What the Soldier Said

The crisis of the battle neared, the cream of England's sons
Were in the open, fighting, right beneath the Russian guns
That were dealing devastation, with shot that riddled through
The " Thin red line" of valiant men that less and lesser grew,
But one there was who wavered, as the scarlet column wheeled,
Whose eyes had caught some colours lying in the open field,
He waited not for orders, but he left the ranks to go
To save his comrade, and his flag, to face the Russian foe,
The deadly bayonets glistened, and the cannons thundered near,
But his comrade, and his colours he carried to the rear.

Long afterwards, when June was filtering her sunshine through
The little watery clouds afloat in skies of English blue,
It seemed to glow the brighter on a lithe young soldier's face,
As he stood before his sovereign, who leaned with tender grace,
To pin upon his breast a little bit of bronze that bore
These words " For Valour," Ah how well he won it in the war.
" See that you wear it nobly," said his Captain, " Life won't give
Another such reward as that, so guard it while you live."
The soldier touched his faded cap, " Your pardon sir," said he,
" I'm proud of this wee bit of bronze as any man can be,
It means my honour, sir, and nought on earth I honour more,
But Captain, did you never know I wore a cross before?
It won the glory for me, and I'm none the prouder now
Of the cross upon my bosom, than the cross upon my brow."
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