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[56]

Waiting for the bugle.

[Read before the Grand Army Post (56) of veteran soldiers, at

Cambridge, Mass., May 25, 1888.]
We wait for the bugle; the night-dews are cold,
The limbs of the soldiers feel jaded and old,
The field of our bivouac is windy and bare,
There is lead in our joints, there is frost in our hair,
The future is veiled and its fortunes unknown,
As we lie with hushed breath till the bugle is blown.

At the sound of that bugle each comrade shall spring
Like an arrow released from the strain of the string;
The courage, the impulse of youth shall come back
To banish the chill of the drear bivouac, [57]
And sorrows and losses and cares fade away
When that life-giving signal proclaims the new day.

Though the bivouac of age may put ice in our veins,
And no fibre of steel in our sinew remains;
Though the comrades of yesterday's march are not here,
And the sunlight seems pale and the branches are sere,--
Though the sound of our cheering dies down to a moan,
We shall find our lost youth when the bugle is blown.

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