THE GENERAL'S DEATH by Joseph O'Connor

The general dashed along the road Amid the pelting rain; How joyously his bold face glowed To hear our cheer's refrain! His blue blouse flapped in wind and wet, His boots were splashed with mire, But round his lips a smile was set, And in his eyes a fire. A laughing word, a gesture kind,-- We did not ask for more, With thirty weary miles behind, A weary fight before. The gun grew light to every man, The crossed belts ceased their stress, As onward to the column's van We watched our leader press. Within an hour we saw him lie, A bullet in his brain, His manly face turned to the sky, And beaten by the rain.