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Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.

134. I saw Old General at Bay

I SAW old General at bay;

(Old as he was, his grey eyes yet shone out in battle like stars;)

His small force was now completely hemm’d in, in his works;

He call’d for volunteers to run the enemy’s lines—a desperate emergency;

I saw a hundred and more step forth from the ranks—but two or three were selected;

I saw them receive their orders aside—they listen’d with care—the adjutant was very grave;

I saw them depart with cheerfulness, freely risking their lives.