Margaret Junkin Preston

The Bivouac In The Snow

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Halt!--the march is over,
Day is almost done;
Loose the cumbrous knapsack,
Drop the heavy gun.
Chilled and wet and weary,
Wander to and fro,
Seeking wood to kindle
Fires amidst the snow.

Round the bright blaze gather,
Heed not sleet or cold;
Ye are Spartan soldiers,
Stout and brave and bold.
Never Xerxian army
Yet subdued a foe
Who but asked a blanket
On a bed of snow.

Shivering, 'midst the darkness,
Christian men are found,
There devoutly kneeling
On the frozen ground--
Pleading for their country,
In its hour of woe--
For the soldiers marching
Shoeless through the snow.

Lost in heavy slumbers,
Free from toil and strife,
Dreaming of their dear ones--
Home, and child, and wife--
Tentless they are lying,
While the fires burn low--
Lying in their blankets
'Midst December's snow.

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Margaret Junkin Preston