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[33] With ready piece, I wait and watch,
     Until my eyes, familiar grown,
Detect each harmless, earthen notch,
     And turn guerillas into stone;
And then, amid the lonely gloom,
     Beneath the tall old chestnut trees,
My silent marches I resume,
     And think of other times than these.

“Halt! Who goes there?” my challenge cry,
     It rings along the watchful line;
“Relief!” I hear a voice reply--
     “Advance, and give the countersign!”
With bayonet at the charge I wait--
     The corporal gives the mystic word;
With arms aport I charge my mate,
     Then onward pass, and all is well.

But in the tent, that night, awake,
     I asked, if in the fray I fall,
Can I the mystic answer make
     When the angelic sentries call?
And pray that Heaven may so ordain,
     Where'er I go, what fate be mine,
Whether in pleasure or in pain,
     I still may have the Countersign.

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