78. war questions: to Col. C. M. Clay.Dr. Chapin. I.
O soldier! O soldier! why thus is your hand
With such eagerness clasped on your sharp battle-brand?
Has your flag been insulted? its eagle betrayed?
For revenge flash the flames of that blood-drinking blade?
Not revenge, not revenge, that is arming me now,
But as. white as the dove's is the plume on my brow,
Though my flag was insulted — the Star-flag that rolled
Like a storm for the Right o'er my fathers of old!
O soldier! O soldier! is't glory you seek
Where the War-demon shouts, and the death-vultures shriek?
Does your manly brow yearn for the laurels that wave
On the tree that is nursed by the blood of the brave?
“Oh, no! 'tis not glory that calls on my soul,
Where the black cannons roar, and the red banners roll;
Though 'tis there that the bold, gallant hand may entwine
A green wreath for his name on a world-worshipped shrine!”
O soldier! O soldier! then why is your hand
With such eagerness clasped on that sharp battlebrand?
While the flush on your brow, and the flash in your eye,
Show that storms of deep passion are thundering by?
“'Tis the Right! 'Tis the Right! God's own high, holy Right,
That has called me, and armed for the terrible fight!
O ye shades of my fathers! O ye, to whose hand
We have owed the great Union that blesses our land,
Lo, the traitors have struck! They would rend the Star-fold
That for Freedom, and Honor, and Truth, ye unrolled!
How your grand eyes look on me! I rush to the strife,
Not for fame or revenge, but--the National Life!”