ONE DAY'S COMMAND Author Unknown

The plumed staff officer gallops Along the swaying line, That shakes as, beaten by hailstones, Shakes the loaded autumn vine; And the earth beneath is reddened, But not with the stain of wine. The regular shock of a battery The rattling tumult stuns; And its steady thrill through the hill-side Like a pulse beneath it runs; The many are dead around it, But the few still work the guns. "Who commands this battery?" And Crosby his clear, young eyes From the sliding gun-sights lifting As the well-aimed death-bolt flies, "I command it today, Sir!" With a steady voice replies. Answers as heroes answer, With modest words and few, Whose hearts and hands to duty Even in death are true, Though its awful light is breaking Full on their blenchless view. The officer passes onward With a less troubled eye, The words and the look unshaken Bid every wild doubt fly; He knows that the young commander Is there to do or die. To do *and* die; for the battle And day of command are done, While stands unmoved on the hill-side Each shattered, blackened gun, And Crosby in death beside them A deathless name has won.