Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/110

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Our hearts went with him. Back we swept,
And when the bugle said,
"Up, charge again!" no man was there
But hung his dogged, head.
"We've no one left to lead us now,"
The sullen soldiers said.

Just then, before the laggard line
The colonel's horse we spied,—
Bay Billy, with his trappings on,
His nostril swelling wide,
As though still on his gallant back
The master sat astride.

Right royally he took the place
That was of old his wont,
And with a neigh that seemed to say
Above the battle's brunt,
"How can the Twenty-second charge
If I am not in front?"

Like statues we stood rooted there,
And gazed a little space:
Above that floating mane we missed
The dear familiar face;
But we saw Bay Billy's eye of fire,
And it gave us heart of grace.

No bugle-call could rouse us all
As that brave sight had done.
Down all the battered line we felt
A lightning impulse run:
Up, up the hill we followed Bill,
And captured every gun!

And when upon the conquered height
Died out the battle's hum,
Vainly 'mid living and the dead
We sought our leader dumb;
It seemed as if a spectre steed
To win that day had come.