The Great War

from A Calendar of Verse, an electronic edition

The Vigil

Like some young squire who watched his armor bright,

Kneeling upon the chapel floor all night --

Where glimmering candles on the altar glowed,

And moonlight through the Gothic windows flowed --

And prayed, with folded hands, that God would bless

His sword, and keep him pure, and give success --

So, kneeling, Lord, beneath Thine altar light,

The nation asks for help before the fight.

Grant us the prayer of that boy Knight of old --

Faith to be steadfast, courage to be bold.

Such passionate love toward the dear flag we fly

That each who serves it holds its honor high --

Simple, large gifts that soldiers need, O Lord,

Grant the young nation for its unsheathed sword.

And for our captains in the perilous way,

A vision widened to an unknown day.

We keep our vigil; send tomorrow glorious;

Let not God's will go down; bring right victorious.

Kneeling in prayer before Thine altar light,

The nation asks Thy help to fight Thy fight.