Dora Sigerson Shorter

(1866-1918 / Ireland)

The Young Volunteer - Poem by Dora Sigerson Shorter

With a knock upon the window comes the young volunteer,
'Tis his step upon the threshold; 'what is it brings you here?'
'Oh, will you up and follow, swift as the homing swallow,
By mountain hill and hollow?' said the young volunteer.
Said the brave volunteer, said the loved volunteer,
'Oh, will you up and follow with the true volunteer?'
Oh, I will not rise and follow with the young volunteer,
With my pockets full of money and my house so full of cheer.
Why should I go a tramping, with cold and windy camping,

On all my pleasures stamping with the young volunteer?
With this wild volunteer, with this strange volunteer,
Why should I go a tramping with this young volunteer?
With a knock upon your window comes the young volunteer,
'Tis his step upon the threshold, what is it brings him here?
'Oh, rise and march together, in shine or stormy weather,
With hopes you cannot tether,' said the young volunteer.
Said the brave volunteer, said the loved volunteer,
'Will you up and march together?' said the true volunteer.

Yea, I will rise and follow with the young volunteer,
And open is my doorway, oh, welcome is he here.
Yea, I will go a drilling, how gladly and how willing,
With all my pulses thrilling, for the young volunteer,
With the brave volunteer, with the loved volunteer,
Oh, gladly go a drilling with the true volunteer.
Oh, fool, to rise and follow with the young volunteer,
Content we were and happy till he came calling here.
Thus all our prospects blighting, what is the use of fighting?
We go with foe uniting, not with this volunteer,

Oh, this false volunteer, oh, this mad volunteer,
All our placid progress blighting comes this wild volunteer.
Oh, since you will not follow with this young volunteer,
To fight for home and freedom, what are you doing here?
Why were you still delaying, thus your motherland betraying,
While he rose her voice obeying did the young volunteer,
Did the true volunteer, did the loved volunteer,
While you were still delaying died the brave volunteer.
'Tis a ghost and but the shadow of a young volunteer,
He is dead and stilly sleeping, what should be haunting here?

'Tis but the storm winds flutter old dreams you dare not utter
And false the hopes they mutter, and pale the volunteer,
'Tis a dream volunteer, yea, a dead volunteer,
Old leaves that fly and flutter round a dead volunteer.
Oh, be he ghost or shadow of a lost volunteer,
Though sad this heart and grieving, still welcome is he here,
The greater his recruiting, who fell from cowardly shooting,
I stand to him saluting, oh, my brave volunteer.
Oh, the dear volunteer, oh, this true volunteer,
All the greater the recruiting of this dead volunteer.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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