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162 SONGS OF WAR AND PEACE
For answer, bellowing within
The charging column's wake, The light artillery salutes
In thunderings that shake The clustered hills, and one deep roar
Of battle has begun, Where rampant wrath has seized the earth,
And blotted out the sun.
Two jagged lines, in squirming knots,
Stretched over hill and vale, Betwixt them stake the cloud-hid space,
Where lead and iron hail Drives criss-cross, zigzag, scurrying,
In screech, and hiss, and whine, Across that hell, like flying snakes
Envenomed and malign.
Deep in the dreadful din and strife,
In fitful, hazy gleams, A well-beloved hope and guide,
The battle banner streams; As in the sea-storm mounts and falls
The ship that rides the waves, So lifts and dips the battle flag
Where war's red tempest raves.
Now here before a galling gust, One brave battalion reels,