Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/197

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79
THE READING-CLUB.

Tramp! tramp! tramp! tramp!
The sentry before my tent,
Guards in gloom his chief, for whom
Its shelter to-night is lent.

I am not there. On the hillside bare
I think of the ghost within;
Of the brave who died at my sword-hand side,
To-day, 'mid the horrible din

Of shot and shell, and the infantry yell,
As we charged with the sabre drawn.
To my heart I said, "Who shall be the dead
In my tent at another dawn?"

I thought of a blossoming almond-tree,
The stateliest tree that I know;
Of a golden bowl; of a parted soul;
And a lamp that is burning low.

Oh, thoughts that kill! I thought of the hill
In the far-off Jura chain;
Of the two, the three, o'er the wide salt sea,
Whose hearts would break with pain;

Of my pride and joy—my eldest boy;
Of my darling, the second—in years;
Of Willie, whose face with its pure, mild grace,
Melts memory into tears;

Of their mother, my bride, by the Alpine lake's side,
And the angels asleep in her arms;
Love, Beauty, and Truth, which she brought to my youth,
In that sweet April day of her charms.

"Halt! Who comes there?" The cold midnight air,
And the challenging word, chills me through:
The ghost of a fear whispers, close to my ear,
"Is peril, love, coming to you?"