The Furlough

John Bannister Tabb

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"Home," he said, and westward turning,
Looked upon the setting sun.
"Heed the child," a sentry muttered,
"Safety on the rampart none."
"Naught I fear," the boy made answer,
"Battle shock, nor random gun;
Homeward all my heart advances,
Victory 's won!"

In his eyes the light of morning
Met the slow-declining day,
Where the bow of peace expanding,
Lit with hope's celestial ray--
Born of sunshine, cloud-engendered,
Sorrow washed in tears away--
"Strife to holy calm surrenders,"
Seems to say.

Fair he stood, as in a vision,
When with sudden cry of dread,
Forward sprang each sturdy comrade,
To support the fallen head.
Swift a thirsty flash, unerring,
To the font of life had sped!
Calm he lay. We bent above him;
"Home he goeth," some one said.
With the dew our tears were falling,
O'er the dead!

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