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12. in the hospital.

In the ranks of the sick and dying, in the chamber where death-dews fall,
Where the sleeper wakes from his trances to leap to the bugle-call,
Is there hope for the wounded soldier? Ah! no, for his heart-blood flows,
And the flickering flame of life must wane, to fail at the evening's close.

O thou who goest, like a sunbeam, to lighten the darkness and gloom!
Make way for his path of glory, through the dim and shadowy room;
Go speak to him words of comfort and teach him the way to die,
With his eyes upraised from the starry flag to the blessed cross on high.

And tell him brave hearts are beating, with pulses as noble as thine;
That we count them at home by the thousands--thou sweetest sister of mine--
That they fail not and flinch not from duty, while the vials of wrath are outpoured,
And tell him to call it not grievous, but joyous to fall by the sword.

When the hosts of the foe are outnumbered, and the day of the Lord is at hand,
Shall we halt in the heat of the battle, and fail at the word of command?
Oh! no; through the trouble and anguish, by the terrible pathway of blood,
We must bear up the flag of our freedom, on — on through the perilous flood!

And if one should be brought faint and bleeding, though wounded, yet not unto death,
Oh! plead with the soft airs of heaven, to favor his languishing breath,
Be faithful to heal and to save him, assuaging the fever and pains,
Till the pulse in his strong arm be strengthened, and the blood courses free in his veins.

Then take the good sword from its scabbard, and front his pale face to the foe,
And bid him march onward, unconquered, though, stricken again, he lie low;
He shall see in the dream of his slumber, he shall know in his soul's swift release,
That the heralds afar on the mountains come bearing the lilies of peace.

When the blood of the Old Dominion shall lie trod in its pride to the dust,
When her swords and her traitorous banners are consumed by the moth and the rust, [12]
When the gold and the purple lie tarnished, and the light is gone out in her halls,
And she sees the last slave, freed from fetters, walk out by her pitiful walls;

Though late comes the signal of promise, when the horse and the rider shall reel,
And slow with the hope of the ages, comes the roll of God's chariot-wheel;
Yet sure as God's heaven above us, on the glittering scroll shall be read,
“The days of thy kingdom are numbered,” and our last armed foe shall be dead.

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