Verse > Anthologies > Higginson and Bigelow, eds. > American Sonnets
Higginson and Bigelow, comps.  American Sonnets.  1891.
“Brave comrade, answer!”
By George Henry Boker (1823–1890)
BRAVE comrade, answer! When you joined the war,
  What left you? “Wife and children, wealth and friends,
A storied home whose ancient roof-tree bends
Above such thoughts as love tells o’er and o’er.”
Had you no pang or struggle? “Yes; I bore        5
  Such pain on parting as at hell’s gate rends
  The entering soul, when from its grasp ascends
The last faint virtue which on earth it wore.”
You loved your home, your kindred, children, wife;
  You loathed yet plunged into war’s bloody whirl!—        10
What urged you? “Duty! Something more than life.
That which made Abraham bare the priestly knife,
  And Isaac kneel, or that young Hebrew girl
Who sought her father coming from the strife.”

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