Enfant perdu

In Freedom's War, of "Thirty Years" and more,
A lonely outpost have I held--in vain!
With no triumphant hope or prize in store,
Without a thought to see my home again.

I watched both day and night: I could not sleep
Like my well-tented comrades far behind,
Though near enough to let their snoring keep
A friend awake, if e'er to doze inclined.

And thus, when solitude my spirits shook,
Or fear--for all but fools know fear sometimes,--
To rouse myself and them, I piped and took
A gay revenge in all my wanton rhymes.

Yes! there I stood, my musket always ready,
And when some sneaking rascal showed his head,
My eye was vigilant, my aim was steady,
And gave his brains an extra dose of lead.

But war and justice have far different laws,
And worthless acts are often done right well;
The rascals' shots were better than their cause,
And I was hit--and hit again, and fell!

That outpost was abandoned: while the one
Lies in the dust, the rest in troops depart;
Unconquered--I have done what could be done,
With sword unbroken, and with broken heart.
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