VIGIL strange I kept on the field one night:
  When you, my son and my comrade, dropt at my side that day,
  One look I but gave, which your dear eyes return’d, with a look I
        shall never forget;
  One touch of your hand to mine, O boy, reach’d up as you lay on the
  Then onward I sped in the battle, the even-contested battle;
  Till late in the night reliev’d, to the place at last again I made my
  Found you in death so cold, dear comrade—found your body, son of
        responding kisses, (never again on earth responding;)
  Bared your face in the starlight—curious the scene—cool blew the
        moderate night-wind;
  Long there and then in vigil I stood, dimly around me the battlefield
  Vigil wondrous and vigil sweet, there in the fragrant silent
        night;                                                       10
  But not a tear fell, not even a long-drawn sigh—Long, long I gazed;
  Then on the earth partially reclining, sat by your side, leaning my
        chin in my hands;
  Passing sweet hours, immortal and mystic hours with you, dearest
        comrade—Not a tear, not a word;
  Vigil of silence, love and death—vigil for you my son and my
  As onward silently stars aloft, eastward new ones upward stole;
  Vigil final for you, brave boy, (I could not save you, swift was your
  I faithfully loved you and cared for you living—I think we shall
        surely meet again;)
  Till at latest lingering of the night, indeed just as the dawn
  My comrade I wrapt in his blanket, envelop’d well his form,
  Folded the blanket well, tucking it carefully over head, and
        carefully under feet;                                        20
  And there and then, and bathed by the rising sun, my son in his
        grave, in his rude-dug grave I deposited;
  Ending my vigil strange with that—vigil of night and battlefield
  Vigil for boy of responding kisses, (never again on earth
  Vigil for comrade swiftly slain—vigil I never forget, how as day
  I rose from the chill ground, and folded my soldier well in his
  And buried him where he fell.

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