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The Song of the Camp

From The Detroit Times, January 17, 1913.
 By Bayard Taylor.

 “Give us a song!” The soldiers cried,
 The outer trenches guarding,
 When the heated guns of the camps allied
 Grew weary of bombarding.
 The dark redan, in silent scoff,
 Lay, grim and threatening, under;
 And the tawny mound of the Malakoff
 No longer belched its thunder.
 There was a pause. A guardsman said,
 “We storm the forts tomorrow;
 Sing while we may, another day
 Will bring enough of sorrow.”
 They lay along the battery’s side,
 Below the smoking cannon;
 Brave hearts, from Severn and from Clyde,
 And from the banks of Shannon.
 They sang of love and not of fame;
 Forgot was Britain’s glory;
 Each heart recalled a different name,
 But all sang “Annie Laurie.”
 Voice after voice caught up the song,
 Until its tender passion
 Rose like an anthem, rich and strong—
 Their battle-eve confession.
 Dear girl, her name he dared not speak,
 But as the song grew louder,
 Something upon the soldier’s cheek
 Washed off the stains of powder.
 Beyond the darkening ocean burned
 The bloody sunset’s embers,
 While the Crimean valleys learned
 How English love remembers.
 And once again a fire of hell
 Rained on the Russian quarters,
 With scream of shot, and burst of shell,
 And bellowing of the mortars!
 And Irish Nora’s eyes are dim
 For a singer dumb and gory;
 And English Mary mourns for him
 Who sang of “Annie Laurie.”
 Sleep soldiers! Still in honored rest
 Your truth and valor wearing;
 The bravest are the tenderest—
 The loving are the daring.

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