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Served me so often to defend my course?
As chaff is scattered by a gust of wind,
So lightly have my schemes been blown away;
As April snows melt in the vernal sun,
So has the ice-crust o'er my innate feelings
Been loosened by the warmth of genuine manhood
When that confronted me, when I beheld,
How all we value most, gain, pleasure, life,
How all we shun the most, loss, pain and death,
Forfeit their meaning, lose their moving power
In sight of greater aims and real truth,—
Ah, then! I stood dismantled and unmasked,
Gazed deep into my bosom's void, and saw
All gone, all gone I hitherto had cherished.
But also then I took the stout resolve.
What little span of life is left to me,
This to employ, to store my bosom's shrine
With better treasures. But what now to do?
So feeling, so repenting in my heart,
Can I continue in the vassalage
Of tyranny and bloodshed and injustice?
That were no penance, that were mockery.
Or else shall I return, and go to join
My gallant brethren in the Alamo,
To fight, to die with them? That were desertion
And breach of oath, another dastard crime.
It cannot be, the more as I should leave
My daughter Elsie in the enemy's hand,