The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

In Memoriam:
Flight-Sub-Lieutenant Warnerford, V.C.

O'ER Southern seas the Homeland message speeds

To one of Briton brood and Indian birth-

Child of the mystic sun and throbbing earth,

Who holds rich revel in adventurous deeds!

Mid spray and foam his spirit waxes strong;

Till, fired by Duty's clarion peal on high,

He dares with Daedal wing to mount the sky,

And shoal the aerial element along;

Zealous in act ; courageous for the fray,

While glory points the steep abysmal way -!

For Man had winnowed from the fan of Time

The boon of Flight to vault the dizzy stars

To yoke the winds, and-urged by forceful Mars

Scale the vast heavens in endless upward climb:

And lo ! with ireful tears Britannia saw

Prussia's gaunt Vampire lap the infant blood,

And mock the sanctity of Womanhood

Blighting with licence Truth's supernal law:

The Trident shook, and from the farthest main

Loomed Empire-sons to venge the victims slain!

Earth, Air, and Ocean, vied in service true

While justice pleaded mid the baneful strife

Then rose the world, with grim battalions rife

And Warneford in the vanguard proudly flew !

Bold was his conquest ; deathless is the

Of how in azure field he smote the foe,

And hurled the haughty reptile far below

Down to the fiends-foul-writhing in its shame

Blind as a meteor, burst upon the night,

When lost in gloom it dips its fiery flight!

But Fate grew envious of a peerless deed

Outvaunting Jove armed with the lightning brand

"Shall dareful fledging thus with puny hand

Challenge the ancient might to gods decreed?

Time heard, perturbed, and sealed an early doom

Ere Youth full-blossomed to the sunny skies!

Desist, false Time !---Deeds flout thy centuries

Fame smiles undying o'erthe hero's tomb

And nobly as he gave his mortal breath,

The laurelled Warneford conquers Time and Death!


(Born October 15th, 1892; killed June 18th, 1915.)