THE RIVERSIDE LITERATURE SERIES
A TREASURY OF WAR POETRY
BRITISH AND AMERICAN POEMS OF THE WORLD WAR 1914-1917
Edited, With Introduction And Notes, By GEORGE HERBERT CLARKE Professor of English in the University of Tennessee
RUDYARD KIPLING: The Choice
HENRY VAN DYKE: "Liberty Enlightening the World"
ROBERT BRIDGES: To the United States of America
VACHEL LINDSAY: Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight
JEANNE ROBERT FOSTER: The "William P. Frye"
II. ENGLAND AND AMERICA
FLORENCE T. HOLT: England and America
LIEUTENANT CHARLES LANGBRIDGE MORGAN: To America
HELEN GRAY CONE: A Chant of Love for England
HARDWICKE DRUMMOND RAWNSLEY: At St. Paul's: April 20, 1917
ROWLAND THIRLMERE: Jimmy Doane
ALFRED NOYES: Princeton, May, 1917
SIR HENRY NEWBOLT: The Vigil
RUDYARD KIPLING: "For All we Have and Are"
JOHN GALSWORTHY: England to Free Men
SIR OWEN SEAMAN: Pro Patria
GEORGE HERBERT CLARKE: Lines Written in Surrey, 1917
CECIL CHESTERTON: France
HENRY VAN DYKE: The Name of France
CHARLOTTE HOLMES CRAWFORD: Vive la France!
THEODOSIA GARRISON: The Soul of Jeanne d'Arc
EDGAR LEE MASTERS: O Glorious France
HERBERT JONES: To France
FLORENCE EARLE COATES: Place de la Concorde
CANON AND MAJOR FREDERICK GEORGE SCOTT: To France
GRACE ELLERY CHANNING: Qui Vive?
LAURENCE BINYON: To the Belgians
EDITH WHARTON: Belgium
EDEN PHILLPOTTS: To Belgium
SIR OWEN SEAMAN: To Belgium in Exile
GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON: The Wife of Flanders
VI. RUSSIA AND AMERICA
JOHN GALSWORTHY: Russia—America
ROBERT UNDERWOOD JOHNSON: To Russia New and Free
CLINTON SCOLLARD: Italy in Arms
GEORGE EDWARD WOODBERRY: On the Italian Front, MCMXVI
ARCHIBALD T. STRONG: Australia to England
MARJORIE L. C. PICKTHALL: Canada to England
WILFRED CAMPBELL: Langemarck at Ypres
WILL H. OGILVIE: Canadians
STEPHEN PHILLIPS: The Kaiser and Belgium
DANA BURNET: The Battle of Liege
LAURENCE BINYON: Men of Verdun
EDEN PHILLPOTTS: Verdun
PATRICK R. CHALMERS: Guns of Verdun
WINIFRED M. LETTS: The Spires of Oxford
W. SNOW: Oxford in War-Time
TERTIUS VAN DYKE: Oxford Revisited in War-Time
GEORGE EDWARD WOODBERRY: Sonnets Written in the Fall of 1914
SIR HENRY NEWBOLT: The War Films
ALFRED NOYES: The Searchlights
PERCY MACKAYE: Christmas: 1915
THOMAS HARDY: "Men who March Away"
JOHN DRINKWATER: We Willed it Not
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL SIR RONALD ROSS: The Death of Peace
FLORENCE EARLE COATES: In War-Time
LAURENCE BINYON: The Anvil
WALTER DE LA MARE: The Fool Rings his Bells
JOHN FINLEY: The Road to Dieppe
W. MACNEILE DIXON: To Fellow Travellers in Greece
AUSTIN DOBSON: "When there is Peace"
ALFRED NOYES: A Prayer in Time of War
THOMAS HARDY: Then and Now
BARRY PAIN: The Kaiser and God
ROBERT GRANT: The Superman
EVERARD OWEN: Three Hills
XIV. INCIDENTS AND ASPECTS
JOHN FREEMAN: The Return
GRACE FALLOW NORTON: The Mobilization in Brittany
SIR HENRY NEWBOLT: The Toy Band
SIR OWEN SEAMAN: Thomas of the Light Heart
MAURICE HEWLETT: In the Trenches
SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE: The Guards Came Through
WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS: The Passengers of a Retarded Submersible
LAURENCE BUTTON: Edith Cavell
HERBERT KAUFMAN: The Hell-Gate of Soissons
GEORGE HERBERT CLARKE: The Virgin of Albert
WILFRID WILSON GIBSON: Retreat
SIR HENRY NEWBOLT: A Letter from the Front
GRACE HAZARD CONKLING: Rheims Cathedral—1914
XV. POETS MILITANT
ALAN SEEGER: I Have a Rendezvous with Death
LIEUTENANT RUPERT BROOKE: The Soldier
CAPTAIN CHARLES HAMILTON SORLEY: Expectans Expectavi
LIEUTENANT HERBERT ASQUITH: The Volunteer
CAPTAIN JULIAN GRENFELL: Into Battle
JAMES NORMAN HALL: The Cricketers of Flanders
CAPTAIN CHARLES HAMILTON SORLEY: "All the Hills and Vales Along"
CAPTAIN JAMES H. KNIGHT-ADKIN: No Man's Land
ALAN SEEGER: Champagne, 1914-15
CAPTAIN GILBERT FRANKAU: Headquarters
LIEUTENANT E. WYNDHAM TENNANT: Home Thoughts from Laventie
LIEUTENANT ROBERT ERNEST VERNEDE: A Petition
ROBERT NICHOLS: Fulfilment
The Day's March
LIEUTENANT FREDERIC MANNING: The Sign
LIEUTENANT HENRY WILLIAM HUTCHINSON: Sonnets
CAPTAIN J. E. STEWART: The Messines Road
PRIVATE A. N. FIELD: The Challenge of the Guns
LIEUTENANT GEOFFREY HOWARD: The Beach Road by the Wood
SERGEANT JOSEPH LEE: German Prisoners
SERGEANT LESLIE COULSON: "—But a Short Time to Live"
LIEUTENANT W. N. HODGSON: Before Action
LIEUTENANT DYNELEY HUSSEY: Courage
LIEUTENANT A. VICTOR RATCLIFFE: Optimism
MAJOR SYDNEY OSWALD: The Battlefield
CAPTAIN JAMES H. KNIGHT-ADKIN: "On Les Aura!"
CORPORAL ALEXANDER ROBERTSON: To an Old Lady Seen at a Guest-House for Soldiers
LIEUTENANT GILBERT WATERHOUSE: The Casualty Clearing Station
LANCE-CORPORAL MALCOLM HEMPHREY: Hills of Home
JOHN FINLEY: The Red Cross Spirit Speaks
WINIFRED M. LETTS: Chaplain to the Forces
EDEN PHILLPOTTS: Song of the Red Cross
LAURENCE BINYON: The Healers
THOMAS L. MARSON: The Red Cross Nurses
XVII. KEEPING THE SEAS
ALFRED NOYES: Kilmeny
RUDYARD KIPLING: The Mine-Sweepers
HENRY VAN DYKE: Mare Liberum
LIEUTENANT PAUL BEWSHER: The Dawn Patrol
REGINALD MCINTOSH CLEVELAND: Destroyers off Jutland
C. FOX SMITH: British Merchant Service
XVIII. THE WOUNDED
WINIFRED M. LETTS: To a Soldier in Hospital
WILFRID WILSON GIBSON: Between the Lines
ROBERT HAVEN SCHAUFFLER: The White Comrade
ROBERT W. SERVICE: Fleurette
ROBERT FROST: Not to Keep
XIX. THE FALLEN
LIEUTENANT RUPERT BROOKE: The Dead
JOHN MASEFIELD: The Island of Skyros
LAURENCE BINYON: For the Fallen
CAPTAIN CHARLES HAMILTON SORLEY: Two Sonnets
WALTER DE LA MARE: "How Sleep the Brave!"
EDWARD VERRALL LUCAS: The Debt
CANON AND MAJOR FREDERICK GEORGE SCOTT: Requiescant
LIEUTENANT ROBERT ERNEST VERNEDE: To our Fallen
KATHARINE TYNAN: The Old Soldier
ROBERT BRIDGES: Lord Kitchener
JOHN HELSTON: Kitchener
LIEUTENANT HERBERT ASQUITH: The Fallen Subaltern
F. W. BOURDILLON: The Debt Unpayable
WILFRID WILSON GIBSON: The Messages
G. ROSTREVOR HAMILTON: A Cross in Flanders
HERMANN HAGEDORN: Resurrection
OSCAR C. A. CHILD: To a Hero
MORAY DALTON: Rupert Brooke (In Memoriam)
FRANCIS BICKLEY: The Players
CHARLES ALEXANDER RICHMOND: A Song
XX. WOMEN AND WAR
JOSEPHINE PRESTON PEABODY: Harvest Moon
JOSEPHINE PRESTON PEABODY: Harvest Moon: 1916
ADA TYRRELL: My Son
KATHARINE TYNAN: To the Others
GRACE FALLOW NORTON: The Journey
MARGARET PETERSON: A Mother's Dedication
EDEN PHILLPOTTS: To a Mother
SARA TEASDALE: Spring In War-Time
The Editor desires to express his cordial appreciation of the assistance rendered him in his undertaking by the officials of the British Museum (Mr. F.D. Sladen, in particular); Professor W. Macneile Dixon, of the University of Glasgow; Professor Kemp Smith, of Princeton University; Miss Esther C. Johnson, of Needham, Massachusetts; and Mr. Francis Bickley, of London. He wishes also to acknowledge the courtesies generously extended by the following authors, periodicals, and publishers in granting permission for the use of the poems indicated, rights in which are in each case reserved by the owner of the copyright:—
Mr. Francis Bickley and the Westminster Gazette:—"The Players."
Mr. F.W. Bourdillon and the Spectator:—"The Debt Unpayable."
Dr. Robert Bridges and the London Times:—"Lord Kitchener," and "To the United States of America."
Mr. Dana Burnet and the New York Evening Sun:—"The Battle of Liege."
Mr. Wilfred Campbell and the Ottawa Evening Journal:—"Langemarck at Ypres."
Mr. Patrick R. Chalmers and Punch:—"Guns of Verdun."
Mr. Cecil Chesterton and The New Witness:—"France."
Mr. Oscar C.A. Child and Harper's Magazine:—"To a Hero."
Mr. Reginald McIntosh Cleveland and the New York Times:—"Destroyers off Jutland."
Miss Charlotte Holmes Crawford and Scribner's Magazine:—"Vive la France!"
Mr. Moray Dalton and the Spectator:—"Rupert Brooke."
