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A Child's Question by Horatio Alger, Jr.

Author: Alger, Horatio, 1832-1899.
Title: A Child's Question.
In: Harper's weekly, v.7, no.343 (July 25, 1863)
Published: New York : Harper & Brothers, 1863.
Format: p. 474 ; 40 cm.
Other Name: Miller, Paul.
Horatio Alger Collection.
Other Title: Harper's Weekly.
Notes: Poem.
Location: PS 1029 .A3 C47 1863a (Special Collections)
Optically scanned and encoded by Mark A. Williams
Horatio Alger Digital Serials Project, Northern llinois University Libraries
DeKalb, IL

LOUD ring the bells from many a tower;

The year is eighty-three;
A father by the window sits

  With a child upon his knee,
And hears the gladsome notes proclaim
  The birthday of the free.

The banner which our fathers loved,
  And which their sons shall prize,
With not a single star effaced,
  Floats proudly to the skies—
The emblem of a nation's strength
  No foeman dare despise.

"Dear father," now with earnest voice
  Outspeaks the eager son,
"My teacher told me yesterday
  What glorious deeds were done
In the war that burst upon the land
  In eighteen sixty-one."

"She told me with what patient hearts
  Our noble soldiers bore
The toilsome march, the frugal fare,
  The hardships of the war;
The greatest—so my teacher says—
  That History ever saw."

"I wish I had been living then,
  I'd be a soldier too,
And help defend the noble flag
  From all the rebel crew:
I'd beashamed to stay behind;
  Dear father, wouldn't you?"

Upon the listening father's face
  A painful flush there came;
The patriot-soldier's meed of praise
  He could in nowise claim,
And the question of his little son
  Smote him with sudden shame.

Young men, your country calls to-day
  For loyal men and true;
She has enough of earnest work
  For earnest men to do.
Give heed, lest in the coming days
  Your children blush for you.