Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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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        5
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;        10
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        15
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.        20
 
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        25
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;        30
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,        35
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!        40
 
 
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