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Wilkins, Harriett Annie
The Soldier Of Auvergne


'Twas midnight, and the soldier took
  His lone and quiet march;
The moon's bright rays fell gloriously
  Upon the forest arch;
And through that forest's dreary gloom,
  Full twenty leagues away,
The army of the enemy
  Waited the dawn of day.

The watcher listened, for he heard
The wild-wolf's dismal howl,
A crashing of the underbrush
  Betrayed his wary prowl;
Yet where the branches thickest weave,
  The soldier took his way;
He started--for a band of foes
  Had seized him as their prey.

He was a captive--one strong hand
  Upon his lips did lie,
While in hoarse whispers rung their words,
  "Betray us and you die."
Warm love was nestling at his heart,
  Warm life was in his veins,
One dream of love, of life, of home,
  One dream of captive chains.

'Twas but a moment, and he thought
  Of those who slept around,
Safe and secure while he kept watch
  Upon the sentry ground.
'Twas but a moment, and a flush
  Passed o'er his cheek and brow;
His voice rang on the midnight air,
  "Auvergne! Auvergne! the foe!"

The swords that in the moonlight shone
  Upon his bosom rushed;
And from the dauntless soldier's heart
  Life's streamlets quickly gushed.
Yet ere his beaming eye was closed,
  He saw his brethren's lance;
Trampling down bush and brake, he heard
  The cavalry of France.

He felt strong arms around him placed,
  He saw their princely train;
A nation's thanks were in his ears,--
  He had not died in vain.
They laid him, while the host pursued
  The fast retreating foe,
Beneath that glorious flag for which
  He laid himself so low.

O! may it be that when, if e'er,
  So dire a fate we claim,
And through our country loud resounds
  War's fearful, shuddering name--
Then many our hearts and households yield
  Then may our foemen learn,
We have such hearts as sleep beneath
  The banner of Auvergne.


Public Domain