Lord Desborough and the London Times:—"Into Battle," by the late Captain Julian Grenfell.
Professor W. Macneile Dixon and the London Times:—"To Fellow Travellers in Greece,"
Mr. Austin, Dobson and the Spectator:—"'When There Is Peace;'"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the London Times:—"The Guards Came Through."
Mr. John Finley and the Atlantic Monthly:—"The Road to Dieppe"; Mr. Finley, the American Red Cross, and the Red Cross Magazine:—"The Red Cross Spirit Speaks."
Mr. John Freeman and the Westminster Gazette:—"The Return."
Mr. Robert Frost and the Yale Review:—"Not to Keep."
Mr. John Galsworthy and the Westminster Gazette:—"England to Free Men"; Mr. Galsworthy and the London Chronicle:—"Russia—America."
Mrs. Theodosia Garrison and Scribner's Magazine:—"The Soul of Jeanne d'Arc."
Lady Glenconner and the London Times:—"Home Thoughts from Laventie," by the late Lieutenant E. Wyndham Tennant.
Mr. Robert Grant and the Nation (New York):—"The Superman."
Mr. Hermann Hagedorn and the Century Magazine:—"Resurrection."
Mr. James Norman Hall and the Spectator:—"The Cricketers of Flanders."
Mr. Thomas Hardy and the London Times:—"Men Who March Away," and "Then and Now."
Mr. John Helston and the English Review:—"Kitchener."
Mr. Maurice Hewlett:—"In the Trenches," from Sing-Songs of the War (The Poetry Bookshop).
Dr. A. E. Hillard:—"The Dawn Patrol," by Lieutenant Paul Bewsher.
Mrs. Katharine Tynan Hinkson:—"To the Others" and "The Old Soldier."
Mrs. Florence T. Holt and the Atlantic Monthly:—"England and America."
Mr. William Dean Howells and the North American Review:—"The Passengers of a Retarded Submersible."
Lady Hutchinson:—"Sonnets," by the late Lieutenant Henry William Hutchinson.
Mr. Robert Underwood Johnson:—"To Russia New and Free," from Poems of War and Peace, published by the author.
Mr. Rudyard Kipling:—"The Choice"; "'For All we Have and Are'"; and "The Mine-Sweepers." (Copyright, 1914, 1915, 1917, by Rudyard Kipling.)
Captain James H. Knight-Adkin and the Spectator;—"No Man's Land" and "On Les Aura!"
Sergeant Joseph Lee and the Spectator:—"German Prisoners."
Mr. E. V. Lucas and the Sphere:—"The Debt."
Mr. Walter de la Mare and the London Times:—"'How Sleep the Brave!'"; Mr. de la Mare and the Westminster Gazette:—"The Fool Rings his Bells."
Mr. Edward Marsh, literary executor of the late Rupert Brooke:—"The Soldier" and "The Dead."
Mr. Thomas L. Masson:—"The Red Cross Nurses," from the Red Cross Magazine.
Lieutenant Charles Langbridge Morgan and the Westminster Gazette:—"To America."
Sir Henry Newbolt:—"The Vigil"; "The War Films"; "The Toy Band," and "A Letter from the Front."
Mr. Alfred Noyes:—"Princeton, May, 1917"; "The Searchlights" (London Times), "A Prayer in Time of War" (London Daily Mail), and "Kilmeny."
Mr. Will H. Ogilvie:—"Canadians."
Mr. Barry Pain and the London Times:—"The Kaiser and God."
Miss Marjorie Pickthall and the London Times:—"Canada to England."
Canon H.D. Dawnsley and the Westminster Gazette:—"At St. Paul's, April 20, 1917."
Dr. Charles Alexander Richmond:—"A Song."
Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Ronald Ross and the Poetry Review:—"The Death of Peace."
Mr. Robert Haven Schauffler:—"The White Comrade."
Mr. W. Snow and the Spectator:—"Oxford in War-Time."
Mrs. Grace Ellery Channing Stetson and the New York Tribune:—"Qui Vive?"
Mr. Rowland Thirlmere and the Poetry Review:—"Jimmy Doane."
Mrs. Ada Turrell and the Saturday Review:—"My Son."
Dr. Henry van Dyke and the London Times:—"Liberty Enlightening the World," and "Mare Liberum"; Dr. van Dyke and the Art World: "The Name of France."
Mr. Tertius van Dyke and the Spectator:—"Oxford Revisited in War-Time."
Mrs. Edith Wharton:—"Belgium," from King Albert's Book (Hearst's International Library Company).
Mr. George Edward Woodberry and the Boston Herald:—"On the Italian Front, MCMXVI"; Mr. Woodberry, the New York Times and the North American Review:—"Sonnets Written in the Fall of 1914."
The Athenaeum:—"A Cross in Flanders," by G. Rostrevor Hamilton.
The Poetry Review:—"The Messines Road," by Captain J.E. Stewart; "— But a Short Time to Live," by the late Sergeant Leslie Coulson.
The Spectator:—"The Challenge of the Guns," by Private A.N. Field.
The London Times:—"To Our Fallen" and "A Petition," by the late Lieutenant Robert Ernest Vernede.
The Westminster Gazette:—"Lines Written in Surrey, 1917," by George Herbert Clarke.
Messrs. Barse & Hopkins:—"Fleurette," by Robert W. Service.
The Cambridge University Press and Professor William R. Sorley:— "Expectans Expectavi"; "'All the Hills and Vales Along,'" and "Two Sonnets," by the late Captain Charles Hamilton Sorley, from Marlborough and Other Poems.
Messrs. Chatto & Windus:—"Fulfilment" and "The Day's March," by Robert Nichols.
Messrs. Constable & Company:—"Pro Patria," "Thomas of the Light Heart," and "To Belgium in Exile," by Sir Owen Seaman, from War-Time; "To France" and "Requiescant," by Canon and Major Frederick George Scott, from In the Battle Silences.
Messrs. E. P. Dutton & Company:—"To a Soldier in Hospital" (the Spectator); "Chaplain to the Forces" and "The Spires of Oxford" (Westminster Gazette), by Winifred M. Letts, from Hallowe'en, and Poems of the War; "A Chant of Love for England," by Helen Gray Cone, from A Chant of Love for England, and Other Poems (published also by J.M. Dent & Sons, Limited, London).
Lawrence J. Gomme:—"Italy in Arms," by Clinton Scollard, from Italy in Arms, and Other Poems.
Messrs. Houghton Mifflin Company:—"To the Belgians"; "Men of Verdun"; "The Anvil"; "Edith Cavell"; "The Healers" and "For the Fallen," by Laurence Binyon, from The Cause (published also by Elkin Mathews, London, in The Anvil and The Winnowing Fan); "Headquarters," by Captain Gilbert Frankau, from A Song of the Guns; "Place de la Concorde" and "In War-Time," by Florence Earle Coates, from The Collected Poems of Florence Earle Coates; "Harvest Moon" and "Harvest Moon, 1915," by Josephine Preston Peabody, from Harvest Moon; "The Mobilization in Brittany" and "The Journey," by Grace Fallow Norton, from Roads, and "Rheims Cathedral—1914," by Grace Hazard Conkling, from Afternoons of April.
John Lane:—"The Kaiser and Belgium," by the late Stephen Phillips.
The John Lane Company:—"The Wife of Flanders," by Gilbert K. Chesterton, from Poems (published also by Messrs. Burns and Gates, London); "The Soldier," and "The Dead," by the late Lieutenant Rupert Brooke, from The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke (published also by Messrs. Sidgwick & Jackson, London, in 19l4, and Other Poems).
Erskine Macdonald:—The following poems from Soldier Poets:—"The Beach Road by the Wood," by Lieutenant Geoffrey Howard; "Before Action," by the late Lieutenant W.N. Hodgson ("Edward Melbourne"); "Courage," by Lieutenant Dyneley Hussey; "Optimism," by Lieutenant A. Victor Ratcliffe; "The Battlefield," by Major Sidney Oswald; "To an Old Lady Seen at a Guest-House for Soldiers," by Corporal Alexander Robertson; "The Casualty Clearing Station," by Lieutenant Gilbert Waterhouse; and "Hills of Home," by Lance-Corporal Malcolm Hemphrey.
The Macmillan Company:—"To Belgium"; "Verdun"; "To a Mother," and "Song of the Red Cross," by Eden Phillpotts, from Plain Song, 1914-1916 (published also by William Heinemann, London); "The Island of Skyros," by John Masefield; "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight," from The Congo and Other Poems, by Vachel Lindsay; "O Glorious France," by Edgar Lee Masters, from Songs and Satires; "Christmas, 1915," from Poems and Plays, by Percy MacKaye; "The Hellgate of Soissons," by Herbert Kaufman, from The Hellgate of Soissons; "Spring in War-Time," by Sara Teasdale, from Rivers to the Sea; and "Retreat," "The Messages," and "Between the Lines," by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson.
Messrs. Macmillan & Company:—"Australia to England," by Archibald T. Strong, from Sonnets of the Empire, and "Men Who March Away," by Thomas Hardy, from Satires of Circumstance.
Elkin Mathews:—"The British Merchant Service" (the Spectator), by C. Fox Smith, from The Naval Crown.
John Murray:—"The Sign," and "The Trenches," by Lieutenant Frederic Manning.
The Princeton University Press:—"To France," by Herbert Jones, from A Book of Princeton Verse.
Messrs. Charles Scribner's Sons:—"I Have a Rendezvous with Death," and "Champagne, 1914-1915," by the late Alan Seeger, from Poems.
Messrs. Sherman, French & Company:—"The William P. Frye" (New York Times), by Jeanne Robert Foster, from Wild Apples.
Messrs. Sidgwick & Jackson:—"We Willed It Not" (The Sphere), by John Drinkwater; "Three Hills" (London Times), by Everard Owen, from Three Hills, and Other Poems; "The Volunteer," and "The Fallen Subaltern," by Lieutenant Herbert Asquith, from The Volunteer, and Other Poems.
Messrs. Truslove and Hanson:—"A Mother's Dedication," by Margaret Peterson, from The Women's Message.
Because man is both militant and pacific, he has expressed in literature, as indeed in the other forms of art, his pacific and militant moods. Nor are these moods, of necessity, incompatible. War may become the price of peace, and peace may so decay as inevitably to bring about war. Of the dully unresponsive pacificist and the jingo patriot, quick to anger, the latter no doubt is the more dangerous to the cause of true freedom, yet both are "undesirable citizens." He who believes that peace is illusory and spurious, unless it be based upon justice and liberty, will be proud to battle, if battle he must, for the sake of those foundations.
