Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
The Soldier’s Song
 
ERE the dew on the valley had melted away,
Or the morning bird finish’d his earliest lay;
With battle-axe keen, and with bayonet bright,
From the home of my childhood, I march to the fight.
 
’Tis true in that march I shall leave far behind        5
A father that’s dear, and a mother that’s kind;
And sometimes when fiercely the winter winds rise,
My sisters in anguish may wipe their blue eyes.
 
When I think of the hall where so often I’ve play’d,
And the tree that has cool’d me in summer with shade;        10
The reverend old oak whose majestical form
Was ne’er wither’d by lightning nor bent by the storm;
 
When I think of the flocks that they nourish’d and fed,
In the sunshine of youth, ere its lustre was fled;
The tear of remembrance may steal to my cheek,        15
And my tongue for a moment my sufferings may speak:
 
But I go in the spirit of freedom to save,
And my fate, if I fall, is the fate of the brave;
I go where the fife wakes its melody shrill,
And the watch-fire burns bright on the brow of the hill.        20
 
I well know the soldier’s a pitiless lot,
And the scars on his bosom too soon are forgot;
He’s awed into silence, nor dare he complain
At the cold sleety shower or the fast-driving rain.
 
I go to the wilderness far in the west,        25
Where the footstep of murder the soil has oft press’d;
Where the billowy lake in the summer breeze plays,
And thirsting for carnage the red savage strays.
 
Then, father, and mother, and sisters, adieu!
’Tis my country I weep for remembering you;        30
The reward that I ask and the boon that I crave
Is the warrior’s renown or the patriot’s grave.
 
 
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