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42. the African color-sergeant.

Glares the volcano breath,
     Breaks the red sea of death,
From Wagner's yawning hold,
     On the besiegers bold.
Twice vain the wild attack,
     Inch by inch, sadly, slow,
Fights the torn remnant back,
     Face to the foe.

Yet free the colors wave,
     Borne by yon Afric brave,
In the fierce storm wind higher;
     But, ah! one flashing fire:
He sinks! the banner falls
     From the faint, mangled limb,
And droop to mocking walls
     Those star-folds dim.

Stay, stay, the taunting laugh!
     See! now he lifts the staff,
Clenched in his close-set teeth,
     Crawls from dead heaps beneath,
Crowned with his starry robe,
     Till he the ranks has found:
“Comrades, the dear old flag
     Ne'er touched the ground.”

O dead so pure, so grand,
     Sydney might clasp thy hand!
O brother! black thy skin,
     But white the pearl within!
Man, who to lift thy race
     Worthy, thrice worthy art,
Clasps thee, in warm embrace,
     A nation's heart!

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