For the most part, the poetry of war, undertaken in this spirit, has touched and exalted such special qualities as patriotism, courage, self- sacrifice, enterprise, and endurance. Where it has tended to glorify war in itself, it is chiefly because war has released those qualities, so to speak, in stirring and spectacular ways; and where it has chosen to round upon war and to upbraid it, it is because war has slain ardent and lovable youths and has brought misery and despair to women and old people. But the war poet has left the mere arguments to others. For himself, he has seen and felt. Envisaging war from various angles, now romantically, now realistically, now as the celebrating chronicler, now as the contemplative interpreter, but always in a spirit of catholic curiosity, he has sung, the fall of Troy, the Roman adventures, the mediaeval battles and crusades, the fields of Agincourt and Waterloo, and the more modern revolutions. Since Homer, he has spoken with martial eloquence through, the voices of Drayton, Spenser, Marlowe, Webster, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Scott, Burns, Campbell, Tennyson, Browning, the New England group, and Walt Whitman,—to mention only a few of the British and American names,—and he speaks sincerely and powerfully to-day in the writings of Kipling. Hardy, Masefield, Binyon, Newbolt, Watson, Rupert Brooke, and the two young soldiers—the one English, the other American—who have lately lost their lives while on active service: Captain Charles Hamilton Sorley, who was killed at Hulluch, October 18, 1915; and Alan Seeger, who fell, mortally wounded, during the charge on Belloy-en-Santerre, July 4, 1916.
There can be little doubt that these several minds and spirits, stirred by the passion and energy of war, and reacting sensitively both to its cruelties and to its pities, have experienced the kinship of quickened insight and finer unselfishness in the face of wide-ranging death. They have silently compared, perhaps, the normal materialistic conventions in business, politics, education, and religion, with the relief from those conventions that nearly all soldiers and many civilians experience in time of war; for although war has its too gross and ugly side, it has not dared to learn that inflexibility of custom and conduct that deadens the spirit into a tame submission. This strange rebound and exaltation would seem to be due less to the physical realities of war—which must in many ways cramp and constrain the individual—than to the relative spiritual freedom engendered by the needs of war, if they are to be successfully met. The man of war has an altogether unusual opportunity to realize himself, to cleanse and heal himself through the mastering of his physical fears; through the facing of his moral doubts; through the reexamination of whatever thoughts he may have possessed, theretofore, about life and death and the universe; and through the quietly unselfish devotion he owes to the welfare of his fellows and to the cause of his native land.
Into the stuff of his thought and utterance, whether he be on active service or not, the poet-interpreter of war weaves these intentions, and cooeperates with his fellows in building up a little higher and better, from time to time, that edifice of truth for whose completion can be spared no human experience, no human hope.
As already suggested, English and American literatures have both received genuine accessions, even thus early, arising out of the present great conflict, and we may be sure that other equally notable contributions will be made. The present Anthology contains a number of representative poems produced by English-speaking men and women. The editorial policy has been humanly hospitable, rather than academically critical, especially in the case of some of the verses written by soldiers at the Front, which, however slight in certain instances their technical merit may be, are yet psychologically interesting as sincere transcripts of personal experience, and will, it is thought, for that very reason, peculiarly attract and interest the reader. It goes without saying that there are several poems in this group which conspicuously succeed also as works of art. For the rest, the attempt has been made, within such limitations as have been experienced, to present pretty freely the best of what has been found available in contemporary British and American war verse. It must speak for itself, and the reader will find that in not a few instances it does so with sensitive sympathy and with living power; sometimes, too, with that quietly intimate companionableness which we find in Gray's Elegy, and which John Masefield, while lecturing in America in 1916, so often indicated as a prime quality in English poetry. But if this quality appears in Chaucer and the pre-Romantics and Wordsworth, it appears also in Longfellow and Lowell, in Emerson and Lanier, and in William Vaughn Moody; for American poetry is, after all, as English poetry,—"with a difference,"—sprung from the same sources, and coursing along similar channels.
The new fellowship of the two great Anglo-Saxon nations which a book of this character may, to a degree, illustrate, is filled with such high promise for both of them, and for all civilization, that it is perhaps hardly too much to say, with Ambassador Walter H. Page, in his address at the Pilgrims' Dinner in London, April 12, 1917: "We shall get out of this association an indissoluble companionship, and we shall henceforth have indissoluble mutual duties for mankind. I doubt if there could be another international event comparable in large value and in long consequences to this closer association." Mr. Balfour struck the same note when, during his mission to the United States, he expressed himself in these words: "That this great people should throw themselves whole- heartedly into this mighty struggle, prepared for all efforts and sacrifices that may be required to win success for this most righteous cause, is an event at once so happy and so momentous that only the historian of the future will be able, as I believe, to measure its true proportions."
The words of these eminent men ratify in the field of international politics the hopeful anticipation which Tennyson expressed in his poem, Hands all Round, as it appeared in the London Examiner, February 7, 1852:—
"Gigantic daughter of the West, We drink to thee across the flood, We know thee most, we love thee best, For art thou not of British blood? Should war's mad blast again be blown, Permit not thou the tyrant powers To fight thy mother here alone, But let thy broadsides roar with ours. Hands all round! God the tyrant's cause confound! To our great kinsmen of the West, my friends, And the great name of England, round and round.
"O rise, our strong Atlantic sons, When war against our freedom springs! O speak to Europe through your guns! They can be understood by kings. You must not mix our Queen with those That wish to keep their people fools; Our freedom's foemen are her foes, She comprehends the race she rules. Hands all round! God the tyrant's cause confound! To our dear kinsmen of the West, my friends, And the great cause of Freedom, round and round."
They ratify also the spirit of those poems in the present volume which seek to interpret to Britons and Americans their deepening friendship. "Poets," said Shelley, "are the unacknowledged legislators of the world," and he meant by legislation the guidance and determination of the verdicts of the human soul.
G. H. C.
THE AMERICAN SPIRIT SPEAKS:
To the Judge of Right and Wrong With Whom fulfillment lies Our purpose and our power belong, Our faith and sacrifice.
Let Freedom's land rejoice! Our ancient bonds are riven; Once more to us the eternal choice Of good or ill is given.
Not at a little cost, Hardly by prayer or tears, Shall we recover the road we lost In the drugged and doubting years,
But after the fires and the wrath, But after searching and pain, His Mercy opens us a path To live with ourselves again.
In the Gates of Death rejoice! We see and hold the good— Bear witness, Earth, we have made our choice For Freedom's brotherhood.
Then praise the Lord Most High Whose Strength hath saved us whole, Who bade us choose that the Flesh should die And not the living Soul!
"LIBERTY ENLIGHTENING THE WORLD"
Thou warden of the western gate, above Manhattan Bay, The fogs of doubt that hid thy face are driven clean away: Thine eyes at last look far and clear, thou liftest high thy hand To spread the light of liberty world-wide for every land.
No more thou dreamest of a peace reserved alone for thee, While friends are fighting for thy cause beyond the guardian sea: The battle that they wage is thine; thou fallest if they fall; The swollen flood of Prussian pride will sweep unchecked o'er all.
O cruel is the conquer-lust in Hohenzollern brains: The paths they plot to gain their goal are dark with shameful stains: No faith they keep, no law revere, no god but naked Might;— They are the foemen of mankind. Up, Liberty, and smite!
Britain, and France, and Italy, and Russia newly born, Have waited for thee in the night. Oh, come as comes the morn. Serene and strong and full of faith, America, arise, With steady hope and mighty help to join thy brave Allies.
O dearest country of my heart, home of the high desire, Make clean thy soul for sacrifice on Freedom's altar-fire: For thou must suffer, thou must fight, until the warlords cease, And all the peoples lift their heads in liberty and peace.
Henry van Dyke
April 10, 1917
TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Brothers in blood! They who this wrong began To wreck our commonwealth, will rue the day When first they challenged freemen to the fray, And with the Briton dared the American. Now are we pledged to win the Rights of man; Labour and Justice now shall have their way, And in a League of Peace—God grant we may— Transform the earth, not patch up the old plan.
Sure is our hope since he who led your nation Spake for mankind, and ye arose in awe Of that high call to work the world's salvation; Clearing your minds of all estranging blindness In the vision of Beauty and the Spirit's law, Freedom and Honour and sweet Lovingkindness.
April 30, 1917
ABRAHAM LINCOLN WALKS AT MIDNIGHT
(IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS)
It is portentous, and a thing of state That here at midnight, in our little town, A mourning figure walks, and will not rest, Near the old court-house pacing up and down,
Or by his homestead, or in shadowed yards He lingers where his children used to play; Or through the market, on the well-worn stones He stalks until the dawn-stars burn away.
A bronzed, lank man! His suit of ancient black, A famous high top-hat and plain worn shawl Make him the quaint great figure that men love, The prairie-lawyer, master of us all.
He cannot sleep upon his hillside now. He is among us:—as in times before! And we who toss and lie awake for long Breathe deep, and start, to see him pass the door.
His head is bowed. He thinks on men and kings. Yea, when the sick world cries, how can he sleep? Too many peasants fight, they know not why, Too many homesteads in black terror weep.
The sins of all the war-lords burn his heart. He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main. He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now The bitterness, the folly, and the pain.
He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn Shall come;—the shining hope of Europe free: The league of sober folk, the Workers' Earth Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp, and Sea.
It breaks his heart that kings must murder still, That all his hours of travail here for men Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace That he may sleep upon his hill again?
THE "WILLIAM P. FRYE"
I saw her first abreast the Boston Light At anchor; she had just come in, turned head, And sent her hawsers creaking, clattering down. I was so near to where the hawse-pipes fed The cable out from her careening bow, I moved up on the swell, shut steam and lay Hove to in my old launch to look at her. She'd come in light, a-skimming up the Bay Like a white ghost with topsails bellying full; And all her noble lines from bow to stern Made music in the wind; it seemed she rode The morning air like those thin clouds that turn Into tall ships when sunrise lifts the clouds From calm sea-courses.
There, in smoke-smudged coats, Lay funnelled liners, dirty fishing-craft, Blunt cargo-luggers, tugs, and ferry-boats. Oh, it was good in that black-scuttled lot To see the Frye come lording on her way Like some old queen that we had half forgot Come to her own. A little up the Bay The Fort lay green, for it was springtime then; The wind was fresh, rich with the spicy bloom Of the New England coast that tardily Escapes, late April, from an icy tomb. The State-house glittered on old Beacon Hill, Gold in the sun.... 'T was all so fair awhile; But she was fairest—this great square-rigged ship That had blown in from some far happy isle On from the shores of the Hesperides.
