“And blessed be our country — our flag of the free!
Though dimmed be thy light, thou art sacred to me;
Soon, soon may'st thou cast off thy fetters, and rise,
As the sun scatters clouds in his course through the skies.”
The sentinel's pacing his dull, weary round;
His soul now is free, though his body be bound;
But hark! through the darkness some sound strikes his ear;
He stops, as some object doth dimly appear.
“Halt!” cries he; “who comes?” speaks the sentinel now;
“A friend with the countersign,” ‘s answered him low;
“Advance with the countersign!” --now it is given--
His home is now earth, but before it was heaven.
The bright dream has vanished — his home's far away;
The night-breeze is speaking that round him doth play;
It tells of a country that's dearer than life,
And his arm feels the stronger for freedom's own strife.
It tells of a foe that would pluck the bright stars
From a flag so triumphant in peace or in wars;
That would make it a by-word — an object of shame,
And he says, “I will die for its glory and fame.”
And blessed is a country with stout hearts like these;
The tramp of her army is swelling the breeze;
They rush to her rescue — their lives freely give--
'Twere better to die, than in bondage to live.
God bless thee, O Sentinel, pacing thy round!
Safe may'st thou return with the victor's wreath bound:
When the dark clouds of war shall have passed from the skies,
And rebellion is hurled down — never to rise.