The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

"A. B. V.: By R. V."

I BOW my head, O brother, brother, brother,

But may not grudge you that were all to me.

Should any one lament when this our mother

Mourns for so many sons on land and sea?

God of the love which makes two lives as one,

Give also strength to see that England's will bedone.

Let it be done, yea down to the last tittle,

Up to the fulness of all sacrifice.

Our dead feared this alone-to give too little

Then shall the living murmur at the price?

The hands withdrawn from ours to grasp the plough

Would suffer only if the furrow faltered now.

Know, fellow-mourners-be our cross too grievous

That One who sealed our symbol with His blood

Vouchsafes the Vision which shall never leave us:

Those humble crosses in the Flanders mud.

And think there rests all-hallowed, in each grave,

A life given freely for the world He died to save.

And far ahead, dim marching generations

That never felt and cannot guess our pain

-Though history count nothing less than nations,

And fame forget where grass has grown again-

Shall yet remember that the world is free.

It is enough. For this is immortality.

I raise my head, O brother, brother, brother.

The organ sobs for triumph to my heart.

What! who will think that ransomed Earth can smother

Her own great soul of which you are a part ?

The requiem music dies as if it knew

The inviolate peace where 'tis already well withyou.

(The Spectator, June 5, 1915