They caught her in a South Atlantic road Becalmed, and found her hold brimmed up with wheat; "Wheat's contraband," they said, and blew her hull To pieces, murdered one of our staunch fleet, Fast dwindling, of the big old sailing ships That carry trade for us on the high sea And warped out of each harbor in the States. It wasn't law, so it seems strange to me— A big mistake. Her keel's struck bottom now And her four masts sunk fathoms, fathoms deep To Davy Jones. The dank seaweed will root On her oozed decks, and the cross-surges sweep Through the set sails; but never, never more Her crew will stand away to brace and trim, Nor sea-blown petrels meet her thrashing up To windward on the Gulf Stream's stormy rim; Never again she'll head a no'theast gale Or like a spirit loom up, sliding dumb, And ride in safe beyond the Boston Light, To make the harbor glad because she's come.
Jeanne Robert Foster
ENGLAND AND AMERICA
Mother and child! Though the dividing sea Shall roll its tide between us, we are one, Knit by immortal memories, and none But feels the throb of ancient fealty. A century has passed since at thy knee We learnt the speech of freemen, caught the fire That would not brook thy menaces, when sire And grandsire hurled injustice back to thee.
But the full years have wrought equality: The past outworn, shall not the future bring A deeper union, from whose life shall spring Mankind's best hope? In the dark night of strife Men perished for their dream of Liberty Whose lives were given for this larger life.
Florence T. Holt
When the fire sinks in the grate, and night has bent Close wings about the room, and winter stands Hard-eyed before the window, when the hands Have turned the book's last page and friends are sleeping, Thought, as it were an old stringed instrument Drawn to remembered music, oft does set The lips moving in prayer, for us fresh keeping Knowledge of springtime and the violet.
And, as the eyes grow dim with many years, The spirit runs more swiftly than the feet, Perceives its comfort, knows that it will meet God at the end of troubles, that the dreary Last reaches of old age lead beyond tears To happy youth unending. There is peace In homeward waters, where at last the weary Shall find rebirth, and their long struggle cease.
So, at this hour, when the Old World lies sick, Beyond the pain, the agony of breath Hard drawn, beyond the menaces of death, O'er graves and years leans out the eager spirit. First must the ancient die; then shall be quick New fires within us. Brother, we shall make Incredible discoveries and inherit The fruits of hope, and love shall be awake.
Charles Langbridge Morgan
A CHANT OF LOVE FOR ENGLAND
A song of hate is a song of Hell; Some there be that sing it well. Let them sing it loud and long, We lift our hearts in a loftier song: We lift our hearts to Heaven above, Singing the glory of her we love,— England!
Glory of thought and glory of deed, Glory of Hampden and Runnymede; Glory of ships that sought far goals, Glory of swords and glory of souls! Glory of songs mounting as birds, Glory immortal of magical words; Glory of Milton, glory of Nelson, Tragical glory of Gordon and Scott; Glory of Shelley, glory of Sidney, Glory transcendent that perishes not,— Hers is the story, hers be the glory, England!
Shatter her beauteous breast ye may; The spirit of England none can slay! Dash the bomb on the dome of Paul's— Deem ye the fame of the Admiral falls? Pry the stone from the chancel floor,— Dream ye that Shakespeare shall live no more? Where is the giant shot that kills Wordsworth walking the old green hills? Trample the red rose on the ground,— Keats is Beauty while earth spins round! Bind her, grind her, burn her with fire, Cast her ashes into the sea,— She shall escape, she shall aspire, She shall arise to make men free: She shall arise in a sacred scorn, Lighting the lives that are yet unborn; Spirit supernal, Splendour eternal, ENGLAND!
Helen Gray Cone
AT ST. PAUL'S
APRIL 20, 1917
Not since Wren's Dome has whispered with man's prayer Have angels leaned to wonder out of Heaven At such uprush of intercession given, Here where to-day one soul two nations share, And with accord send up thro' trembling air Their vows to strive as Honour ne'er has striven Till back to hell the Lords of hell are driven, And Life and Peace again shall flourish fair.
This is the day of conscience high-enthroned, The day when East is West and West is East To strike for human Love and Freedom's word Against foul wrong that cannot be atoned; To-day is hope of brotherhood's bond increased, And Christ, not Odin, is acclaimed the Lord.
Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley
Often I think of you, Jimmy Doane,— You who, light-heartedly, came to my house Three autumns, to shoot and to eat a grouse!
As I sat apart in this quiet room, My mind was full of the horror of war And not with the hope of a visitor.
I had dined on food that had lost its taste; My soul was cold and I wished you were here,— When, all in a moment, I knew you were near.
Placing that chair where you used to sit, I looked at my book:—Three years to-day Since you laughed in that seat and I heard you say—
"My country is with you, whatever befall: America—Britain—these two are akin In courage and honour; they underpin
"The rights of Mankind!" Then you grasped my hand With a brotherly grip, and you made me feel Something that Time would surely reveal.
You were comely and tall; you had corded arms, And sympathy's grace with your strength was blent; You were generous, clever, and confident.
There was that in your hopes which uncountable lives Have perished to make; your heart was fulfilled With the breath of God that can never be stilled.
A living symbol of power, you talked Of the work to do in the world to make Life beautiful: yes, and my heartstrings ache
To think how you, at the stroke of War, Chose that your steadfast soul should fly With the eagles of France as their proud ally.
You were America's self, dear lad— The first swift son of your bright, free land To heed the call of the Inner Command—
To image its spirit in such rare deeds As braced the valour of France, who knows That the heart of America thrills with her woes.
For a little leaven leavens the whole! Mostly we find, when we trouble to seek The soul of a people, that some unique,
Brave man is its flower and symbol, who Makes bold to utter the words that choke The throats of feebler, timider folk.
You flew for the western eagle—and fell Doing great things for your country's pride: For the beauty and peace of life you died.
Britain and France have shrined in their souls Your memory; yes, and for ever you share Their love with their perished lords of the air.
Invisible now, in that empty seat, You sit, who came through the clouds to me, Swift as a message from over the sea.
My house is always open to you: Dear spirit, come often and you will find Welcome, where mind can foregather with mind!
And may we sit together one day Quietly here, when a word is said To bring new gladness unto our dead,
Knowing your dream is a dream no more; And seeing on some momentous pact Your vision upbuilt as a deathless fact.
PRINCETON, MAY, 1917
Here Freedom stood by slaughtered friend and foe, And, ere the wrath paled or that sunset died, Looked through the ages; then, with eyes aglow, Laid them to wait that future, side by side.
(Lines for a monument to the American and British soldiers of the Revolutionary War who fell on the Princeton battlefield and were buried in one grave.)
Now lamp-lit gardens in the blue dusk shine Through dogwood, red and white; And round the gray quadrangles, line by line, The windows fill with light, Where Princeton calls to Magdalen, tower to tower, Twin lanthorns of the law; And those cream-white magnolia boughs embower The halls of "Old Nassau."
The dark bronze tigers crouch on either side Where redcoats used to pass; And round the bird-loved house where Mercer died, And violets dusk the grass, By Stony Brook that ran so red of old, But sings of friendship now, To feed the old enemy's harvest fifty-fold The green earth takes the plow.
Through this May night, if one great ghost should stray With deep remembering eyes, Where that old meadow of battle smiles away Its blood-stained memories, If Washington should walk, where friend and foe Sleep and forget the past, Be sure his unquenched heart would leap to know Their souls are linked at last.
Be sure he waits, in shadowy buff and blue, Where those dim lilacs wave. He bends his head to bless, as dreams come true, The promise of that grave; Then, with a vaster hope than thought can scan, Touching his ancient sword, Prays for that mightier realm of God in man: "Hasten thy kingdom, Lord.
"Land of our hope, land of the singing stars, Type of the world to be, The vision of a world set free from wars Takes life, takes form from thee; Where all the jarring nations of this earth, Beneath the all-blessing sun, Bring the new music of mankind to birth, And make the whole world one."
And those old comrades rise around him there, Old foemen, side by side, With eyes like stars upon the brave night air, And young as when they died, To hear your bells, O beautiful Princeton towers, Ring for the world's release. They see you piercing like gray swords through flowers, And smile, from souls at peace.
England! where the sacred flame Burns before the inmost shrine, Where the lips that love thy name Consecrate their hopes and thine, Where the banners of thy dead Weave their shadows overhead, Watch beside thine arms to-night, Pray that God defend the Right.
Think that when to-morrow comes War shall claim command of all, Thou must hear the roll of drums, Thou must hear the trumpet's call. Now, before thy silence ruth, Commune with the voice of truth; England! on thy knees to-night Pray that God defend the Right.
Single-hearted, unafraid, Hither all thy heroes came, On this altar's steps were laid Gordon's life and Outram's fame. England! if thy will be yet By their great example set, Here beside thine arms to-night Pray that God defend the Right.
So shalt thou when morning comes Rise to conquer or to fall, Joyful hear the rolling drums, Joyful tear the trumpets call, Then let Memory tell thy heart: "England! what thou wert, thou art!" Gird thee with thine ancient might, Forth! and God defend the Right!
"FOR ALL WE HAVE AND ARE"
For all we have and are, For all our children's fate, Stand up and meet the war. The Hun is at the gate! Our world has passed away In wantonness o'erthrown. There is nothing left to-day But steel and fire and stone.
Though all we knew depart, The old commandments stand: "In courage keep your heart, In strength lift up your hand,"
Once more we hear the word That sickened earth of old: "No law except the sword Unsheathed and uncontrolled," Once more it knits mankind. Once more the nations go To meet and break and bind A crazed and driven foe. Comfort, content, delight— The ages' slow-bought gain— They shrivelled in a night, Only ourselves remain To face the naked days In silent fortitude, Through perils and dismays Renewed and re-renewed.
Though all we made depart, The old commandments stand: "In patience keep your heart, In strength lift up your hand."
No easy hopes or lies Shall bring us to our goal, But iron sacrifice Of body, will, and soul There is but one task for all— For each one life to give. Who stands if freedom fall? Who dies if England live?
ENGLAND TO FREE MEN
Men of my blood, you English men! From misty hill and misty fen, From cot, and town, and plough, and moor, Come in—before I shut the door! Into my courtyard paved with stones That keep the names, that keep the bones, Of none but English men who came Free of their lives, to guard my fame.
I am your native land who bred No driven heart, no driven head; I fly a flag in every sea Round the old Earth, of Liberty! I am the Land that boasts a crown; The sun comes up, the sun goes down— And never men may say of me, Mine is a breed that is not free.
I have a wreath! My forehead wears A hundred leaves—a hundred years I never knew the words: "You must!" And shall my wreath return to dust? Freemen! The door is yet ajar; From northern star to southern star, O ye who count and ye who delve, Come in—before my clock strikes twelve!
