By-and-bye

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"By-and-bye," the maiden sighed--"by-and-bye
He will claim me for his bride,
Hope is strong and time is fleet;
Youth is fair, and love is sweet,
Clouds will pass that fleck my sky,
He will come back by-and-bye--by-and-bye."

"By-and-bye," the soldier said--"by-and-bye,
After I have fought and bled,
I shall go home from the wars,
Crowned with glory, seamed with scars.
Joy will flash from some one's eye
When she greets me by-and-bye--by-and-bye."

"By-and-bye," the mother cried--"by-and-bye,
Strong and sturdy at my side,
Like a staff supporting me,
Will my bonnie baby be.
Break my rest, then, wail and cry -
Thou'lt repay me by-and-bye--by-and-bye."

Fleeting years of time have sped--hurried by -
Still the maiden is unwed:
All unknown the soldier lies,
Buried under alien skies;
And the son, with blood-shot eye,
Saw his mother starve and die.
God in Heaven! dost Thou on high,
Keep the promised "by-and-bye"--by-and-bye?

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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