The Man In Gray.

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

I.

Again, in dreams, the veteran hears
The bugle and the drum;
Again the boom of battle nears,
Again the bullets hum:
Again he mounts, again he cheers,
Again his charge speeds home
O memories of those long gone years!
O years that are to come!

We live in dreams as well as deeds, in thoughts as well as acts;
And life through things we feel, not know, is realized the most;
The conquered are the conquerors, despite the face of facts,
If they still feel their cause was just who fought for it and lost.

II.

Again, in thought, he hears at dawn
The far reveille die;
Again he marches stern and wan
Beneath a burning sky:
He bivouacs; the night comes on;
His comrades 'round him lie
O memories of the years long gone!
O years that now go by!

The vintager of Earth is War, is War whose grapes are men;
Into his wine-vats armies go, his wine-vats steaming red:
The crimson vats of battle where he stalks, as in a den,
Drunk with the must of Hell that spurts beneath his iron tread.

III.

Again, in mind, he's lying where
The trenches slay with heat;
Again his flag floats o'er him, fair
In charge or fierce retreat:
Again all's lost; again despair
Makes death seem three times sweet
O years of tears that crowned his hair
With laurels of defeat!

There is reward for those who dare, for those who dare and do;
Who face the dark inevitable, who fall and know no shame:
Upon their banner triumph sits and in the horn they blew,
Naught's lost if honor be not lost, defeat is but a name.

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