22. A mother's prayer.Father, in the battle fray,
Shelter his dear head, I pray!
Nerve his young arm with the might
Of Justice, Liberty, and Right.
Where the red hail deadliest falls,
Where stern duty loudly calls,
Where the strife is fierce and wild--
Father! guard, oh! guard my child!
Where the foe rush swift and strong,
Madly striking for the wrong;
Where the clash of angry steel
Rings above the battle-field;
Where the stifling air is hot,
With bursting shell and whistling shot,
Father! to my boy's brave breast
Let no treacherous blade be pressed!
Father! if my woman's heart--
Frail and weak in every part--
Wanders from thy mercy-seat,
After those dear roving feet,
Let thy tender, pitying grace,
Every selfish thought erase!
If this mother's love be wrong--
Pardon, bless, and make me strong.
For when silent shades of night
Shut the bright world from my sight;
When around the cheerful fire
Gather brothers, sister, sire,
Then I miss my boy's bright face
From the old familiar place,
And my sad heart wanders back
To tented field and bivouac!
Often in my troubled sleep,
Waking, wearily, to weep--
Often dreaming he is near,
Calming every anxious fear--
Often startled by the flash
Of hostile swords that meet and clash,
Till the cannon's smoke and roar
Hide him from my eyes once more!
Thus I dream, and hope, and pray
All the weary hours away;
But I know his cause is just,
And I centre all my trust
In thy promise — as thy day
So shall thy strength be alway!
Yet I need thy guidance still;
Father! let me do thy will!
 If new sorrow should befall,
If my noble boy should fall,
If the bright head I have blessed,
On the cold earth finds its rest--
Still, with all the mother's heart,
Torn, and quivering with the smart,
I yield him, 'neath thy chastening rod,
To his dear country and his God.