A Rainy Day in Camp.

'TIS a cheerless, lonesome evening
  When the soaking, sodden ground
Will not echo to the footfall
   Of the sentinel's dull round.
 
God's blue star-spangled banner
  To-night is not unfurled,
Sorely He has not deserted
  This weary, warring world.
 
I peer into the darkness,
  And the crowding fancies come;
The night wind blowing northward
   Carries all my heart towards home.
 
For I 'listed in this army
  Not exactly to my mind;
But my country called for helpers,
  And I could not stay behind.
 
Lo, I have had a sight of drilling,
  And have roughed it many ways,
And Death has nearly had me,
   Still I think the service pays.
 
It's a blessed sort of feeling,
   Whether yon live or die,
To know you've helped your country,
  And fought right loyally.
 
But I can't help thinking, sometimes
  When a wet day's leisure comes,
That I hear the old home voices
  Talking louder than the drums.
 
 
And that far familiar faces
  Press in at the tent door,
And the little children's footsteps
   Go pit-pat on the floor.
 
I can't help thinking, sometimes,
  Of all the parson reads
About that other soldier-life
  Which every true man leads.
 
And wife, soft-hearted creature,
   Seems a saying in mine ear,
" I'd rather have you in those ranks
  Than see you Brigadier."
 
I call myself a brave one,
  But in my heart I lie;
For my country and her honor
  I'm fiercely free to die,
 
But when the Lord who bought me,
  Asks for my service here,
To fight the good fight faithfully
  I'm skulking in the rear.
 
And yet I know that Captain
  All love and care to be;
He would not get impatient
  With a raw recruit like me.
 
And I know He'd not forget me,
  When the day of peace appears,
I should share with Him the victory
   Of all the volunteers.
 
And it's kind of cheerful thinking
  Beside the dull tent fire,
About that great promotion
  When He says "Come up higher."
 
And though 'tis dismal rainy,
  E'en now with thoughts of Him,
Camp-life looks extra cheery,
  And death a deal less grim,
 
For I seem to see him waiting
  Where a gathered Heaven greets
A great victorious army,
  Surging up the golden streets.
 
And I hear him read the roll-call,
  And my heart is all a flame
When the dear "Recording Angel"
   Writes down my happy name.
 
But my fire is dead white ashes,
   And the tent is chilling cold,
And I'm playing win the .battle,
   When I've never been enrolled.

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