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| Home | Reading Room The New McGuffey Fourth Reader

The New McGuffey Fourth Reader
by William H. McGuffey, Compiler

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By Ellen H. Flagg

Two soldiers, lying where they fell

Upon the reddened clay,--

In daytime foes; at night, in peace,

Breathing their lives away.

Brave hearts had stirred each manly breast;

Fate only made them foes;

And lying, dying, side by side,

A softened feeling rose.

"Our time is short," one faint voice said:

"To-day we've done our best

On different sides. What matters now?

To-morrow we're at rest.

Life lies behind. I might not care

For only my own sake;

But far away are other hearts

That this day's work will break.

"Among New Hampshire's snowy hills

There pray for me to-night

A woman, and a little girl

With hair like golden light."

And at the thought broke forth, at last,

The cry of anguish wild,

That would no longer be repressed,--

"O God! my wife and child!"

"And," said the other dying man,

"Across the Georgia plain

There watch and wait for me loved ones

I'll never see again.

A little girl with dark bright eyes

Each day waits at the door;

The father's step, the father's kiss,

Will never meet her more.

"To-day we sought each other's lives;

Death levels all that now,

For soon before God's mercy seat

Together shall we bow.

Forgive each other while we may;

Life's but a weary game,

And, right or wrong, the morning sun

Will find us dead the same."

And the little girl with golden hair,

And one with dark eyes bright,

On Hampshire's hills and Georgia's plain,

Were fatherless that night.


Anguish, great sorrow or distress.

Sought, looked for, tried to destroy.

Levels, makes all equal or of the same height.

Repressed, held back, restrained.

Foes, enemies.

Fatherless, without a living father.


In what war did the incident here narrated occur?

Where is New Hampshire?

Where is Georgia?

Where did this battle probably take place?

What is meant by "hair like golden light"?



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