THE LONE SENTRY by James Ryder Randall

'Twas in the dying of the day The darkness grew so still, The drowsy pipe of evening birds Was hushed upon the hill; Athwart the shadows of the vale Slumbered the men of might, And one lone sentry paced his rounds, To watch the camp that night. A grave and solemn man was he, With deep and sombre brow, The dreamful eyes seemed hoarding up Some unaccomplished vow. The wistful glance peered o'er the plains Beneath the starry light, And with the murmured name of God He watched the camp that night. The future opened unto him Its grand and awful scroll -- Manassas and the Valley march Came heaving o'er his soul; Richmond and Sharpsburg thundered by, With that tremendous fight Which gave him to the angel hosts Who watched the camp that night. We mourn for him who died for us With one resistless moan, While in the Valley of the Lord He marches to the throne. He kept the faith of men and saints, Sublime and pure and bright; He sleeps -- and all is well with him Who watched the camp that night. Brothers! the midnight of the cause Is shrouded in our fate, The demon Goths pollute our halls With fire and lust and hate. Be strong, be valiant, be assured -- Strike home for Heaven and Right! The soul of Jackson stalks abroad And guards the camp to-night.

"Stonewall" Jackson

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Last modified 16-April-2001