England, in this great fight to which you go Because, where Honour calls you, go you must, Be glad, whatever comes, at least to know You have your quarrel just.
Peace was your care; before the nations' bar Her cause you pleaded and her ends you sought; But not for her sake, being what you are, Could you be bribed and bought.
Others may spurn the pledge of land to land, May with the brute sword stain a gallant past; But by the seal to which you set your hand, Thank God, you still stand fast!
Forth, then, to front that peril of the deep With smiling lips and in your eyes the light, Steadfast and confident, of those who keep Their storied 'scutcheon bright.
And we, whose burden is to watch and wait,— High-hearted ever, strong in faith and prayer,— We ask what offering we may consecrate, What humble service share.
To steel our souls against the lust of ease; To bear in silence though our hearts may bleed; To spend ourselves, and never count the cost, For others' greater need;—
To go our quiet ways, subdued and sane; To hush all vulgar clamour of the street; With level calm to face alike the strain Of triumph or defeat;
This be our part, for so we serve you best, So best confirm their prowess and their pride, Your warrior sons, to whom in this high test Our fortunes we confide.
August 12, 1914
LINES WRITTEN IN SURREY, 1917
A sudden swirl of song in the bright sky— The little lark adoring his lord the sun; Across the corn the lazy ripples run; Under the eaves, conferring drowsily,
Doves droop or amble; the agile waterfly Wrinkles the pool; and flowers, gay and dun, Rose, bluebell, rhododendron, one by one, The buccaneering bees prove busily.
Ah, who may trace this tranquil loveliness In verse felicitous?—no measure tells; But gazing on her bosom we can guess Why men strike hard for England in red hells, Falling on dreams, 'mid Death's extreme caress, Of English daisies dancing in English dells.
George Herbert Clarke
Because for once the sword broke in her hand, The words she spoke seemed perished for a space; All wrong was brazen, and in every land The tyrants walked abroad with naked face.
The waters turned to blood, as rose the Star Of evil Fate denying all release. The rulers smote, the feeble crying "War!" The usurers robbed, the naked crying "Peace!"
And her own feet were caught in nets of gold, And her own soul profaned by sects that squirm, And little men climbed her high seats and sold Her honour to the vulture and the worm.
And she seemed broken and they thought her dead, The Overmen, so brave against the weak. Has your last word of sophistry been said, O cult of slaves? Then it is hers to speak.
Clear the slow mists from her half-darkened eyes, As slow mists parted over Valmy fell, As once again her hands in high surprise Take hold upon the battlements of Hell.
THE NAME OF FRANCE
Give us a name to fill the mind With the shining thoughts that lead mankind, The glory of learning, the joy of art,— A name that tells of a splendid part In the long, long toil and the strenuous fight Of the human race to win its way From the feudal darkness into the day Of Freedom, Brotherhood, Equal Right,— A name like a star, a name of light— I give you France!
Give us a name to stir the blood With a warmer glow and a swifter flood,— A name like the sound of a trumpet, clear, And silver-sweet, and iron-strong, That calls three million men to their feet, Ready to march, and steady to meet The foes who threaten that name with wrong,— A name that rings like a battle-song. I give you France!
Give us a name to move the heart With the strength that noble griefs impart, A name that speaks of the blood outpoured To save mankind from the sway of the sword,— A name that calls on the world to share In the burden of sacrificial strife Where the cause at stake is the world's free life And the rule of the people everywhere,— A name like a vow, a name like a prayer. I give you France!
Henry van Dyke
VIVE LA FRANCE!
Franceline rose in the dawning gray, And her heart would dance though she knelt to pray, For her man Michel had holiday, Fighting for France.
She offered her prayer by the cradle-side, And with baby palms folded in hers she cried: "If I have but one prayer, dear, crucified Christ—save France!
"But if I have two, then, by Mary's grace, Carry me safe to the meeting-place, Let me look once again on my dear love's face, Save him for France!"
She crooned to her boy: "Oh, how glad he'll be, Little three-months old, to set eyes on thee! For, 'Rather than gold, would I give,' wrote he, 'A son to France.'
"Come, now, be good, little stray sauterelle, For we're going by-by to thy papa Michel, But I'll not say where for fear thou wilt tell, Little pigeon of France!
"Six days' leave and a year between! But what would you have? In six days clean, Heaven was made," said Franceline, "Heaven and France."
She came to the town of the nameless name, To the marching troops in the street she came, And she held high her boy like a taper flame Burning for France.
Fresh from the trenches and gray with grime, Silent they march like a pantomime; "But what need of music? My heart beats time— Vive la France!"
His regiment comes. Oh, then where is he? "There is dust in my eyes, for I cannot see,— Is that my Michel to the right of thee, Soldier of France?"
Then out of the ranks a comrade fell,— "Yesterday—'t was a splinter of shell— And he whispered thy name, did thy poor Michel, Dying for France."
The tread of the troops on the pavement throbbed Like a woman's heart of its last joy robbed, As she lifted her boy to the flag, and sobbed: "Vive la France!"
Charlotte Holmes Crawford
THE SOUL OF JEANNE D'ARC
She came not into the Presence as a martyred saint might come, Crowned, white-robed and adoring, with very reverence dumb,—
She stood as a straight young soldier, confident, gallant, strong, Who asks a boon of his captain in the sudden hush of the drum.
She said: "Now have I stayed too long in this my place of bliss, With these glad dead that, comforted, forget what sorrow is Upon that world whose stony stairs they climbed to come to this.
"But lo, a cry hath torn the peace wherein so long I stayed, Like a trumpet's call at Heaven's wall from a herald unafraid,— A million voices in one cry, 'Where is the Maid, the Maid?'
"I had forgot from too much joy that olden task of mine, But I have heard a certain word shatter the chant divine, Have watched a banner glow and grow before mine eyes for sign.
"I would return to that my land flung in the teeth of war, I would cast down my robe and crown that pleasure me no more, And don the armor that I knew, the valiant sword I bore.
"And angels militant shall fling the gates of Heaven wide, And souls new-dead whose lives were shed like leaves on war's red tide Shall cross their swords above our heads and cheer us as we ride,
"For with me goes that soldier saint, Saint Michael of the sword, And I shall ride on his right side, a page beside his lord, And men shall follow like swift blades to reap a sure reward.
"Grant that I answer this my call, yea, though the end may be The naked shame, the biting flame, the last, long agony; I would go singing down that road where fagots wait for me.
"Mine be the fire about my feet, the smoke above my head; So might I glow, a torch to show the path my heroes tread; My Captain! Oh, my Captain, let me go back!" she said.
O GLORIOUS FRANCE
You have become a forge of snow-white fire, A crucible of molten steel, O France! Your sons are stars who cluster to a dawn And fade in light for you, O glorious France! They pass through meteor changes with a song Which to all islands and all continents Says life is neither comfort, wealth, nor fame, Nor quiet hearthstones, friendship, wife nor child, Nor love, nor youth's delight, nor manhood's power, Nor many days spent in a chosen work, Nor honored merit, nor the patterned theme Of daily labor, nor the crowns nor wreaths Of seventy years.
These are not all of life, O France, whose sons amid the rolling thunder Of cannon stand in trenches where the dead Clog the ensanguined ice. But life to these Prophetic and enraptured souls is vision, And the keen ecstasy of fated strife, And divination of the loss as gain, And reading mysteries with brightened eyes In fiery shock and dazzling pain before The orient splendour of the face of Death, As a great light beside a shadowy sea; And in a high will's strenuous exercise, Where the warmed spirit finds its fullest strength And is no more afraid, and in the stroke Of azure lightning when the hidden essence And shifting meaning of man's spiritual worth And mystical significance in time Are instantly distilled to one clear drop Which mirrors earth and heaven.
This is life Flaming to heaven in a minute's span When the breath of battle blows the smouldering spark. And across these seas We who cry Peace and treasure life and cling To cities, happiness, or daily toil For daily bread, or trail the long routine Of seventy years, taste not the terrible wine Whereof you drink, who drain and toss the cup Empty and ringing by the finished feast; Or have it shaken from your hand by sight Of God against the olive woods.
As Joan of Arc amid the apple trees With sacred joy first heard the voices, then Obeying plunged at Orleans in a field Of spears and lived her dream and died in fire, Thou, France, hast heard the voices and hast lived The dream and known the meaning of the dream, And read its riddle: how the soul of man May to one greatest purpose make itself A lens of clearness, how it loves the cup Of deepest truth, and how its bitterest gall Turns sweet to soul's surrender.
And you say: Take days for repetition, stretch your hands For mocked renewal of familiar things: The beaten path, the chair beside the window, The crowded street, the task, the accustomed sleep, And waking to the task, or many springs Of lifted cloud, blue water, flowering fields— The prison-house grows close no less, the feast A place of memory sick for senses dulled Down to the dusty end where pitiful Time Grown weary cries Enough!
Edgar Lee Masters
Those who have stood for thy cause when the dark was around thee, Those who have pierced through the shadows and shining have found thee, Those who have held to their faith in thy courage and power, Thy spirit, thy honor, thy strength for a terrible hour, Now can rejoice that they see thee in light and in glory, Facing whatever may come as an end to the story In calm undespairing, with steady eyes fixed on the morrow— The morn that is pregnant with blood and with death and with sorrow. And whether the victory crowns thee, O France the eternal, Or whether the smoke and the dusk of a nightfall infernal Gather about thee, and us, and the foe; and all treasures Run with the flooding of war into bottomless measures— Fall what befalls: in this hour all those who are near thee And all who have loved thee, they rise and salute and revere thee!
PLACE DE LA CONCORDE
AUGUST 14, 1914
[Since the bombardment of Strasburg, August 14, 1870, her statue in Paris, representing Alsace, has been draped in mourning by the French people.]
Near where the royal victims fell In days gone by, caught in the swell Of a ruthless tide Of human passion, deep and wide: There where we two A Nation's later sorrow knew— To-day, O friend! I stood Amid a self-ruled multitude That by nor sound nor word Betrayed how mightily its heart was stirred,
A memory Time never could efface— A memory of Grief— Like a great Silence brooded o'er the place; And men breathed hard, as seeking for relief From an emotion strong That would not cry, though held in check too long.
One felt that joy drew near— A joy intense that seemed itself to fear— Brightening in eyes that had been dull, As all with feeling gazed Upon the Strasburg figure, raised Above us—mourning, beautiful!
Then one stood at the statue's base, and spoke— Men needed not to ask what word; Each in his breast the message heard, Writ for him by Despair, That evermore in moving phrase Breathes from the Invalides and Pere Lachaise— Vainly it seemed, alas! But now, France looking on the image there, Hope gave her back the lost Alsace.
