"The Reveille"
di Bret Harte (1839-1902)

Hark! I hear the tramp of thousands,
And of armed men the hum;
Lo! a nation's hosts have gather'd
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
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 there-from?
What if conquest, subjugation,
Even greater ills become?"
But the drum answered, "Come!
You must do the sum to prove it,"
Said the fateful answering drum.
"What if, 'mid the cannon's 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!"