Page:All quiet along the Potomac and other poems.djvu/30

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24
PICKING HOPS

PICKING HOPS

 
ON the hills of old Otsego,
 By her brightly gleaming lake,
Where the sound of horn and hunter
 Sylvan echoes love to wake,
Where the wreaths of twining verdure
 Clamber to the saplings' tops,
I sat beside sweet Minnie Wilder
 In the great field picking hops.

Then the clusters green and golden
 Binding in her sunny hair,
Half afraid, yet very earnest,
 Looking in her face so fair;
Speaking low, while Squire Von Lager
 Talked of past and coming crops,
Said I, "Minnie, should a soldier
 Stay at home here, picking hops?

"While the country, torn asunder,
 Calls for men like me to fight,
And the voice of patriots pleading
 Asks for hands to guard the right;
While from hearts of heroes slaughtered
 Still the life-blood slowly drops,
Can I—shall I stay beside you,
 Minnie darling, picking hops?"

Very pale the cheek was growing,
 And the hand I held was cold;