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Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Birds of Passage


"A soldier of the Union mustered out,"
  Is the inscription on an unknown grave
  At Newport News, beside the salt-sea wave,
  Nameless and dateless; sentinel or scout
Shot down in skirmish, or disastrous rout
  Of battle, when the loud artillery drave
  Its iron wedges through the ranks of brave
  And doomed battalions, storming the redoubt.
Thou unknown hero sleeping by the sea
  In thy forgotten grave! with secret shame
  I feel my pulses beat, my forehead burn,
When I remember thou hast given for me
  All that thou hadst, thy life, thy very name,
  And I can give thee nothing in return.