Written the Night Before Battle
How sweet the tired soldier’s rest
Whose bosom owns no cruel guest
That with a secret cankering power
Blights in the bud each promised flower!
Be mine, the awful watch to keep,
While my brave comrades, sunk in sleep
See visions of their distant friends,
And fancy all her magic lends
To bring before the mental sight
Whate’er their waking thoughts delight.
Some valiant spirits dream of war
And of the laurels they will share!
To me, nor laurels, nor the cry,
Of thousands shouting victory
Could on my breaking heart bestow
One faint, one transitory glow!
It is not fame that calls me forth
That gives this vapour courage birth
’Tis peace, eternal peace, I crave
And seek it in the soldier’s grave!