lo! the entrance to Cyril's Wood gapes like the mouth of hell;
The dauntless courier mutters, “Good I the rebel dogs watch well!”

No rein is drawn at the line of flame; tally, a score and six.
“My place to lead” is the sergeant's claim; “Ho for the River Styx!”

“Thou follow!” rings the quick reply; “for God and liberty!”
And the well-closed column dashes by-tally, a score less three.

“Comrades!” --the courier turned his head--“if I fall, pass me by,
‘Whom the gods love, die young,’ 'tis said; it is no shame to die.”

The sunless swamp is near at hand; gleameth each hostile tree;
Eyes to the front, the lessening band, reckless, ri<*>e rapidly.

“Help ho! the sergeant!” (One hath seen whence the death-bearing sped;
Aimeth the ranger's eyes between, pierceth the ranger's head.)

Under the giant cypress him the rough hands gently place;
Give water to cool the fevered lips, to lave the burning face.

Not here! his thoughts are far away in the home be loved so well;
Like a sleepy child he murmurs: “Hark! do you hear the vesper-bell?”

Hid in his bosom, bathed in blood, is a cherished lock of hair;
He snatches it forth from the welling flood, and takes of his own so fair,

And puts them into his comrade's hand--“You know the happy spot;
Give her who waits these tresses twain, and say I ne'er forgot.”

Away! away! think not to stay! no bootless vigil keep,
Give little heed to a comrade's need — a soldier may not weep.

[34] Away! away! the passing day warns to use utmost speed;
Hark to the shouts of the rebel scouts Away! away! good steed!

Come hither and see the glory with me — are thine eyes so weak, my love?
Sunlit mountains stand on either hand, and a purple sky above:

“There's a path goes out at the golden west,” trod by the parting day,
That leads to the fabled home of the blest,. “over the hills away:”

The sun swells big in a last fond gaze, big with the light of love--
Come hither and see, it will not daze, for the purple grows misty above.

Drive home the spur! a riderless horse into the night leads on;
Follow! faint not! his master's corpse is many a mile by-gone.

On! on! deem not the danger passed till the wished — for goal be won.
--“who goes?” --“Thank God! the lines, at last!” and the hard race is done.

“Boys! who is here?” a trooper cried; “How many are alive?”
And the stern courier's voice replied: “brave comrades, we are five”
Edmundus Scotus, Ninth Illinois Cavalry.
Cyril's Wood, Ark.

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