A deeper hush fell on the crowd: A sound—the lightest—seemed too loud (Would, friend, you had been there!) As to that form the speaker rose, Took from her, fold on fold, The mournful crape, gray-worn and old, Her, proudly, to disclose, And with the touch of tender care That fond emotion speaks, 'Mid tears that none could quite command, Placed the Tricolor in her hand, And kissed her on both cheeks!
Florence Earle Coates
What is the gift we have given thee, Sister? What is the trust we have laid in thy hand? Hearts of our bravest, our best, and our dearest, Blood of our blood we have sown in thy land.
What for all time will the harvest be, Sister? What will spring up from the seed that is sown? Freedom and peace and goodwill among Nations, Love that will bind us with love all our own.
Bright is the path, that is opening before us, Upward and onward it mounts through the night; Sword shall not sever the bonds that unite us Leading the world to the fullness of light.
Sorrow hath made thee more beautiful, Sister, Nobler and purer than ever before; We who are chastened by sorrow and anguish Hail thee as sister and queen evermore.
Frederick George Scott
Qui vive? Who passes by up there? Who moves—what stirs in the startled air? What whispers, thrills, exults up there? Qui vive? "The Flags of France."
What wind on a windless night is this, That breathes as light as a lover's kiss, That blows through the night with bugle notes, That streams like a pennant from a lance, That rustles, that floats? "The Flags of France."
What richly moves, what lightly stirs, Like a noble lady in a dance, When all men's eyes are in love with hers And needs must follow? "The Flags of France."
What calls to the heart—and the heart has heard, Speaks, and the soul has obeyed the word, Summons, and all the years advance, And the world goes forward with France—with France? Who called? "The Flags of France."
What flies—a glory, through the night, While the legions stream—a line of light, And men fall to the left and fall to the right, But they fall not? "The Flags of France."
Qui vive? Who comes? What approaches there? What soundless tumult, what breath in the air Takes the breath in the throat, the blood from the heart? In a flame of dark, to the unheard beat Of an unseen drum and fleshless feet, Without glint of barrel or bayonets' glance, They approach—they come. Who comes? (Hush! Hark!) "Qui vive?" "The Flags of France."
Uncover the head and kneel—kneel down, A monarch passes, without a crown, Let the proud tears fall but the heart beat high: The Greatest of All is passing by, On its endless march in the endless Plan: "Qui vive?" "The Spirit of Man."
"O Spirit of Man, pass on! Advance!" And they who lead, who hold the van? Kneel down! The Flags of France.
Grace Ellery Channing
TO THE BELGIANS
O Race that Caesar knew, That won stern Roman praise, What land not envies you The laurel of these days?
You built your cities rich Around each towered hall,— Without, the statued niche, Within, the pictured wall.
Your ship-thronged wharves; your marts With gorgeous Venice vied. Peace and her famous arts Were yours: though tide on tide
Of Europe's battle scourged Black field and reddened soil, From blood and smoke emerged Peace and her fruitful toil.
Yet when the challenge rang, "The War-Lord comes; give room!" Fearless to arms you sprang Against the odds of doom.
Like your own Damien Who sought that leper's isle To die a simple man For men with tranquil smile,
So strong in faith you dared Defy the giant, scorn Ignobly to be spared, Though trampled, spoiled, and torn,
And in your faith arose And smote, and smote again, Till those astonished foes Reeled from their mounds of slain,
The faith that the free soul, Untaught by force to quail, Through fire and dirge and dole Prevails and shall prevail.
Still for your frontier stands The host that knew no dread, Your little, stubborn land's Nameless, immortal dead.
La Belgique ne regrette rien
Not with her ruined silver spires, Not with her cities shamed and rent, Perish the imperishable fires That shape the homestead from the tent.
Wherever men are staunch and free, There shall she keep her fearless state, And homeless, to great nations be The home of all that makes them great.
Champion of human honour, let us lave Your feet and bind your wounds on bended knee. Though coward hands have nailed you to the tree And shed your innocent blood and dug your grave, Rejoice and live! Your oriflamme shall wave— While man has power to perish and be free— A golden flame of holiest Liberty, Proud as the dawn and as the sunset brave.
Belgium, where dwelleth reverence for right Enthroned above all ideals; where your fate And your supernal patience and your might Most sacred grow in human estimate, You shine a star above this stormy night Little no more, but infinitely great.
TO BELGIUM IN EXILE
[Lines dedicated to one of her priests, by whose words they were prompted.]
Land of the desolate, Mother of tears, Weeping your beauty marred and torn, Your children tossed upon the spears, Your altars rent, your hearths forlorn, Where Spring has no renewing spell, And Love no language save a long Farewell!
Ah, precious tears, and each a pearl, Whose price—for so in God we trust Who saw them fall in that blind swirl Of ravening flame and reeking dust— The spoiler with his life shall pay, When Justice at the last demands her Day.
O tried and proved, whose record stands Lettered in blood too deep to fade, Take courage! Never in our hands Shall the avenging sword be stayed Till you are healed of all your pain, And come with Honour to your own again.
May 19, 1915
THE WIFE OF FLANDERS
Low and brown barns, thatched and repatched and tattered, Where I had seven sons until to-day, A little hill of hay your spur has scattered.... This is not Paris. You have lost the way.
You, staring at your sword to find it brittle, Surprised at the surprise that was your plan, Who, shaking and breaking barriers not a little, Find never more the death-door of Sedan—
Must I for more than carnage call you claimant, Paying you a penny for each son you slay? Man, the whole globe in gold were no repayment For what you have lost. And how shall I repay?
What is the price of that red spark that caught me From a kind farm that never had a name? What is the price of that dead man they brought me? For other dead men do not look the same.
How should I pay for one poor graven steeple Whereon you shattered what you shall not know? How should I pay you, miserable people? How should I pay you everything you owe?
Unhappy, can I give you back your honour? Though I forgave, would any man forget? While all the great green land has trampled on her The treason and terror of the night we met.
Not any more in vengeance or in pardon An old wife bargains for a bean that's hers. You have no word to break: no heart to harden. Ride on and prosper. You have lost your spurs.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton
A wind in the world! The dark departs; The chains now rust that crushed men's flesh and bones, Feet tread no more the mildewed prison stones, And slavery is lifted from your hearts.
A wind in the world! O Company Of darkened Russia, watching long in vain, Now shall you see the cloud of Russia's pain Go shrinking out across a summer sky.
A wind in the world! Our God shall be In all the future left, no kingly doll Decked out with dreadful sceptre, steel, and stole, But walk the earth—a man, in Charity.
* * * * *
A wind in the world! And doubts are blown To dust along, and the old stars come forth— Stars of a creed to Pilgrim Fathers worth A field of broken spears and flowers strown.
A wind in the world! Now truancy From the true self is ended; to her part Steadfast again she moves, and from her heart A great America cries: Death to Tyranny!
A wind in the world! And we have come Together, sea by sea; in all the lands Vision doth move at last, and Freedom stands With brightened wings, and smiles and beckons home!
TO RUSSIA NEW AND FREE
Land of the Martyrs—of the martyred dead And martyred living—now of noble fame! Long wert thou saddest of the nations, wed To Sorrow as the fire to the flame, Not yet relentless History had writ of Teuton shame.
Thou knewest all the gloom of hope deferred. 'Twixt God and Russia wrong had built such bar Each by the other could no more be heard. Seen through the cloud, the child's familiar star, That once made Heaven near, had made it seem more far.
Land of the Breaking Dawn! No more look back To that long night that nevermore can be: The sunless dungeon and the exile's track. To the world's dreams of terror let it flee. To gentle April cruel March is now antiquity.
Yet—of the Past one sacred relic save: That boundary-post 'twixt Russia and Despair,— Set where the dead might look upon his grave,— Kissed by him with his last-breathed Russian air. Keep it to witness to the world what heroes still may dare.
Land of New Hope, no more the minor key, No more the songs of exile long and lone; Thy tears henceforth be tears of memory. Sing, with the joy the joyless would have known Who for this visioned happiness so gladly gave their own.
Land of the warm heart and the friendly hand, Strike the free chord; no more the muted strings! Forever let the equal record stand— A thousand winters for this Spring of Springs, That to a warring world, through thee, millennial longing brings.
On thy white tablets, cleansed of royal stain, What message to the future mayst thou write!— The People's Law, the bulwark of their reign, And vigilant Liberty, of ancient might, And Brotherhood, that can alone lead to the loftiest height.
Take, then, our hearts' rejoicing overflow, Thou new-born daughter of Democracy, Whose coming sets the expectant earth aglow. Soon the glad skies thy proud new flag shall see, And hear thy chanted hymns of hope for Russia new and free.
Robert Underwood Johnson
ITALY IN ARMS
Of all my dreams by night and day, One dream will evermore return, The dream of Italy in May; The sky a brimming azure urn Where lights of amber brood and burn; The doves about San Marco's square, The swimming Campanile tower, The giants, hammering out the hour, The palaces, the bright lagoons, The gondolas gliding here and there Upon the tide that sways and swoons.
The domes of San Antonio, Where Padua 'mid her mulberry-trees Reclines; Adige's crescent flow Beneath Verona's balconies; Rich Florence of the Medicis; Sienna's starlike streets that climb From hill to hill; Assisi well Remembering the holy spell Of rapt St. Francis; with her crown Of battlements, embossed by time, Stern old Perugia looking down.
Then, mother of great empires, Rome, City of the majestic past, That o'er far leagues of alien foam The shadows of her eagles cast, Imperious still; impending, vast,
The Colosseum's curving line; Pillar and arch and colonnade; St. Peter's consecrated shade, And Hadrian's tomb where Tiber strays; The ruins on the Palatine With all their memories of dead days.
And Naples, with her sapphire arc Of bay, her perfect sweep of shore; Above her, like a demon stark, The dark fire-mountain evermore Looming portentous, as of yore; Fair Capri with her cliffs and caves; Salerno drowsing 'mid her vines And olives, and the shattered shrines Of Paestum where the gray ghosts tread, And where the wilding rose still waves As when by Greek girls garlanded.
But hark! What sound the ear dismays, Mine Italy, mine Italy? Thou that wert wrapt in peace, the haze Of loveliness spread over thee! Yet since the grapple needs must be, I who have wandered in the night With Dante, Petrarch's Laura known, Seen Vallombrosa's groves breeze-blown, Met Angelo and Raffael, Against iconoclastic might In this grim hour must wish thee well!
