19. A song.
Hark! a fife is singing,
Hark I the roll of far-off drums,
Through the air is ringing!
Nearer the bugle's echo comes,
Nearer the fife is singing,
Near and more near the roll of drums
Through the air is ringing.
War! it is thy music proud,
Wakening the brave-hearted,
Memories — hopes — a glorious crowd,
At its call have started.
Memories of our sires of old,
High their rainbow-flag unrolled
To the sun and sky of heaven.
Memories of the true and brave,
Who, at honor's bidding,
Stepped, their Country's life to save,
To war as to their wedding.
Memories of many a battle-plain,
Where their life-blood flowing,
Made green the grass and gold the grain,
Above their grave-mounds growing.
Hopes — that the children of their prayers,
With them in valor vying,
May do as noble deeds as theirs,
In living and in dying:
And make, for children yet to come,
The land of their bequeathing
The imperial and the peerless home
Of happiest beings breathing.
For this the warrior-path we tread,
The battle-path of duty,
And change, for field and forest-bed,
Our bowers of love and beauty.
Music! bid thy minstrels play
No tunes of grief or sorrow;
Let them cheer the living brave to-day,
They may wail the dead to-morrow.