It was a Sergeant old and gray,
Well singed and bronzed from siege and pillage,
Went tramping in an army’s wake,
Along the turnpike of the village.
For days and nights the winding host
Had through the little place been marching,
And ever loud the rustics cheered,
Till ev'ry throat was hoarse and parching.
The squire and farmer, maid and dame,
All took the sight’s electric stirring,
And hats were waved, and staves were sung,
And 'kerchiefs white were countless whirling.
They only saw a gallant show
Of heroes stalwart under banners,
And, in the fierce heroic glow,
’Twas theirs to yield but wild hosannas.
The sergeant heard the shrill hurrahs,
Where he behind in step was keeping;
But glancing down beside the road,
He saw a little maid sit weeping.
"And how is this?" he gruffly said,
A moment pausing to regard her;
"Why weepest thou, my little chit?"
And then she only cried the harder.