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Perchance it may be taken prisoner,
And down into Rebeldom borne;
Peradventure — alas! the poor stocking--
It may by some rebel be worn!
It may be cut through with a sabre;
Its white top — woe's me!--be dyed red,
And on the cold field of a battle
May cover the foot of the dead.
How weirdly the needles are working--
Click, click — as they knit up the toe:
O stocking, you look to me ghostly,
In this question of where you shall go.
I see them flash down like a whirlwind,
Their long sabres gleaming on high;
The Stars and Stripes waving among them,
“For the Nation!” their fierce battle-cry;
I see them all pallid and drooping,
In sickness, in wounds, or in death;
And yet the faint pulses are loyal,
And yet Freedom nerves every breath.
The firelight wavers and trembles
With its shadowy, fitful glance,
Till the very coals and the ashes
Seem to look at me half askance;
And I in the chimney corner
In silence and solitude sit,
And work up an army of fancies,
In the volunteer sock that I knit.
It is all full of prayers and good wishes;
Stitch by stitch, as I knit, they're wrought in;
In my heart burns the love of the Union--
On my breast is a Stars-and-Stripes pin;
So if ever a sock could be loyal,
And for a brave volunteer fit,
As well as soft, warm, and elastic,
It must be this sock that I knit.
Ah, if I could only make blankets!
They should be of the warmest and best;
No night-wind should trouble the soldier,
While my blankets lay light on his breast.
And I wish that my hands could work faster,
And for every gray sock could knit two,--
You men who go forth to the battle
Don't know what the women would do.
And perchance — who can tell?--the young soldier
May turn out a hero, and fight
His way to the heart of the Nation,
As well as to glory's grand height;
And then, when his camp-chest is treasured,
And his uniform hung up with care,
Like Washington's, guarded and cherished,
My gray woollen sock may be there!
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