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[504] I may be excused, if in closing I offer you one in return, in words which I heard for the first time,old as they are, around a camp-fire in the army of Northern Virginia one cold and cheerless night towards the close of 1861, from the lips of a gallant infantry officer now “dead on the field of glory.” They will not be on this account the less appropriate to this occasion:
When the black-lettered list to the gods was presented,
     The list of what Fate for each mortal intends;
At the long string of ills a kind goddess relented,
     And slipped in three blessings-wife, children and friends.

In vain surly Pluto maintained he was cheated,
     For justice divine could not compass its ends,
The scheme of man's penance he swore was defeated,
     Since earth becomes heaven with wife, children and friends.

If the stock of our bliss is in stranger hands vested,
     The fund ill secured oft in bankruptcy ends--
But the heart issues bills which are never protested,
     When drawn on the firm of wife, children and friends.

Though valor still burns in his life's dying embers,
     The death-wounded tar who his colors defends,
Drops a tear of regret as he dying remembers
     How blessed was his home with wife, children and friends.

The soldier, whose deeds live immortal in story,
     Whom duty to far distant latitudes sends,
With transport would barter whole ages of glory
     For one happy day with wife, children and friends.

The spring-time of youth, still unclouded by sorrow,
     Alone on itself for enjoyment depends,
But drear is the twilight of age if it borrow
     No warmth from the smile of wife, children and friends.

Let us drink, for my verse growing colder and colder,
     To subjects too solemn insensibly tends.
Let us drink, pledge me high, love and virtue shall flavor
     The glass which I fill to wife, children and friends.

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