All the uniforms were blue, all the swords were bright and new,
    When the regiment went marching down the street,
All the men were hale and strong as they proudly moved along,
    Through the cheers that drowned the music of their feet.
Oh, the music of the feet keeping time to drums that beat,
    Oh, the splendor and the glitter of the sight,
As with swords and rifles new and in uniforms of blue,
    The regiment went marching to the fight.

When the regiment came back all the guns and swords were black
    And the uniforms had faded out to gray,
And the faces of the men who marched through that street again
    Seemed like faces of the dead who lose their way.
For the dead who lose their way can not look more wan and gray.
    Oh, the sorrow and the pity of the sight,
Oh, the weary lagging feet out of step with drums that beat,
    As the regiment comes marching from the fight.

Poems of Power by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago : W. B. Conkey, 1902.

Back to Poem Index