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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

In the Battle

By Lucretia Gray Noble (1836–1927)

THE DRUMS are beat, the trumpets blow,

The black-mouthed cannon bay the foe,

Dark, bristling o’er each murky height,

And all the field is whirled in fight.

The long life in the drowsy tent

Fades from me like a vision spent;—

I stand upon the battle’s marge,

And watch the smoking squadron’s charge.

Behold one starry banner reel

With that wild shock of steel on steel;

And ringing up by rock and tree

At last the cry that summons me.

I hear it in my vibrant soul,

Deep thundering back its counter roll;

And all life’s ore seems newly wrought

In the white furnace of my thought.

No dream that made my days divine

But flashes back some mystic sign;

And every shape that erst was bright

Sweeps by me garmented in light.

High legends of immortal praise,

Brows of world heroes bound with bays,

The crownèd majesties of Time

Rise visioned on my soul sublime.

Dear living lips of love and prayer

Sound chanting through the blackened air;

And eyes look out of marble tombs,

And hands are waved from churchyard glooms.

“Charge! charge!” at last the captain’s cry!

We pant, we speed, we leap, we fly;

I feel my lifting feet aspire,

As I were born of wind and fire!

On! on! where wild the battle swims,

On! on! no shade my vision dims;

Transcendent o’er yon smoky wreath,

I see the glory of great Death!

Come flashing blade, and hissing ball!

I give my blood, my breath, my all,

So that on yonder rocking height

The stars and stripes may wave to-night!