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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

The Volunteer

By Elbridge Jefferson Cutler (1831–1870)

[Born in Holliston, Mass., 1831. Died at Cambridge, Mass., 1870. War Poems. 1867.]

“AT dawn,” he said, “I bid them all farewell,

To go where bugles call and rifles gleam.”

And with the restless thought asleep he fell,

And glided into dream.

A great hot plain from sea to mountain spread,—

Through it a level river slowly drawn:

He moved with a vast crowd, and at its head

Streamed banners like the dawn.

There came a blinding flash, a deafening roar,

And dissonant cries of triumph and dismay;

Blood trickled down the river’s reedy shore,

And with the dead he lay.

The morn broke in upon his solemn dream,

And still, with steady pulse and deepening eye,

“Where bugles call,” he said, “and rifles gleam,

I follow, though I die!”