ON THE ITALIAN FRONT, MCMXVI
"I will die cheering, if I needs must die; So shall my last breath write upon my lips Viva Italia! when my spirit slips Down the great darkness from the mountain sky; And those who shall behold me where I lie Shall murmur: 'Look, you! how his spirit dips From glory into glory! the eclipse Of death is vanquished! Lo, his victor-cry!'
"Live, thou, upon my lips, Italia mine, The sacred death-cry of my frozen clay! Let thy dear light from my dead body shine And to the passer-by thy message say: 'Ecco! though heaven has made my skies divine, My sons' love sanctifies my soil for aye!'"
George Edward Woodberry
AUSTRALIA TO ENGLAND
By all the deeds to Thy dear glory done, By all the life blood, spilt to serve Thy need, By all the fettered lives Thy touch hath freed, By all Thy dream in us anew begun; By all the guerdon English sire to son Hath given of highest vision, kingliest deed, By all Thine agony, of God decreed For trial and strength, our fate with Thine is one.
Still dwells Thy spirit in our hearts and lips, Honour and life we hold from none but Thee, And if we live Thy pensioners no more But seek a nation's might of men and ships, 'T is but that when the world is black with war Thy sons may stand beside Thee strong and free.
Archibald T. Strong
CANADA TO ENGLAND
Great names of thy great captains gone before Beat with our blood, who have that blood of thee: Raleigh and Grenville, Wolfe, and all the free Fine souls who dared to front a world in war. Such only may outreach the envious years Where feebler crowns and fainter stars remove, Nurtured in one remembrance and one love Too high for passion and too stern for tears.
O little isle our fathers held for home, Not, not alone thy standards and thy hosts Lead where thy sons shall follow, Mother Land: Quick as the north wind, ardent as the foam, Behold, behold the invulnerable ghosts Of all past greatnesses about thee stand.
Marjorie L.C. Pickthall
LANGEMARCK AT YPRES
This is the ballad of Langemarck, A story of glory and might; Of the vast Hun horde, and Canada's part In the great grim fight.
It was April fair on the Flanders Fields, But the dreadest April then That ever the years, in their fateful flight, Had brought to this world of men.
North and east, a monster wall, The mighty Hun ranks lay, With fort on fort, and iron-ringed trench, Menacing, grim and gray.
And south and west, like a serpent of fire, Serried the British lines, And in between, the dying and dead, And the stench of blood, and the trampled mud, On the fair, sweet Belgian vines.
And far to the eastward, harnessed and taut, Like a scimitar, shining and keen, Gleaming out of that ominous gloom, Old France's hosts were seen.
When out of the grim Hun lines one night, There rolled a sinister smoke;— A strange, weird cloud, like a pale, green shroud, And death lurked in its cloak.
On a fiend-like wind it curled along Over the brave French ranks, Like a monster tree its vapours spread, In hideous, burning banks Of poisonous fumes that scorched the night With their sulphurous demon danks.
And men went mad with horror, and fled From that terrible, strangling death, That seemed to sear both body and soul With its baleful, flaming breath.
Till even the little dark men of the south, Who feared neither God nor man, Those fierce, wild fighters of Afric's steppes, Broke their battalions and ran:—
Ran as they never had run before, Gasping, and fainting for breath; For they knew 't was no human foe that slew; And that hideous smoke meant death.
Then red in the reek of that evil cloud, The Hun swept over the plain; And the murderer's dirk did its monster work, 'Mid the scythe-like shrapnel rain;
Till it seemed that at last the brute Hun hordes Had broken that wall of steel; And that soon, through this breach in the freeman's dyke, His trampling hosts would wheel;—
And sweep to the south in ravaging might, And Europe's peoples again Be trodden under the tyrant's heel, Like herds, in the Prussian pen.
But in that line on the British right, There massed a corps amain, Of men who hailed from a far west land Of mountain and forest and plain;
Men new to war and its dreadest deeds, But noble and staunch and true; Men of the open, East and West, Brew of old Britain's brew.
These were the men out there that night, When Hell loomed close ahead; Who saw that pitiful, hideous rout, And breathed those gases dread; While some went under and some went mad; But never a man there fled.
For the word was "Canada," theirs to fight, And keep on fighting still;— Britain said, fight, and fight they would, Though the Devil himself in sulphurous mood Came over that hideous hill.
Yea, stubborn, they stood, that hero band, Where no soul hoped to live; For five, 'gainst eighty thousand men, Were hopeless odds to give.
Yea, fought they on! 'T was Friday eve, When that demon gas drove down; 'T was Saturday eve that saw them still Grimly holding their own;
Sunday, Monday, saw them yet, A steadily lessening band, With "no surrender" in their hearts, But the dream of a far-off land,
Where mother and sister and love would weep For the hushed heart lying still;— But never a thought but to do their part, And work the Empire's will.
Ringed round, hemmed in, and back to back, They fought there under the dark, And won for Empire, God and Right, At grim, red Langemarck.
Wonderful battles have shaken this world, Since the Dawn-God overthrew Dis; Wonderful struggles of right against wrong, Sung in the rhymes of the world's great song, But never a greater than this.
Bannockburn, Inkerman, Balaclava, Marathon's godlike stand; But never a more heroic deed, And never a greater warrior breed, In any war-man's land.
This is the ballad of Langemarck, A story of glory and might; Of the vast Hun horde, and Canada's part In the great, grim fight.
With arrows on their quarters and with numbers on their hoofs, With the trampling sound of twenty that re-echoes in the roofs, Low of crest and dull of coat, wan and wild of eye, Through our English village the Canadians go by.
Shying at a passing cart, swerving from a car, Tossing up an anxious head to flaunt a snowy star, Racking at a Yankee gait, reaching at the rein, Twenty raw Canadians are tasting life again!
Hollow-necked and hollow-flanked, lean of rib and hip, Strained and sick and weary with the wallow of the ship, Glad to smell the turf again, hear the robin's call, Tread again the country road they lost at Montreal!
Fate may bring them dule and woe; better steeds than they Sleep beside the English guns a hundred leagues away; But till war hath need of them, lightly lie their reins, Softly fall the feet of them along the English lanes.
Will H. Ogilvie
THE KAISER AND BELGIUM
He said: "Thou petty people, let me pass. What canst thou do but bow to me and kneel?" But sudden a dry land caught fire like grass, And answer hurtled but from shell and steel.
He looked for silence, but a thunder came Upon him, from Liege a leaden hail. All Belgium flew up at his throat in flame Till at her gates amazed his legions quail.
Take heed, for now on haunted ground they tread; There bowed a mightier war lord to his fall: Fear! lest that very green grass again grow red With blood of German now as then with Gaul.
If him whom God destroys He maddens first, Then thy destruction slake thy madman's thirst.
THE BATTLE OF LIEGE
Now spake the Emperor to all his shining battle forces, To the Lancers, and the Rifles, to the Gunners and the Horses;— And his pride surged up within him as he saw their banners stream!— "'T is a twelve-day march to Paris, by the road our fathers travelled, And the prize is half an empire when the scarlet road's unravelled— Go you now across the border, God's decree and William's order— Climb the frowning Belgian ridges With your naked swords agleam! Seize the City of the Bridges— Then get on, get on to Paris— To the jewelled streets of Paris— To the lovely woman, Paris, that has driven me to dream!"
A hundred thousand fighting men They climbed the frowning ridges, With their flaming swords drawn free And their pennants at their knee. They went up to their desire, To the City of the Bridges, With their naked brands outdrawn Like the lances of the dawn! In a swelling surf of fire, Crawling higher—higher—higher— Till they crumpled up and died Like a sudden wasted tide, And the thunder in their faces beat them down and flung them wide!
They had paid a thousand men, Yet they formed and came again, For they heard the silver bugles sounding challenge to their pride, And they rode with swords agleam For the glory of a dream, And they stormed up to the cannon's mouth and withered there, and died.... The daylight lay in ashes On the blackened western hill, And the dead were calm and still; But the Night was torn with gashes— Sudden ragged crimson gashes— And the siege-guns snarled and roared, With their flames thrust like a sword, And the tranquil moon came riding on the heaven's silver ford.
What a fearful world was there, Tangled in the cold moon's hair! Man and beast lay hurt and screaming, (Men must die when Kings are dreaming!)— While within the harried town Mothers dragged their children down As the awful rain came screaming, For the glory of a Crown!
So the Morning flung her cloak Through the hanging pall of smoke— Trimmed with red, it was, and dripping with a deep and angry stain! And the Day came walking then Through a lane of murdered men, And her light fell down before her like a Cross upon the plain! But the forts still crowned the height With a bitter iron crown! They had lived to flame and fight, They had lived to keep the Town! And they poured their havoc down All that day ... and all that night.... While four times their number came, Pawns that played a bloody game!— With a silver trumpeting, For the glory of the King, To the barriers of the thunder and the fury of the flame!
So they stormed the iron Hill, O'er the sleepers lying still, And their trumpets sang them forward through the dull succeeding dawns, But the thunder flung them wide, And they crumpled up and died,— They had waged the war of monarchs—and they died the death of pawns.
But the forts still stood.... Their breath Swept the foeman like a blade, Though ten thousand men were paid To the hungry purse of Death, Though the field was wet with blood, Still the bold defences stood, Stood!
And the King came out with his bodyguard at the day's departing gleam— And the moon rode up behind the smoke and showed the King his dream.
MEN OF VERDUN
There are five men in the moonlight That by their shadows stand; Three hobble humped on crutches, And two lack each a hand.
Frogs somewhere near the roadside Chorus their chant absorbed: But a hush breathes out of the dream-light That far in heaven is orbed.
It is gentle as sleep falling And wide as thought can span, The ancient peace and wonder That brims the heart of man.
Beyond the hills it shines now On no peace but the dead, On reek of trenches thunder-shocked, Tense fury of wills in wrestle locked, A chaos crumbled red!
The five men in the moonlight Chat, joke, or gaze apart. They talk of days and comrades, But each one hides his heart.
They wear clean cap and tunic, As when they went to war; A gleam comes where the medal's pinned: But they will fight no more.
The shadows, maimed and antic, Gesture and shape distort, Like mockery of a demon dumb Out of the hell-din whence they come That dogs them for his sport:
But as if dead men were risen And stood before me there With a terrible fame about them blown In beams of spectral air,
I see them, men transfigured As in a dream, dilate Fabulous with the Titan-throb Of battling Europe's fate;
For history's hushed before them, And legend flames afresh,— Verdun, the name of thunder, Is written on their flesh.
Three hundred thousand men, but not enough To break this township on a winding stream; More yet must fall, and more, ere the red stuff That built a nation's manhood may redeem The Master's hopes and realize his dream.
They pave the way to Verdun; on their dust The Hohenzollerns mount and, hand in hand, Gaze haggard south; for yet another thrust And higher hills must heap, ere they may stand To feed their eyes upon the promised land.
