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How Solemn, as One by One


HOW solemn, as one by one, As the ranks returning, all worn and sweaty—as the men  
 file by where I stand;
As the faces, the masks appear—as I glance at the faces,  
 studying the masks;
(As I glance upward out of this page, studying you, dear  
 friend, whoever you are;)
How solemn the thought of my whispering soul, to each in  
 the ranks, and to you;
I see behind each mask, that wonder, a kindred soul: O the bullet could never kill what you really are, dear  
Nor the bayonet stab what you really are:  
 …The soul! yourself I see, great as any, good as the best,
Waiting secure and content, which the bullet could never  
Nor the bayonet stab, O friend!
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