The little toy-soldier neglected lay,
Although it was bright and new,
For the father-soldier came that day
Back from the ranks of blue;
Back from the banks of the Rapidan
And from Richmond’s gates afar,
Back to the homestead fields again
And home from the fields of war.

He had marched away with the drum and fife
To make his country free;
He had left his arm where he risked his life—
In front of the guns of Lee.
Ah! little could know the baby brain
Or the baby heart conceive
Of the battle-shock or the prison-pain,
Or the weight of the empty sleeve.

But keen were the eyes of the baby boy
As with honest gaze and true
He looked with awe from the soldier-toy
To the soldier-man in blue.
And drawing nearer—he meant no harm—
But it hurt—as he peered to see
What had become of the good right arm
That was slain by the guns of Lee.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Turning gray is the soldier's hair.
His years are few to grieve
At hearts so cold that they do not care
For the ache in an empty sleeve.
His eyes are turned to the stars on high,
Those stars he loved to see
On his countrys flag, when he dared to die
In front of the guns of Lee.


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