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SONGS OF WAR AND PEACE 163
A moment stunned and staggering—
The color-sergeant kneels With them who are his banner's guard,
But rising from the blow, To front he speeds, and lo! the line
Bends forward like a bow.
A faint and feeble tenor shout
Becomes a deep bass roar, And on the tumbling column sweeps
As breakers strike the shore; It batters 'gainst the line of works,
Then dashes full amain, High over wall and ditch, and floods
An open field again.
The pressing line, with vantage flushed,
Crowds grimly on the foe, That, stubborn, yields no inch not fought,
But deals his blow for blow, Till from a raking enfilade,
Of shrapnel, shell and shot, The bleeding remnant quits the field
That pluck from valor got.
The powder-clouds and sulph'rous stench
Uplift and blow away, And side by side, in soldier sleep—