[also known as "The Last Fierce Charge"]
It was just before the last fierce charge,
Two soldiers drew their rein,
With a parting word and a touch of the hand,
They never might meet again.
One had light blue eyes and curly hair,
Nineteen but a month ago, —
There was red on his cheek and down on his chin
He's only a boy you know.
The other was tall, dark, stern, and proud,
His fate in this world seem'd dim;
But he only trusted the more to those
Who were all in this world to him.
They had been together in many a fight,
And rode for many a mile;
But never till now they had met the foe
With a calm and hopeful smile.
But now they gazed in each other's eyes
With an awful ghastly loom;
The tall dark one was the first to speak
Saying "Charlie, mine hour is come.
We'll both ride up yon hill together,
But you must ride back alone.
O promise a little trouble to take
For me when I'm gone.
I have a fair face on my breast,
I'll wear it throughout the fight;
With light blue eyes, and curly hair
That shines like the morning light.
Like the morning light she is to me,
With her calm and her hopeful smile;
Oh, little care I for the frowns of fate,
For she promised to be my wife.
I mind the day she said 'Good-bye',
With a smile on her fair face;
Oh, tell her tenderly where I fell,
And where is my resting place."
Tears dimm'd the blue eyes of the boy
His voice was low with pain.
"I'll do your bidding, comrade mine,
Should I ride back again.
But if you ride back and I am slain,
You'll do as much for me;
I have a mother beloved by all,
Write to her tenderly.
She was a mother beloved by all,
Who had buried both husband and son;
And I the last for her country's cause
She cheer'd and sent me on.
And now she prays like a waiting saint,
Her fair face wet with woe;
Oh, when she hears that I am slain,
Her heart will break I know."
But now the trumpet sounds the charge,
In an instant hand join'd hand,
With a parting word and away they go, —
A brave devoted band.
There was none to tell that fair-hair'd girl
The words her true-love said,
And none to tell that waiting mother
The news that her boy was dead.
For among the number of the slain
Was the boy with the curly hair;
The tall dark man who rode by his side
Lay dead beside him there.