The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

"The Patriot."

LOW-browed, ill-nourished, fostered in a slum,

He had no pride of birthright nor of breed;

Yet when his country's hour of stress was come

Stood up a man indeed.

The stunted mind that laboured dim and dark

Behind that narrow forehead gave small sign,

Till War reached out a hand and lit a spark,

There, of a fire divine.

And he whose heritage was alley walls,

Whose moon and stars were lurid napthalights

That blazed and flared above the crowded stalls

In Mile End Road o' nights:

Lo, he who never saw an English lawn,

Nor English fields, nor English rollers break

On English shores, has put his life in pawn

For her, for England's sake.