All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/Company K

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COMPANY K.


THERE'S a cap in the closet,
 Old, tattered, and blue,
That would be little value,
 It may be, to you;
But a crown jewel-studded
 Could not buy it to-day,
With its letters of honor,
 Brave "Company K."

The head that it sheltered
 Needs shelter no more;
Dead heroes make holy
 The trifles they wore;
So a wreath better winning
 Than laurel and bay
Seems the cap of the soldier,
 Marked "Company K."


For eyes have looked steady
 Its visor beneath
O'er the work of the reaper,
 Whose harvest is Death.
Let the muster-roll meagre
 So mournfully say
How foremost in danger
 Went "Company K "—


Whose footstep unbroken
 Came up to the town,
Where rampart and bastion
 Looked fearfully down—
Who, closing up breaches,
 Yet kept on their way,
Till guns downward pointing
 Faced "Company K."


Like cameras fearful
 Stood cannon aloof,
Till the signal was given
 To strike off a proof
Of the soul of the soldier,
 To send up to Him.
(Pray God that he knew them,
 Though bloody and dim!)


Who faltered or shivered?
 Who shunned battle-smoke?
Whose fire was uncertain?
 Whose battle-line broke?
Go ask it of History
 Years from to-day,
And the record shall tell you,
 Not "Company K."


Tho' my darling is sleeping
 To-day with the dead,
And daisies and clover
 Bloom over his head,
I smile, tho' I'm crying
 As I lay it away,
That battle-worn cap
 Lettered "Company K."