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 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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