One barrow, borne of women, lifts them high, Built up of many a thousand human dead. Nursed on their mothers' bosoms, now they lie— A Golgotha, all shattered, torn and sped, A mountain for these royal feet to tread.
A Golgotha, upon whose carrion clay Justice of myriad men still in the womb Shall heave two crosses; crucify and flay Two memories accurs'd; then in the tomb Of world-wide execration give them room.
Verdun! A clarion thy name shall ring Adown the ages and the Nations see Thy monuments of glory. Now we bring Thank-offering and bend the reverent knee, Thou star upon the crown of Liberty!
GUNS OF VERDUN
Guns of Verdun point to Metz From the plated parapets; Guns of Metz grin back again O'er the fields of fair Lorraine.
Guns of Metz are long and grey, Growling through a summer day; Guns of Verdun, grey and long, Boom an echo of their song.
Guns of Metz to Verdun roar, "Sisters, you shall foot the score;" Guns of Verdun say to Metz, "Fear not, for we pay our debts."
Guns of Metz they grumble, "When?" Guns of Verdun answer then, "Sisters, when to guard Lorraine Gunners lay you East again!"
Patrick R. Chalmers
THE SPIRES OF OXFORD
I saw the spires of Oxford As I was passing by, The gray spires of Oxford Against the pearl-gray sky. My heart was with the Oxford men Who went abroad to die.
The years go fast in Oxford, The golden years and gay, The hoary Colleges look down On careless boys at play. But when the bugles sounded war They put their games away.
They left the peaceful river, The cricket-field, the quad, The shaven lawns of Oxford, To seek a bloody sod— They gave their merry youth away For country and for God.
God rest you, happy gentlemen, Who laid your good lives down, Who took the khaki and the gun Instead of cap and gown. God bring you to a fairer place Than even Oxford town.
Winifred M. Letts
OXFORD IN WAR-TIME
[The Boat Race will not be held this year (1915). The whole of last year's Oxford Eight and the great majority of the cricket and football teams are serving the King.]
Under the tow-path past the barges Never an eight goes flashing by; Never a blatant coach on the marge is Urging his crew to do or die; Never the critic we knew enlarges, Fluent, on How and Why!
Once by the Iffley Road November Welcomed the Football men aglow, Covered with mud, as you'll remember, Eager to vanquish Oxford's foe. Where are the teams of last December? Gone—where they had to go!
Where are her sons who waged at cricket Warfare against the foeman-friend? Far from the Parks, on a harder wicket, Still they attack and still defend; Playing a greater game, they'll stick it, Fearless until the end!
Oxford's goodliest children leave her, Hastily thrusting books aside; Still the hurrying weeks bereave her, Filling her heart with joy and pride; Only the thought of you can grieve her, You who have fought and died.
OXFORD REVISITED IN WAR-TIME
Beneath fair Magdalen's storied towers I wander in a dream, And hear the mellow chimes float out O'er Cherwell's ice-bound stream.
Throstle and blackbird stiff with cold Hop on the frozen grass; Among the aged, upright oaks The dun deer slowly pass.
The chapel organ rolls and swells, And voices still praise God; But ah! the thought of youthful friends Who lie beneath the sod.
Now wounded men with gallant eyes Go hobbling down the street, And nurses from the hospitals Speed by with tireless feet.
The town is full of uniforms, And through the stormy sky, Frightening the rooks from the tallest trees, The aeroplanes roar by.
The older faces still are here, More grave and true and kind, Ennobled by the steadfast toil Of patient heart and mind.
And old-time friends are dearer grown To fill a double place: Unshaken faith makes glorious Each forward-looking face.
Old Oxford walls are grey and worn: She knows the truth of tears, But to-day she stands in her ancient pride Crowned with eternal years.
Gone are her sons: yet her heart is glad In the glory of their youth, For she brought them forth to live or die By freedom, justice, truth.
Cold moonlight falls on silent towers; The young ghosts walk with the old; But Oxford dreams of the dawn of May And her heart is free and bold.
Tertius van Dyke
SONNETS WRITTEN IN THE FALL OF 1914
Awake, ye nations, slumbering supine, Who round enring the European fray! Heard ye the trumpet sound? "The Day! the Day! The last that shall on England's Empire shine! The Parliament that broke the Right Divine Shall see her realm of reason swept away, And lesser nations shall the sword obey— The sword o'er all carve the great world's design!"
So on the English Channel boasts the foe On whose imperial brow death's helmet nods. Look where his hosts o'er bloody Belgium go, And mix a nation's past with blazing sods! A kingdom's waste! a people's homeless woe! Man's broken Word, and violated gods!
Far fall the day when England's realm shall see The sunset of dominion! Her increase Abolishes the man-dividing seas, And frames the brotherhood on earth to be! She, in free peoples planting sovereignty, Orbs half the civil world in British peace; And though time dispossess her, and she cease, Rome-like she greatens in man's memory.
Oh, many a crown shall sink in war's turmoil, And many a new republic light the sky, Fleets sweep the ocean, nations till the soil, Genius be born and generations die. Orient and Occident together toil, Ere such a mighty work man rears on high!
Hearken, the feet of the Destroyer tread The wine-press of the nations; fast the blood Pours from the side of Europe; in the flood On the septentrional watershed The rivers of fair France are running red! England, the mother-aerie of our brood, That on the summit of dominion stood, Shakes in the blast: heaven battles overhead!
Lift up thy head, O Rheims, of ages heir That treasured up in thee their glorious sum; Upon whose brow, prophetically fair, Flamed the great morrow of the world to come; Haunt with thy beauty this volcanic air Ere yet thou close, O Flower of Christendom!
As when the shadow of the sun's eclipse Sweeps on the earth, and spreads a spectral air, As if the universe were dying there, On continent and isle the darkness dips Unwonted gloom, and on the Atlantic slips; So in the night the Belgian cities flare Horizon-wide; the wandering people fare Along the roads, and load the fleeing ships.
And westward borne that planetary sweep Darkening o'er England and her times to be, Already steps upon the ocean-deep! Watch well, my country, that unearthly sea, Lest when thou thinkest not, and in thy sleep, Unapt for war, that gloom enshadow thee.
I pray for peace; yet peace is but a prayer. How many wars have been in my brief years! All races and all faiths, both hemispheres, My eyes have seen embattled everywhere The wide earth through; yet do I not despair Of peace, that slowly through far ages nears; Though not to me the golden morn appears, My faith is perfect in time's issue fair.
For man doth build on an eternal scale, And his ideals are framed of hope deferred; The millennium came not; yet Christ did not fail, Though ever unaccomplished is His word; Him Prince of Peace, though unenthroned, we hail, Supreme when in all bosoms He be heard.
This is my faith, and my mind's heritage, Wherein I toil, though in a lonely place, Who yet world-wide survey the human race Unequal from wild nature disengage Body and soul, and life's old strife assuage; Still must abide, till heaven perfect its grace, And love grown wisdom sweeten in man's face, Alike the Christian and the heathen rage.
The tutelary genius of mankind Ripens by slow degrees the final State, That in the soul shall its foundations find And only in victorious love grow great; Patient the heart must be, humble the mind, That doth the greater births of time await!
Whence not unmoved I see the nations form From Dover to the fountains of the Rhine, A hundred leagues, the scarlet battle-line, And by the Vistula great armies swarm, A vaster flood; rather my breast grows warm, Seeing all peoples of the earth combine Under one standard, with one countersign, Grown brothers in the universal storm.
And never through the wide world yet there rang A mightier summons! O Thou who from the side Of Athens and the loins of Casar sprang, Strike, Europe, with half the coming world allied For those ideals for which, since Homer sang, The hosts of thirty centuries have died.
George Edward Woodberry
THE WAR FILMS
O living pictures of the dead, O songs without a sound, O fellowship whose phantom tread Hallows a phantom ground— How in a gleam have these revealed The faith we had not found.
We have sought God in a cloudy Heaven, We have passed by God on earth: His seven sins and his sorrows seven, His wayworn mood and mirth, Like a ragged cloak have hid from us The secret of his birth.
Brother of men, when now I see The lads go forth in line, Thou knowest my heart is hungry in me As for thy bread and wine; Thou knowest my heart is bowed in me To take their death for mine.
[Political morality differs from individual morality, because there is no power above the State.—General von Bernhardt]
Shadow by shadow, stripped for fight, The lean black cruisers search the sea. Night-long their level shafts of light Revolve, and find no enemy. Only they know each leaping wave May hide the lightning, and their grave.
And in the land they guard so well Is there no silent watch to keep? An age is dying, and the bell Rings midnight on a vaster deep. But over all its waves, once more The searchlights move, from shore to shore.
And captains that we thought were dead, And dreamers that we thought were dumb, And voices that we thought were fled, Arise, and call us, and we come; And "Search in thine own soul," they cry; "For there, too, lurks thine enemy."
Search for the foe in thine own soul, The sloth, the intellectual pride; The trivial jest that veils the goal For which, our fathers lived and died; The lawless dreams, the cynic Art, That rend thy nobler self apart.
Not far, not far into the night, These level swords of light can pierce; Yet for her faith does England fight, Her faith in this our universe, Believing Truth and Justice draw From founts of everlasting law;
The law that rules the stars, our stay, Our compass through the world's wide sea. The one sure light, the one sure way, The one firm base of Liberty; The one firm road that men have trod Through Chaos to the throne of God.
Therefore a Power above the State, The unconquerable Power, returns, The fire, the fire that made her great Once more upon her altar burns, Once more, redeemed and healed and whole, She moves to the Eternal Goal.
Now is the midnight of the nations: dark Even as death, beside her blood-dark seas, Earth, like a mother in birth agonies, Screams in her travail, and the planets hark Her million-throated terror. Naked, stark, Her torso writhes enormous, and her knees Shudder against the shadowed Pleiades, Wrenching the night's imponderable arc.
Christ! What shall be delivered to the morn Out of these pangs, if ever indeed another Morn shall succeed this night, or this vast mother Survive to know the blood-spent offspring, torn From her racked flesh?—What splendour from the smother? What new-wing'd world, or mangled god still-born?
"MEN WHO MARCH AWAY"
(SONG OF THE SOLDIERS)
What of the faith and fire within us Men who march away Ere the barn-cocks say Night is growing gray, To hazards whence no tears can win us; What of the faith and fire within us Men who march away!
Is it a purblind prank, O think you, Friend with the musing eye Who watch us stepping by, With doubt and dolorous sigh? Can much pondering so hoodwink you? Is it a purblind prank, O think you, Friend with the musing eye?