Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  Waiting for the Bugle

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

Waiting for the Bugle

By Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823–1911)

WE wait for the bugle; the night-dews are cold,

The limbs of the soldiers feel jaded and old,

The field of our bivouac is windy and bare,

There is lead in our joints, there is frost in our hair.

The future is veiled and its fortunes unknown

As we lie with hushed breath till the bugle is blown.

At the sound of that bugle each comrade shall spring

Like an arrow released from the strain of the string.

The courage, the impulse of youth shall come back

To banish the chill of the drear bivouac,

And sorrows and losses and cares fade away

When that life-giving signal proclaims the new day.

Though the bivouac of age may put ice in our veins,

And no fibre of steel in our sinew remains;

Though the comrades of yesterday’s march are not here,

And the sunlight seems pale and the branches are sere,

Though the sound of our cheering dies down to a moan,

We shall find our lost youth when the bugle is blown.