Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ZAGONYI, by GEORGE HENRY BOKER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ZAGONYI, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Bold captain of the body-guard
Last Line: To death or victory!
Subject(s): American Civil War; Cavalry; Springfield, Missouri, Battle Of (1861); United States - History; Zagonyi, Charles

BOLD Captain of the Body-Guard,
I'll troll a stave to thee!
My voice is somewhat harsh and hard,
And rough my minstrelsy.
I've cheered until my throat is sore
For how Dupont at Beaufort bore;
Yet here's a cheer for thee!

I hear thy jingling spurs and reins,
Thy sabre at thy knee;
The blood runs lighter through my veins,
As I before me see
Thy hundred men with thrusts and blows
Ride down a thousand stubborn foes,
The foremost led by thee.

With pistol snap and rifle crack --
Mere salvos fired to honor thee --
Ye plunge, and stamp, and shoot, and hack
The way your swords make free;
Then back again, -- the path is wide
This time, -- ye gods! it was a ride,
The ride they took with thee!

No guardsman of the whole command
Halts, quails, or turns to flee;
With bloody spur and steady hand
They gallop where they see
Thy daring plume stream out ahead
O'er flying, wounded, dying, dead;
They can but follow thee.

So, Captain of the Body-Guard,
I pledge a health to thee!
I hope to see thy shoulders starred,
My Paladin; and we
Shall laugh at fortune in the fray
Whene'er you lead you well-known way
To death or victory!

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