Befire the Battle
By the hope within us springing,
Herald of to-morrow's strife;
By that sun, whose light is bringing
Chains or freedom, death or life --
Oh! remember life can be
No charm for him, who lives not free!
Like the day-star in the wave,
Sinks a hero in his grave,
'Midst the dew-fall of a nation's tears.
Happy is he o'er whose decline
The smiles of home may soothing shine,
And light him down the steep of years:
But oh, how blest they sink to rest,
Who close their eyes on victory's breast!
O'er his watch-fire's fading embers
Now the foeman's cheek turns white,
When his heart that field remembers,
Where we tamed his tyrant might.
Never let him bind again
A chain like that we broke from then.
Hark! the horn of combat calls --
Ere the golden evening falls,
May we pledge that horn in triumph round.
Many a heart that now beats high,
In slumber cold at night shall lie,
Nor waken even at victory's sound: --
But oh how blest that hero's sleep,
O'er whom a wondering world shall weep!