In The Ranks

His death-blow struck him there in the ranks,—
There in the ranks, with his face to the foe:
Did his dying lips utter curses or thanks?
No one will know.

Still he marched on, he with the rest,—
Still he marched on, with his face to the foe,
To the day's bitter business sternly addressed:
Dead—did they know?

When the day was over, the fierce fight done,
His cheeks were red with the sunset's glow;
And they crowned him there with their laurels won:
Dead—did he know?

Laurels or roses, all one to him now:
What to a dead man is glory or glow?
Rose wreaths for love, or a crown on his brow:
Dead—does he know?

And yet you will see him march on with the rest,—
No man of them all makes a goodlier show,—
In the thick of the tumult jostled and pressed:
Dead—would you know?
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