The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

"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?