Such is the death a soldier dies.Though suggested by the Spanish war, this poem is so vivid and forms so good a companion piece to the preceding, that it is here included.
Such is the death the soldier dies:
He falls,—the column speeds away;
Upon the dabbled grass he lies,
His brave heart following, still, the fray.
The smoke-wraiths drift among the trees,
The battle storms along the hill;
The glint of distant arms he sees;
He hears his comrades shouting still.
A glimpse of far-borne flags, that fade
And vanish in the rolling din:
He knows the sweeping charge is made,
The cheering lines are closing in.
Unmindful of his mortal wound,
He faintly calls and seeks to rise;
But weakness drags him to the ground:—
Such is the death the soldier dies.
‘At dawn,’ he said, ‘I bid them all farewell,
To go where bugles call and rifles gleam.’
And with the restless thought asleep he fell,
And glided into dream.
A great hot plain from sea to mountain spread,—
Through it a level river slowly drawn:
He moved with a vast crowd, and at its head
Streamed banners like the dawn.