Befire the Battle

By the hope within us springing,

Herald of to-morrow's strife;

By that sun, whose light is bringing

Chains or freedom, death or life --

Oh! remember life can be

No charm for him, who lives not free!

Like the day-star in the wave,

Sinks a hero in his grave,

'Midst the dew-fall of a nation's tears.

Happy is he o'er whose decline

The smiles of home may soothing shine,

And light him down the steep of years:

But oh, how blest they sink to rest,

Who close their eyes on victory's breast!

O'er his watch-fire's fading embers

Now the foeman's cheek turns white,

When his heart that field remembers,

Where we tamed his tyrant might.

Never let him bind again

A chain like that we broke from then.

Hark! the horn of combat calls --

Ere the golden evening falls,

May we pledge that horn in triumph round.

Many a heart that now beats high,

In slumber cold at night shall lie,

Nor waken even at victory's sound: --

But oh how blest that hero's sleep,

O'er whom a wondering world shall weep!


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