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Margaret Junkin Preston (Маргарет Джанкин Престон)

Only a Private

Only a private — and who will care
   When I may pass away,
Or how, or why I perish, or where
   I mix with the common clay?
They will fill my empty place again
   With another as bold and brave;
And they'll blot me out ere the autumn rain
   Has freshened my nameless grave.
Only a private — it matters not
   That I did my duty well,
That all through a score of battles I fought,
   And then, like a soldier, I fell.
The country I died for will never heed
   My unrequited claim;
And History cannot record the deed,
   For she never has heard my name.
Only a private — and yet I know
   When I heard the rallying-call
I was one of the very first to go,
   And . . . I'm one of the many who fall:
But as here I lie, it is sweet to feel
   That my honor's without a stain, —
That I only fought for my country's weal,
   And not for glory or gain.
Only a private — yet He who reads
   Through the guises of the heart,
Looks not at the splendor of the deeds,
   But the way we do our part;
And when He shall take us by the hand,
   And our small service own,
There'll a glorious band of privates stand
   As victors around the throne!

Margaret Junkin Preston's other poems:
  1. Gone Forward
  2. Acceptation
  3. Hymn to the National Flag
  4. The Shade of the Trees
  5. A November Nocturne

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