James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

The Boy Patriot - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

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I want to be a Soldier!--
A Soldier!--
A Soldier!--
I want to be a Soldier, with a sabre in my hand
Or a little carbine rifle, or a musket on my shoulder,
Or just a snare-drum, snarling in the middle of the band;
I want to hear, high overhead, The Old Flag flap her wings
While all the Army, following, in chorus cheers and sings;
I want to hear the tramp and jar
Of patriots a million,
As gayly dancing off to war
As dancing a cotillion.

_I want to be a Soldier!_--
_A Soldier!_--
_A Soldier!_--
_I want to be a Soldier, with a sabre in my hand_
_Or a little carbine rifle, or a musket on my shoulder_,
_Or just a snare-drum, snarling in the middle of the band_.

I want to see the battle!--
The battle!--
The battle!--
I want to see the battle, and be in it to the end;--
I want to hear the cannon clear their throats and catch the prattle
Of all the pretty compliments the enemy can send!--
And then I know my wits will go,--and where I _should'nt_ be--
Well, there's the spot, in any fight, that you may search for me.
So, when our foes have had their fill,
Though I'm among the dying,
To see The Old Flag flying still,
I'll laugh to leave her flying!

_I want to be a Soldier!_--
_A Soldier!_--
_A Soldier!_--
_I want to be a Soldier, with a sabre in my hand_
_Or a little carbine rifle, or a musket on my shoulder_,
_Or just a snare-drum, snarling in the middle of the band_.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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