At Home

Now , Charley, on the knapsacks you 'll find an easy bed;
Our blankets we have folded and smooth above them spread.
The train will soon be starting, — here, drink this cup of wine,
The captain just now sent it, — and, ere the morning shine,
Away by blue Monadnoc, and where the hill-brooks foam,
You will be done with travel and rest in peace at home. "

" O boys you 're very good to me; I feel so tired and weak,
That, though I love to listen, I scarce can bear to speak.
But I'm surely growing better, and if, at early dawn,
I see our blue Monadnoc my pain will all be gone;
And when I hear my mother's voice, and sit within the door
That opens by the brook-side, I shall be strong once more.

" How much I have to tell her! My letters were not long;
I could not write while on the march nor in the camp-fire's throng;
But, when I sit beside her, how sweet 't will be to say,
" Now, mother, list the story of what befell that day; "
O she shall hear of every fight, and count each weary mile
I 've trod, since faint through silent tears I saw her parting smile!

" Good night, boys! I shall sleep now. What joy it is to feel
We 're drawing nearer, nearer home with each revolving wheel!
Good night! At dawn you 'll wake me when round the bend we go,
For there, beside the station, my mother 'll wait, I know;
And if she does not see me the first to leave the train,
She 'll think upon some nameless field her boy at last was slain. "

Slow turned away his comrades to snatch an hour's repose,
Or talk of siege and battle while clear the moon uprose;
But when the swift train halted, back to his side they crept,
And saw that on his narrow couch all peacefully he slept:
So night wore on to morning, and day began to dye
With floating rose and amber, the mellow eastern sky.

A league and then the station. " Ho! Charley! " blithe they call,
" Here looms the mountain; yonder the church-spire rises tall; "
No sound: they bend above him; his brow is cold and white;
He does not heed their voices, he stirs not for the light;
Away by blue Monadnoc, and where the hill-brooks foam,
The boy was done with travel; the soldier had gone home.
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