by Charles Dawson Shanly
"RIFLEMAN, shoot me a fancy shot
Straight at the heart of yon prowling vidette;
Ring me a ball in the glittering spot
That shines on his breast like an amulet!"
"Ah, Captain! here goes for a fine-drawn bead;
There 's music around when my barrel 's in tune!"
Crack! went the rifle, the messenger sped,
And dead from his horse fell the ringing dragoon.
"Now, Rifleman, steal through the bushes and snatch
From your victim some trinket to hansel first blood
A button, a loop, or that luminous patch
That gleams in the moon like a diamond stud."
"Oh, Captain! I staggered, and sunk on my track,
When I gazed on the face of that fallen vidette;
For he looked so like you as he lay on his back
That my heart rose upon me, and masters me yet.
"But I snatched off the trinket—this locket of gold;
An inch from the centre my lead broke its way,
Scarce grazing the picture, so fair to behold,
Of a beautiful lady in bridal array."
"Ha! Rifleman, fling me the locket—'t is she,
My brother's young bride, and the fallen dragoon
Was her husband—Hush! soldier, 't was Heaven's decree;
We must bury him here, by the light of the moon!
"But, hark! the far bugles their warnings unite;
War is a virtue—weakness a sin;
There 's lurking and loping around us to-night;
Load again, Rifleman, keep your hand in!"
Last updated September 16, 2011