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When the Boys Come Home

John Hay 1838 (Salem, Indiana) – 1905 ( Newbury, New Hampshire)

There's a happy time coming,
When the boys come home.
There's a glorious day coming,
When the boys come home.
We will end the dreadful story
Of this treason dark and gory
In a sunburst of glory,
When the boys come home.

The day will seem brighter
When the boys come home,
For our hearts will be lighter
When the boys come home.
Wives and sweethearts will press them
In their arms and caress them,
And pray God to bless them,
When the boys come home.

The thinned ranks will be proudest
When the boys come home,
And their cheer will ring the loudest
When the boys come home.
The full ranks will be shattered,
And the bright arms will be battered,
And the battle-standards tattered,
When the boys come home.

Their bayonets may be rusty,
When the boys come home,
And their uniforms dusty,
When the boys come home.
But all shall see the traces
Of battle's royal graces,
In the brown and bearded faces,
When the boys come home.

Our love shall go to meet them,
When the boys come home,
To bless them and to greet them,
When the boys come home;
And the fame of their endeavor
Time and change shall not dissever
From the nation's heart forever,
When the boys come home.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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John Hay

John Milton Hay (October 8, 1838 – July 1, 1905) was an American statesman and official whose career in government stretched over almost half a century. Beginning as a private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln, Hay's highest office was United States Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Hay was also an author and biographer, and wrote poetry and other literature throughout much of his life. Born in Indiana to an anti-slavery family that moved to Illinois when he was young, Hay showed great potential, and his family sent him to Brown University. After graduation in 1858, Hay read law in his uncle's office in Springfield, Illinois, adjacent to that of Lincoln. Hay worked for Lincoln's successful presidential campaign and became one of his private secretaries at the White House. Throughout the American Civil War, Hay was close to Lincoln and stood by his deathbed after the President was shot at Ford's Theatre. In addition to his other literary works, Hay co-authored with John George Nicolay a multi-volume biography of Lincoln that helped shape the assassinated president's historical image. After Lincoln's death, Hay spent several years at diplomatic posts in Europe, then worked for the New-York Tribune under Horace Greeley and Whitelaw Reid. Hay remained active in politics, and from 1879 to 1881 served as Assistant Secretary of State. Afterward, he remained in the private sector, until President McKinley, for whom he had been a major backer, made him Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1897. Hay became Secretary of State the following year. Hay served for almost seven years as Secretary of State, under President McKinley, and after McKinley's assassination, under Theodore Roosevelt. Hay was responsible for negotiating the Open Door Policy, which kept China open to trade with all countries on an equal basis, with international powers. By negotiating the Hay–Pauncefote Treaty with the United Kingdom, the (ultimately unratified) Hay–Herrán Treaty with Colombia, and finally the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty with the newly independent Republic of Panama, Hay also cleared the way for the building of the Panama Canal.  more…

All John Hay poems | John Hay Books

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    "When the Boys Come Home" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 19 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/43126/when-the-boys-come-home>.

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