Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE REVEILLE, by FRANCIS BRET HARTE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE REVEILLE, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Hark! I hear the tramp of thousands
Last Line: "lord, we come!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Harte, Bret
Variant Title(s): What The Drums Say
Subject(s): American Civil War; Patriotism; United States - History

HARK! I hear the tramp of thousands,
And of armed men the hum;
Lo! a nation's hosts have gathered
Round the quick-alarming drum, --
Saying: "Come,
Freemen, come!
Ere your heritage be wasted," said the quick-alarming drum.

"Let me of my heart take counsel:
War is not of life the sum;
Who shall stay and reap the harvest
When the autumn days shall come?"
But the drum
Echoed: "Come!
Death shall reap the braver harvest," said the solemn-sounding drum.

"But when won the coming battle,
What of profit springs therefrom?
What if conquest, subjugation,
Even greater ills become?"
But the drum
Answered: "Come!
You must do the sum to prove it," said the Yankee-answering drum.

"What if, 'mid the cannons' thunder,
Whistling shot and bursting bomb,
When my brothers fall around me,
Should my heart grow cold and numb?"
But the drum
Answered: "Come!
Better there in death united than in life a recreant, -- Come!"

Thus they answered -- hoping, fearing,
Some in faith and doubting some,
Till a trumpet-voice proclaiming,
Said: "My chosen people, come!"
Then the drum,
Lo! was dumb;
For the great heart of the nation, throbbing, answered:
"Lord, we come!"

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