It was for this, the laying-down of all,
I led you to this grim December ground,
To this dark hill, and to that deadly wall,
And you foresaw, but followed, honor-bound.
It was for this your soldier’s oath was sworn,
Your pledge of blood and honor to my name,
But you were blood of mine from being born,
And for my sake – and honor’s sake – you came.
My name resounded on the trumpet-call
That urged you to the foe-defended crest
Till yours was uttered by some musket-ball.
And so we linger here, and so you rest.
Now sleep, and never heed the taunting foe,
And never dream your death is my defeat.
Wherever I and such as you shall go,
No horn of mine shall ever call retreat.
Now sleep. Below, my next battalion comes
With battle-flags a-flap against the sky,
With flashing bayonets and beating drums,
To follow me, as you did, and to die.